Plumbago – Take 3

I posted about this gorgeous plant here in 2011, and here in 2012. Sorry for being repetitive, but I love it so much I’m going to rave about it again!

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

Or leadwort or plumbago (Chinesische Bleiwurz)

ceratostigma1

It looks fairly fragile, but looks can be deceptive. It is very frost-hardy, and despite the drought for over 7 weeks in the summer, in mid-August it started producing fresh leaves and buds. By late August the first flowers opened. All through September it flowered its heart out. Now the best part comes, in October… still producing these beautiful blue flowers the foliage also starts to turn reddish brown.

ceratostigma2

It is wonderful ground cover, looking pretty next to late Nigella and Acquilegia leaves. But it does need a well-drained sunny spot to do well.

AutumnGroundCover

Do you grow Plumbago?

42 thoughts on “Plumbago – Take 3

    • Hi Barbara. Apparently hardy down to -23°C (zones 5-6), so may be a bit risky? Not sure how cold it gets in Alberta! If it’s sheltered and mulched well perhaps. 😀

    • I often give plants a second chance, but then I call it a day! So perhaps in a different spot? In any case I’d wait until spring to plant one, to give it a chance to get established. It likes poor, well-drained soil – preferably chalky – in a warm sunny spot. Apparently it does occasionally freeze in the winter, even though it comes from the Himalayas! Mine gets plenty of leaves covering it from the nearby trees and I also put a few evergreen branches over it in winter. It survived a very dry and cold winter two years ago, so maybe it doesn’t like damp cold. Good luck!

  1. What a nice little groundcover! It’s been growing here for almost three years and I love the color and the habit. Just this summer a few suckers started coming up and spreading, but nothing too aggressive. It’s still on the good list 😉

    • I have heard it can become invasive, but mine hasn’t spread at all, just one clump has become a little larger! I’m trying to establish some root cuttings, but they haven’t taken so far. Thanks for your comment!

  2. No, I don´t know it from gardens here. We only have, what we call “maiden in the Green” (Nigella damascena). The colour reminded me on Flax. In former times our area was great in producing linnen.

  3. I was given a plumbago a few weeks ago – the flowers are just beautiful and looking great against the leaves as they get their autumn colours. I think it’s a different species to yours though, not quite so hardy.

    • I seem to remember there is one that grows quite tall, like a woody shrub. I must look that up! I suppose any new sorts might be less hardy though. Hope yours makes it safely through the winter Sarah!

  4. How fun to finally find a plant that grows well here, too! I do know plumbago, although I don’t personally have any on our property. There is a pink and a blue, as far as I know. It is very hearty which tolerates our drought conditions and they grow to be wonderful hedges! I will do a little more research to see if one would do well in our yard. Your photos make a very compelling argument! 🙂

    • It’s worth keeping an eye open for Donna – it fills in gaps so nicely after the spring and early summer flowers die back, and then flowers when so much is already over!

  5. I am a big plumbago fan too! Here we grow Ceratostigma willmottianum. I popped a couple of them in a client’s very sheltered courtyard garden in the UK and they grew huge! Here in our Norfolk farmhouse garden, they stay compact. Lovely, lovely plants.

    • I’m going to have to look that one up. I can’t get enough of its lovely colours at the moment, so perhaps I need another one… 😉 Thanks for your comment!

  6. Oh what attractive flowers Cathy. I’ve had grown both the blue and white versions of plumbago auriculata in the past. Sadly they are on the tender side and have never lived that long.

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