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Products > Ceanothus maritimus 'Frosty Dawn'
Ceanothus maritimus 'Frosty Dawn' - Maritime Ceanothus

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Ceanothus maritimus 'Frosty Dawn'
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Rhamnaceae (Buckthorns)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
California Native (Plant List): Yes
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Lavender Blue
Bloomtime: Winter
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
Ceanothus maritimus 'Frosty Dawn' (Maritime Ceanothus) - This slow-growing yet long-lived selection of maritime ceanothus forms a low mound 2 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide. The slightly arching stems are lined with thick, leathery, 1/2 inch long, gray-green leaves and lavender blue flowers in mid to late winter. In coastal California gardens, this cultivar is one of the earliest ceanothus to flower, often blooming in January.

Plant in full sun to light shade in well-drained soils and water sparingly for best results, though we have seen this plant thriving in heavy soil and half-day sun in a Santa Barbara garden. In fact, 'Frosty Dawn' was by far the most successful of the groundcover ceanothus in this particular garden. This cultivar performs best in coastal climates but has also proved successful in inland gardens when grown in part shade. Hardy to 10 degrees F. Ceanothus maritimus is rare shrub native to the hills around Arroyo de la Cruz in San Luis Obispo County. It is an excellent small-scale groundcover and is particularly effective in rock gardens or dry borders. Dave Fross selected and introduced 'Frosty Dawn' in 1985 and notes that there are two or three clones of Ceanothus maritimus circulating in the trade under the name 'Frosty Dawn'. One imposter has light blue flowers and is quite easy to distinguish from the original while another has darker flowers similar to true 'Frosty Dawn', but with a taller and more open habit. We grew this plant in 2006 and 2007 we felt it a good plant but never got enough stock going on it to continue with. We do continue to grow Ceanothus maritimus 'Point Sierra' , a plant that Dave Fross collected the same and at the same general location.

The genus name comes from the Greek word keanthos which was used to describe a type of thistle and meaning a "thorny plant" or "spiny plant" and first used by Linnaeus in 1753 to describe New Jersey Tea, Ceanothus americanus. The specific epithet is from the Latin word meaning "of the sea" in reference to where this plant grows. 

This information about Ceanothus maritimus 'Frosty Dawn' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.