Invasive Species Council of British Columbia
Grow Me Instead

California lilac

Ceanothus spp. and hybrids

About This Species

Zone 7a

Grow me instead of Butterfly bush

California lilac is a sturdy shrub growing to 5 m tall. It has glossy, leathery, evergreen leaves, and fragrant violet flowers that bloom from mid-spring to early winter. The flowers are very attractive to butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. This shrub tolerates being pruned as a hedge and does well in sunny and dry soils. One important note about California lilac is that it does not tolerate “wet feet” – so ensure your lilac is planted in a well-draining spot. It is very drought tolerant once it has become established. California lilac is a nitrogen-fixer, which makes it an excellent choice for permaculture gardens.

When selecting non-invasive plants for your garden, be sure to look for those that are suitable for your location, including moisture requirements, hardiness zone, and avoidance of known bear attractants among other factors.

Plant Special Features

  • Bear smart
  • Pollinator friendly

Moisture Requirements


Moist but well-drained conditions