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Companion plants for potted Ceanothus

Discussion in 'Container Gardening' started by nightofjoy, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. nightofjoy

    nightofjoy Apprentice Gardener

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    We have an area of yard that serves no purpose, but the corner is all we can see from the kitchen sink window of our flat, so we thought we'd stick a large potted plant there to brighten up the view when we're doing the dishes.

    We chose a California Lilac bush, which is currently about 3 feet tall, fairly woody and bare at the base.

    The pot we've chosen is massive, and I was wondering could anyone suggest some companion plants to put around the lilac's base stem?

    It will need to be very easy maintenance and ideally provide lots of summer colour year on year, only growing to 12" - 18" in height. We thought oranges and yellows would look nice. Needs to be commonly available.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Mowerman

    Mowerman Gardener

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    A Ceoanothus can grow to the height of a small/medium(ish) sized tree and they don't cope well with major pruning (just for info... learned this the hard way!).

    Although being in a pot will stunt its natural height, it will still grow a mass of roots that will only be restriced to the size of the pot, so could strangle other plants. The more plants you have will increase watering and feeding frequencies and could alleviate the 'low-maintenance' hopes :frown:
     
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      Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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      I dont think I'd plant other plants in a pot containing a Ceanothus.

      I've seen this kind of thing done and it will only work for probably one year, after that you will get a deterioration of both types of plant IMO.

      Only thing that I can think might work, bearing in mind the pot is really big would be spring bulbs.
       
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      • nightofjoy

        nightofjoy Apprentice Gardener

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        Yeah, I'm questioning the idea now.

        What I might do for a splash of extra colour this summer is cut a piece of membrane to the diameter of the soil surface, with a slit to fit around the stem, then plant lobelia on top of that, so that when it dies off at the end of the summer I can lift the whole section off and throw it away...

        Ceanothus likes it dry, apparently, would the water that drains through from this top layer (when watered) be enough to keep it healthy?

        Thanks.
         
      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        You dont say what variety of ceanothus you have nightofjoy.......they vary from low mounds to trees, Trewithen Blue for example.
        All ceanothus are fairly fast growers and relatively short lived. None of them like to be pruned apart from light trimming. None of them are really container plants I think much preferring the open ground.
        A yellow gaillardia would associate well as would a yellow helianthemum. Mesembryanthemums too.
        For a permanent planting in that large pot nightofjoy I would consider something else to replace the ceanothus in a year or two. You could meanwhile consider alternatives and possible combinations :)
         
      • Jack Sparrow

        Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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        This is caenothus blue mound. I got it really cheap (£3.50) but I' m not sure what I can do with it. If it doesn't take kindly to pruning it will in all likelihood grow too big for my small garden. It doesn't like wind either which is another problem. For now it is in a plastic bucket out of the wind.

        G.
         

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      • silu

        silu gardening easy...hmmm

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        I see you have a flowerbed close to the house and a wall of another? house close by. If I was you I would plant it by the house wall hopefully it is south facing. I am not sure of the habit of Blue Mound but I grew a Ceanothus up against my old house and trained it up the south wall of the house. It looked really nice and protected it from the worst of the weather. To keep the size down you can prune it lightly after flowering. It isn't that vigorous a plant. You are absolutely correct re Ceanothus hating wind. I have 3 and all of them are looking very burnt/sad due the the beast from the East. They look worse than after 2010/11 winter. As for companion planting I grow Buddleja in front of 1 of mine (mine are quite a tall variety) but that wouldn't suit a small garden and Deutzia Strawberry Fields in front of another, similarly too big. How about 1 of the many many hardy Geraniums. They are tough and don't mind wind etc, low growing (most) and pick 1 that flowers after the Ceanothus. Keep the weeds down too! Another ground cover plant which looks nice with your shrub would be Ajuga Atropurpurea this flowers before your Ceanothus. Likes it quite damp but will cope in dry too. Fast spreader but no hassle to pull out what you don't want. I'd certainly choose something quite low growing but a little difficult to suggest not knowing what else you have in the same area. Of all the many many shrubs I have my Ceanothus and Japanese Acers get the most sheltered spots in my garden, before the likes of my Camellias, Rhododendrons etc etc. Both really do hate wind but are really worth growing if you can find a good spot for them.
        I would certainly get the poor thing out of it's current pot and give it a lot more room!
         
      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        Agree with Silu, that ceanothus needs to be planted out asap. Ceanothus roots spread and are brittle so need to be in open ground. Blue Mound, as the name suggests, is slightly more compact but most ceanothus are pretty vigorous I think. They can be seen as large trees down here but usually not long lived so best used as a plant for 5 years or so I think.

        Gary, after flowering I would tip the main branch back to a pair of shoots, prob removing top 3 or 4. You need to be careful with pruning ceanothus though so minimal removal of shoots every year :)
        Looking at the shape of your plant you could fan train it (loosely) where it would take up little space. As sunny a spot as possible though
         
        Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
      • Redwing

        Redwing Wild Gardener

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        The beast from the east has similarly damaged my large west facing specimen, very burnt in all parts except the branches near the wall. It is looking very sorry for itself. I’m hoping it’ll sprout near the main branches and then I’ll cut it back. Hope they recover.
         

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