Image for Red Stem Ceanothus

Red Stem Ceanothus

Scientific name

Ceanothus sanguineus


Red Stem Ceanothus is a deciduous shrub species that typically grows between 1 and 3 m in height. This plant may also be known by the common names Red Stem Lilac, Buckbrush and Oregon Tea. The branches are reddish purple colored, hence the common name, and are attractive in the winter. The leaves are alternately arranged, shiny dark green colored, ovate shaped, have hairy undersides, and have finely toothed margins. The flowers are small, fragrant, showy, white colored, appear in clusters at the end of branches, and bloom between May and July. The fruits are small, three lobed capsules that contain small brown seeds and ripen between June and August. The food and habitat provided by this shrub are beneficial to many wildlife species, including birds and mammals. The flowers are beneficial to pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies. The roots are useful for controlling erosion and stabilizing shorelines. The root system also contains nitrogen-fixing bacteria, converting atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form and increasing this nutrients availability in the soil, which can be beneficial for other nearby plant species.

Planting conditions

Red Stem Ceanothus grows best in dry to moist conditions with full or partial sun exposure. It prefers well-drained, sand or loam soil types. It is tolerant of shade and disturbed, nutrient poor soil. Established plants can tolerate drought and dry soil but young plants should be watered occasionally during hot summers. This shrub can be naturally found on dry slopes, rocky ridges, in open forests, and around forest edges.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 2m
    • Max 3m
    • Any
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
    • Drought Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
  • Plant type:
    • Shrub
  • Height:
    • 1-3 m
  • Spread:
    • 2 m