Plumbago Plant - Blue Plumbago Care

Plumbago auriculata

The plumbago plant, Plumbago auriculata, is a marvelous South African native that is covered in true blue flowers all season long. There are light blue and darker blue as well as a white selection.



Light blue plumbago flower close up. The scrambling growth habit of cape leadwort makes it hard to classify. Is it a shrub or is it a vine?

You can train it either way.

I like it as a mounding shrub. I have planted several around the yard. I just give them space and let them grow.
Large, 4 foot by 8 foot blue plumbago plant growing outside our screen porch.

One plant that I planted outside my screen room has grown into a 3 and a half foot by 8 foot mound.

On the other side of the yard, I've used 3 blue plumbago plants to ring a maple tree. I occasionally shear these to keep them lower and neater. (They tend to scramble into the tree's canopy.) I hate to do it because I lose so many flowers. The plants recover quickly and start pushing out blooms again.

I have seen them trained up wires at Longwood Gardens . I nearly failed to recognize the plant; it looked so different from my shrubs. But so few plants have flowers that are truly blue that the color jogged my memory.

Plumbago Care

A low plumbago hedge ringing a tree on St. Croix.


Cape leadwort is a carefree plant outdoors in zones 9-11. Here in my zone 9a yard, I have to be careful when using it in a northern exposure. In a cold winter, young plants will be lost. Once they are established, they become hardy enough to grow back from the roots after one of our killing freezes.

I do not mulch or cover the plants on freezing nights. If you do, you might be able to pull them through a zone 8b winter. In colder zones, plant them in large pots. Set them in the sunniest spot you've got during the growing season. When frost approaches, cut them back and store the pot in a frost-free area.

If the storage area is cold, keep the plants dry and withhold food. You're only trying to keep them alive until spring.

If the storage area is warm, you'll need to provide good light and air circulation as the plants will continue growing. Water and feed them lightly until after the last frost when they can go back outside. Expect to be plagued by whitefly unless you have a sunny conservatory to winter them in.

An outdoor plumbago plant will not be bothered by pests of any kind. The only insects you will likely see around it will be butterflies.

Plumbago auriculata can be pruned at any time except fall. Major pruning will need to be done in the spring to remove the frost damage.


Buy Leadwort - Plumbago Here

After a hard winter, you may need to cut the plant to the ground and start fresh. After a mild winter, just remove dead stems and shear the plant back to the desired height.

Plumbago is not picky about the soil it is planted in, nor about how much water it receives once its established. Young plants should be kept moist for a year. Feed your plumbago plant according to the whatever/whenever method. Whatever you're feeding the rest of the garden, whenever you do so. It will bloom its head off regardless.

Plumbago auriculata is not weedy but the flowers will sometimes set seeds. These can easily be used to start new plants. An easier way is to look underneath large plants for small ones. Dig these up and move them into new positions.

I wouldn't risk trying to transplant an established plumbago.


Plumbago larpentac

This is a hardy perennial plumbago. Each plant will slowly spread into an 18 inch mound. Shade and drought tolerant in zones 6a-9b.

Peacock Plumbago

Peacock Plumbago

This low growing 6-8 inch high perennial is one of the most desirable of all late blooming, hardy plants. It produces masses of blooms from August until frost.





Amsonia Tabernaemontana Plant
Amsonia tabernaemontana & hubrichtii are hardy perennials native to the Southern and Midwestern U.S. Blue Star plants add summer and fall color to the garden. Buy Amsonia Blue Ice here.

Mexican Petunia
The 3 foot tall Mexican petunia sports 2 inch wide, 5 lobed flowers from spring till frost.

Oleander Care
Nerium oleander care is easy to master. Oleander plants are tough and will grow and bloom without much assistance.

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