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Few blooms are this blue.

There are not many flowers as blue as those of plumbago, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides. Individual flowers are not much more than half an inch long, but can be quite abundant until autumn. Each of the many terminal flower clusters is on a rather reliable schedule, so that new flowers begin to open as older flowers begin to fade.

Thin stems stand only about half a foot to a foot above underground rhizomes. Individual plants get about 3-feet wide, but realistically, will slowly spread farther if conditions are right. They do not spread fast enough to be invasive, but can get into some unexpected spots if not controlled. The simple leaves are about two inches long.

The main problem with plumbago is that it is deciduous, so it dies back to the ground in autumn. The weather is too mild here to produce the good fall color seen where autumns are cooler. Plumbago is a popular bulb cover because new growth, although slow to develop, emerges just in time to obscure fading foliage of early spring bulbs like daffodil and tulip.

Plumbago also works well with stone, since the stone is still appealing without the foliage through winter. The wiry stems weave nicely through otherwise bare cobbles, or spill slightly over low stone walls. Even though shade inhibits bloom, plumbago makes a nice informal ground cover under open shrubbery.

6 thoughts on “Plumbago

  1. Funny you should post this now. Another blogging friend just offered me some to use in my garden, with the thought that it would spill nicely over the stone walls! It’s possible, though, that it won’t survive the winter in my garden–the info I’ve read says it’s “marginally” hardy in zone 5. We’ll see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is it the same species? Other plumbago stay smaller and cascade nicely. This particular species gets quite large and cascades accordingly. I put some at work to cascade over an embankment an big stone wall, but would not want it in a compact home garden.

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