The hardy plumbago plant, is an excellent choice for a landscape design in need of a ground cover type plant that loves the heat, can survive long, humid summers, and is drought-tolerant.
The blue plumbago capensis comes from South Africa. The plant is also known as plumbago auriculata, blue plumbago, Cape plumbago or Cape leadwort.
The name Plumbago is derived from Latin plumbum, lead. It is believed the plant at one time was used as a cure for lead poisoning.
Planting Plumbago Ground Cover Or Beds
Plumbago thrives in the south where it is used extensively as an outdoor landscape plant, planted in sunny locations.
In the north, this woody tropical semiclimber is right at home in the cool greenhouse or sunny window in winter, and in all kinds of container gardens in summer.
This evergreen shrub grows well when massed for color beds, in borders, foundation planting, in tubs or large pots.
The production of abundant clusters of attractive cool pale blue flowers, make it a great choice for porch or patio container throughout the spring, summer and autumn months.
When used as a ground cover or in beds it is best to plant in early Autumn or early spring.
The soil should be well drained, full of organic material with a 1/3 of each – loam, peatmoss, sand – consistency.
After planting, water thoroughly and allow the soil to become nearly dry before watering again.
Cultural Requirements Include:
- Moderately cool temperatures in winter (50-65 degrees)
- Above-average humidity
- Any good but not overly rich soil mixture
- All but the hottest summer sun for full flowering
- Only moderate moisture
Fertilize regularly for a strong root system and full flower heads. Propagate by cuttings of nearly ripe wood in spring
or fall, by root division of old plants, and by seeds.
In the fall, cut plumbago back severely, top-dress with fresh soil or repot, according to need. Store potted plants fairly cool and dry until days begin to lengthen in earliest spring. Then, raise the temperature and force spring flowers in
Growing On A Trellis
The long shoots of the plumbago can be trained in many ways but look terrific on a trellis or another type of support. This creates a colorful conversation plant for a patio or deck.
Indoors or in the greenhouse it is particularly important to tie, train, and prune the vine to keep it in shape and
suitable size. Set plants outdoors for the summer, for continued bloom.
These are sprawly, scraggly plants that will heap themselves into a hedge-like mound in tropical gardens unless they are
pruned and trained to shape.
Indoors and in the greenhouse they should be cut back to a reasonable size.
Since flowers are produced at the tip of new growth, pruning is done before spring for summer display, in early fall for winter bloom.
In tropical gardens, take your choice – train and prune each spring, or let the stems wander in their own way.
Plumbago is highly suitable for use as a flowering ground cover because it beautifully showers the air with its pretty
blue flowers making it a favorite of the butterflies.
Its fast and bushy growth habit makes it a perfect “exclusion zone” or bush-clump plant for attracting birds.
So many uses for Plumbago with no diseases or pests once established!
Rooting new cuttings at intervals will provide riotously flowering potted plants all year. The foliage is clean, neat, and attractive; and the phlox-like flowers are available in a selection of colors.
Plumbago auriculata – Plumbago capensis – Best-known species, with two-inch fresh green leaves and deep sky-blue flowers; refreshing when combined with the white-flowering variety, alba.
Plumbago indica coccinea – Larger leaves and flowers of deep coral or carmine.
Common Name: Leadwort