“Dark Star” Ceanothus – a little blue treasure
Written by Michelle Miner, member of the Broadview Garden Club
I thought I had found the most perfect blue plant for my front yard. I had it positioned next to a beautiful coral bark maple and in front of a gorgeous stand of bamboo. The Dark Star performed like a race horse. It grew like a superstar and gave me a glorious crown of blue flowers every spring. The leaves are small and evergreen, so it looked great all year around. I thought I had a winner.
After our freak snow just before Thanksgiving, I noticed that my Dark Star was looking a little more brown than green. I thought it would pull out of it by spring. Spring is here and the leaves are dry and brown. No signs of any life are left on my little blue treasure of a ceanothus. I read every article I could find, and it looks like this plant is better in a coastal climate, with a milder winter. Some gardeners say that the Dark Star can tolerate temps down to 5 degrees. I have checked out other yards with the similar ceanothus and it looks like they are not coming back this year.
I found a wonderful article by Ketzel Levine. She felt like I did about the Dark Star but said a better bet might be the Puget Blue ceanothus. She has a book, “Plant This” that has wonderful watercolors and humorous discussions about the plants she likes. She is also on NPR.
I think I will try to find the Puget Blue, Julia Phelps, Concha ceanothus or even the Dark Star again. I had 6 wonderful years of that crown of blue outside my front window. I think it is worth another try.