- Growing Plumbago Plants – How To Care For A Plumbago Plant
- How to Grow a Plumbago Plant
- How to Care for a Plumbago in Cooler Climates
- Blue Plumbago Overview
- Caring for Your Blue Plumbago
- Plant of the Week: Cape Plumbago
- Cape Plumbago – Cool Color for High Heat Landscapes
- Planting plumbago
- Caring for plumbago
- A disease that impacts plumbago
- Learn more about plumbago
- Smart tip about plumbago
- Plumbago on social media
- What Is The Blue Plumbago?
- Planting Plumbago Ground Cover Or Beds
- Plumbago Care
- Can You Grow Plumbago On A Trellis?
- When And How To Prune Plumbago
- Species of The Plumbago Plant
- When to trim plumbago?
Growing Plumbago Plants – How To Care For A Plumbago Plant
The plumbago plant (Plumbago auriculata), also known as the Cape plumbago or sky flower, is actually a shrub and in its natural surroundings can grow 6 to 10 feet tall with a spread of 8 to 10 feet. It is native to South Africa, and knowing this provides the first clue to how to grow a plumbago, along with where to grow one. Plumbago thrives in the South African heat and in the United States it is found growing year-round in the southernmost parts of Texas and Florida.
Plumbago plants are sprawling shrubs with branches that resemble vines. It is prized for the profusion of blue phlox-like flowers it produces for extended periods of time. It has few pests and diseases are rare. Two additional bonuses are its deer resistance and, once established, these easy growing shrubs also tolerate drought.
How to Grow a Plumbago Plant
If you live in a USDA plant hardiness zone of 9-11, caring for a plumbago will be much easier and your selection of where to grow plumbago is endless. Size should be taken into account when deciding where to grow. Plumbago shrubs need plenty of room.
It will grow as an evergreen shrub and makes an excellent foundation plant. It is a beautiful when planted over a stone or wood retaining wall, allowing its branches to cascade over in a waterfall of foliage and unusual blue flowers—and it will bloom all year long.
Because of its pest and disease resistance, how to care for a plumbago is pretty basic. It blooms best in full sun, but will tolerate some shade if you are willing to sacrifice some of the bloom. As with most plants, it prefers fertile, well-drained soil, but again, it isn’t fussy. Slightly acidic, slightly alkaline, clay, sand or loam — where to grow a plumbago in your zone is really a matter of where to dig the hole!
These shrubs do tend to become leggy, so plumbago care does involve occasional pruning and you’ll sacrifice the bloom if you trim too often or too much.
How to Care for a Plumbago in Cooler Climates
After learning about the wonderful attributes of plumbago plants and the ease of plumbago care, some of you gardeners are now asking about how to grow a plumbago plant or where to grow plumbago if you live outside zones 9-11. Well, if you’re in zone 7 or 8, you’re in luck.
These sturdy shrubs make great container plants. Use a good potting medium with a neutral pH and make sure the container leaves plenty of room for your shrub to grow. Enjoy it outdoors while the weather is warm.
Water it regularly, fertilize it each spring and it will grow two to three feet tall with a four foot spread.
When freezing temperatures threaten, how to care for a plumbago becomes a matter of cutting it back and putting it in your garage, or any area where it will be protected from frost and freeze.
Depending on the specialized and individual climate of your garden, you might consider how to grow a plumbago plant in the ground. Again, you’ll have to cut it back after the first frost and blanket the area with heavy mulch, but in the spring, your plumbago plant will re-emerge to bloom from summer to fall.
For the rest of us, we can only envy the beauty and ease of care our gardening neighbors to the south enjoy in owning a plumbago plant.
This hardy shrub features masses of dainty-looking, intense blue flowers on slender stems with pale green leaves. It will bloom all year round in warmer climates. It’s a gardener’s dream for anyone living in a mild and sunny environment as the Blue Plumbago is easy to care for, grows quickly, and attracts an array of birds and wildlife, including butterflies, which are drawn to the scent of the flowers.
The Blue Plumbago is also incredibly versatile and can be used as ground cover, hedging, a climber on supports or trellis, as a container plant, or cascading down from a hanging basket. Added to this, the plant is relatively pest-free, disease-resistant, and deer-resistant. Established Blue Plumbagos are drought-tolerant but not frost-tolerant. In low temperatures, the plant will die or need to be brought inside for protection against cold winters.
Blue Plumbago Overview
Blue Plumbago Quick Facts
|Scientific Name||Plumbago auriculata / Plumbago capensis|
|Type||Annual or perennial evergreen shrub|
|Common Names||Blue Plumbago, Cape Leadwort, Cape Plumbago, Sky Flower|
|Ideal Temperature||60-80° F|
|Toxicity||Toxic to people, non-toxic to animals|
|Humidity||Moderate to high humidity|
Caring for Your Blue Plumbago
This plant enjoys a good watering and can be watered freely throughout spring and summer when it can grow at quite a fast pace. The position of your Blue Plumbago will largely dictate how much you need to water it. When grown outside in its ideal warm climate in a position of full sun, the plant will need more water. Shaded plants, or those kept in slightly cooler temperatures will not require as much water.
Plumbagos can also be grown in containers, and these will need to be watered with more care than those growing directly in the ground. This is because plants growing in ground soil have more options available to them than container plants. Plumbagos planted in the ground can spread their roots further in search of moisture, while those grown in containers are confined to their space and therefore rely on you to supply them with adequate water.
Equally, container plants are more susceptible to root rot than those grown in the ground, as the soil holds on to moisture, with only the drainage holes for it to escape from, rather than having the depths of the ground to drain water away. For these reasons, Blue Plumbago grown in containers will need their watering schedule adjusted accordingly. Aim to keep their soil moist but not wet. That being said, established Plumbagos are fairly drought-resistant and will tolerate some neglect.
Blue Plumbagos, in general, are one of the easiest plants to grow, provided they are in warm temperatures, so don’t worry excessively about your watering schedule, with a thorough watering once a week during summer being perfectly acceptable. If your plant becomes dormant or grows very minimally over winter, you will need to greatly reduce watering or stop watering it altogether.
The Blue Plumbago plant was originally discovered in the hot environment of South Africa and has since been introduced to mild climates around the world, including Florida, Texas, California, Australia, and Spain(University of Florida- Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences- Gardening Solutions).
If you live in an area which is mild all year round, then this is the ideal growing environment for this plant. In warm temperatures, it is able to flower all year round. It can be grown in slightly cooler climates but will die off over winter and need to be cut right back to ground level, or if kept in a container, it can be brought inside throughout winter to avoid frost. The lowest temperature this plant can tolerate is around 32° F, so make preparations to protect your plant or winter it inside if your local climate typically drops below this over winter. In spring, the Blue Plumbago planted in the ground will usually come back to life and continue with its impressive growth. Container plants can be cut back before being moved back outside in warmer weather to stimulate growth.
If kept outside, the plumbago plant needs plenty of direct sunlight to flourish
As a native of South Africa, this plant is accustomed to a warm and bright climate. If kept outside, it will need to live in a spot with plenty of direct sunlight in order for it to really flourish. It will tolerate growing in shade, but this will come at the expense of flower production. If kept indoors, it will do best in the full sun of a conservatory or sunroom, or on a bright windowsill.
This plant loves high humidity and will do very well in climates which have naturally moist air. If you live in a warm and humid environment that enjoys a mild temperature all year round, then this is a great plant to have. It will tolerate moderate humidity though may lack some blooms as a result. Blue Plumbago plants grown in glasshouses, sunrooms, conservatories, or on bright windowsills, will benefit from frequent water mistings to keep the humidity up. If you have several humidity-loving plants in one room, then an electric humidifier might be useful to consistently keep humidity high without you having to make a continued effort.
Dry air will damage this plant, so if it is kept indoors, be sure to keep it away from heating vents, stoves, or any other items which could dry out the plant.
Blue Plumbago plants will benefit from a regular application of fertilizer during growing seasons. A fertilizer high in potassium will result in an abundance of lush flowers, while phosphorus will help the plant to develop a good root system, which is important for its overall growth and long-term health. The type of fertilizer you choose really comes down to personal preference.
If you prefer to feed your plants only occasionally and not have to worry about a frequent feeding schedule, then slow release fertilizer could be the best option for you. There are many types of fertilizer on the market to suit everyone’s budgets and requirements. You can be quite specific about the fertilizer you use on your plant, doing in-depth research to find the ideal proportions of nutrients, or you can buy a general all-purpose fertilizer. Go with whatever works best for your situation; just ensure that you are following the instructions on the bottle and getting your Plumbago the nutrients it needs.
The Blue Plumbago plant is a rapid grower, and, as such, will need to be kept in check with regular pruning if you don’t want it to get out of control. Without proper attention, the plant can grow in excess of ten feet tall and ten feet wide.
How you go about pruning your plant will depend on the type of style you are trying to achieve. While the Blue Plumbago is technically categorized as a shrub, it is most often used as a climber or trailing plant. It can also be very effectively used to create hedging. Pruning will also result in more blooms when you cut it back during its growing period, as flowers appear on the ends of new growth, so you can cut back your plant in an effort to encourage more flower production.
If you need to fill in space among your flower beds, plant the Blue Plumbago directly in the ground and allow it to spread. It will quickly cover ground and should be pruned back to prevent it from encroaching on other plants. With some encouragement in the right direction, it can fill vacant space very well.
When kept as a climbing plant it will need help from a trellis. If you are trying to get it to cover a particular space, you will need to guide it and prune it back where necessary. As a climber, it will grow rapidly and can become out of control easily if not pruned and tamed.
The Blue Plumbago also works well as a trailing plant, dripping out of the sides of hanging baskets. When used like this, the plant will need a lot of pruning to keep it looking neat; otherwise, it will become messy and unkempt.
The plant can be grown in a container and kept in pretty much any shape you wish. If heavily pruned, it will take the form of a shrub, but to achieve this might require heavy maintenance as the quick growing stems can easily become straggly. Once the Plumbago is happily growing as a shrub, you can prune it into your desired shape, and you will be rewarded with plentiful flowers on the cut ends, resulting in a very attractive feature plant.
As warm temperatures come to an end when autumn approaches, you will need to prune the Blue Plumbago right back to just an inch or two from the ground. If grown in soil outside, you can cover it to protect it from frost, and it will become dormant over winter. Remove the cover when mild temperatures return, and the plant will spring back to life over the course of a few weeks, becoming a rapidly growing plant again by summertime. If your Plumbago is kept outside in a container, then you have two options when the cooler months arrive. You can prune it right back to ground level and bring it inside to an area that is dark but not excessively cold. A basement or garage would be ideal.
At this point, some people cover the plant up, but this is really a personal preference and isn’t entirely necessary if the room is already dark. This process will allow the plant to become dormant and rest over winter, and you can take it back outside and resume normal care in springtime. Alternatively, if you have the space, you can bring the plant into your home to enjoy throughout fall and winter.
If it has been allowed to grow throughout spring and summer, then it will likely need heavily pruning in order to make it a manageable size to bring inside. As the plant will likely not grow much more once you bring it inside, don’t prune it severely; otherwise, it may not look very pleasant to keep in your home throughout winter. Cut it to an acceptable size and move it to a warm and bright spot inside, such as on a windowsill or in a sunroom. Don’t worry if you do over prune, as the plant will recover well in spring and continue growth.
If your Blue Plumbago lives in a container, you will need to repot it every two to three years. The plant grows rapidly and can quite quickly fill its pot with roots and become root-bound. In order to allow your plant to stay healthy and continue to grow year after year, repot it when it is struggling for space in its container.
The best time to do this is either at the beginning of spring before you move the Blue Plumbago back outside, or in early autumn when you bring the plant inside to overwinter it. At both of these times, the plant should have been cut back and will be small enough to make handling much easier. To see if your plant requires repotting, firmly hold the base of the plant and gently tug until the root ball and its soil comes loose from the pot. You should quickly be able to see how condensed the roots are and if they need more space. If you are unable to remove the plant from its container with ease, then this is probably because the roots are so tightly packed that they have become jammed in the pot, and is a definite sign that you should repot your plant.
To repot the Blue Plumbago, gently remove it from its current container and rub the roots between your fingers to loosen them and allow any of the old soil to break free and be removed. Remove as much old soil as you can without harming the root structure. Select a new container one or two sizes bigger than the current one and fill the bottom with a well-draining soil, ideally with some sand mixed in to increase drainage efficiency. Place the root ball of your plant on top of the soil, then gently pack more soil in all around the edges. The plant should sit at the sand height in the pot as it did in its last pot. Water the plant heavily and then continue care as normal.
The Blue Plumbago plant can be easily propagated using wood cuttings, so if you already have one of these plants, then you could also have an endless supply of new Blue Plumbagos to have in different areas or to gift to friends.
To propagate, you will need around a four or five-inch stem cutting from a woody part of the plant. Cut it from the mother plant using sharp shears at a 45-degree angle, creating more surface area from which roots can grow. Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone to encourage the cutting to develop roots, and plant it into a small pot filled with potting soil. Keep the soil continually moist without allowing it to become wet, and place it in a shaded area. Heating the cutting from underneath will help roots to develop, though it is best to propagate this plant in the summer when temperatures are ordinarily higher.
Within four weeks your cutting should have the early stages of a root system. You will know if roots have developed if you gently tug on the cutting and feel some resistance. If the cutting can be easily pulled from the soil, then it doesn’t yet have roots. Once you have evidence of roots, you can transplant the cutting to a bigger pot and let it grow into a new Blue Plumbago in its own right. When the plant reaches a good size, it can be transferred to a more permanent spot, either directly in the ground or into a container.
All elements of this plant are toxic to humans, including the sap, fruit, pollen, seeds, bark, roots, and foliage (Gardeners World). When handling the plant, you should always wear protective gloves and have your arms covered with long-sleeved clothing. Try to keep your face away from the plant and consider wearing protective eyewear. If the toxins come into contact with the skin or eyes, you can expect to suffer from irritation and blistering. It is also harmful if ingested, potentially causing vomiting and an upset stomach.
Interestingly, the plant is not reported to be toxic to animals, so while you might want to keep your distance from the Blue Plumbago, you can allow your pets to roam freely near it. Take particular care to keep this plant away from children.
Plant of the Week: Cape Plumbago
Cape Plumbago – Cool Color for High Heat Landscapes
As most gardeners know, there is a season for everything… especially plants. With that in mind our plant of the week section will help us share information on the best plants to consider adding to your landscape that will thrive in each season. If you live in South Texas you know that our landscapes have to survive intense heat and this week we are talking about one of my favorites, cape plumbago, or plumbago as it’s better known.
During the heat of July, the soft pastel blue of the plumbago flowers helps to visually cool our spaces. But don’t let the delicate flowers fool you, the plumbago maintains the inner physique of a South Texas cactus and is able to withstand the searing South Texas summers once established.
As hinted at by its name, the “cape” plumbago is originally from South Africa. This is a non-native I can get behind because the species does not appear to be invading our homes, parks or natural areas. A plumbago plant can grow 3 to 4 feet tall and span a width of up to 5 feet. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Plumbago blooms on new growth so the primary pruning should take place in early spring and you should gently prune as needed through the growing season to maintain its health and shape. If spaced correctly the shape of the shrub will be that of a cascading fountain.
Leadwort, a cousin of the cape plumbago, also known as dwarf plumbago can be used as low-growing groundcover. While it too is non-native like standard plumbago it is not invasive and still recommended for our landscapes. Plumbago in general is coveted not only as a shrub but can also be trained as a climber or grown in pots. As I mentioned before, this is a tough plant, surviving both sun and partial shade, although you should note that the more shade it gets the less flowers it will give you.
In our environment another key feature of this plant is that it’s, deer-resistant. Because if it can survive millions of antelope, wildebeest and buffalo, it can certainly face down our small local deer. Really plumbago’s only downside is that it is just semi-evergreen. During cold winters plumbago will lose its leaves; however, it will return robust and vibrant in March. Plumbago plants flower from May to November (or up to the first frost).
When to Plant Plumbago:
Add this shrub to a sunny spot in your yard November through March. If it is not in your landscape now in mid-July I’m not suggesting you add it but given how well it handles our climate and how much color it can provide, I suggest you start planning now so you can add it to your landscape in the fall. Visit our WaterSaver Lane for more inspiration.
- Sun Preference: will do well in either sun or partial shade. My experience is that plumbago does best with late afternoon shade.
- Spacing: 3 to 3 ½ foot spacing
- Mature Height: 3-4 feet tall, 4-5 feet wide
- Watering: after establishment, water deeply (3/4 inch) twice a month
- Pruning: once in early March and once in late August. Prune ½ of the plant in early spring and ¼ of the plant in late summer.
- Fertilizer: never
- Pests: only humans
Plumbago is a superb vine noted both for its flowers and for its foliage.
Shortlist of Plumbago facts
Name – Plumbago capensis
Family – Plumbaginaceae
Type – shrub
Height – 3 to 6 ½ feet (1 to 2 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary
Foliage – semi-evergreen
Flowering – May to November
Caring for this plant, from planting to pruning, are good practices that will help you obtain a beautiful blooming.
Favor planting plumbago in spring in a place with a lot of sun.
When not in this season, simply avoid high temperatures to plant your plumbago.
- A mix of soil mix and garden soil is needed.
- Frequent watering after planting is required.
- Follow our advice on planting shrubs
Plumbago grown in pots
It is advised to plant your plumbago in good flower plant soil mix.
- Pour a layer of clay pebbles at the bottom of the pot to increase drainage and therefore growth of your plumbago.
- Regular watering upon planting is a must.
- It is advised to repot every 2 years for the blooming to stay beautiful.
Caring for plumbago
It isn’t really a requirement to prune.
Annual pruning is eventually possible at the end of winter or at the beginning of spring, proceed lightly in order to stimulate the blooming and preserve the shape.
Plumbago, apart from watering after planting, will need a lot of water when the weather is hot, especially if grown in a pot.
- Water regularly, but not too much, from May to September.
- Reduce the watering in water.
- In spring and summer, take the time to add a little flower plant fertilizer every now and then.
For the best growth and an abundant blooming, add flower plant fertilizer or shrub fertilizer every two weeks in spring and summer.
Stop adding fertilizer as soon as your plumbago has stopped blooming.
A disease that impacts plumbago
Although it generally resists diseases well, plumbago regularly experiences aphid onslaughts.
- Read our page on fighting aphids.
Learn more about plumbago
You can set it up in your garden if the climate is mild enough. Double-check that this is possible, because plumbago is vulnerable to frost and will suffer if temperatures drop below 32°F (0°C).
But it is particularly well-suited to growing in pots, which will make it easy to bring them indoors to a cool spot that is sheltered from the harshest colds over winter.
Lastly, if you wish to train it into a climbing vine, you can attach it to a lattice because it won’t cling to the wall on its own.
In our latitudes, when grown in a pot, a plumbago plant can reach anywhere from 3 to 6 ½ feet (1 to 2 m), whereas it easily rises to 13 to 17 feet (4 to 5 m) in its natural environment.
Smart tip about plumbago
If you place it next to a footpath, be ready to spend your time picking seeds from your clothes! They’re light and covered with small hooks and will stick to your clothing.
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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Intense blue plumbago (also on social media) by Sittichok Glomvinya under license
Light blue plumbago by Etha under Pexels license
Have you heard of the plumbago plant – Ceratostigma plumbaginoides?
It’s a hardy, excellent choice for a landscape design in need of a groundcover type plant. The plant loves the heat, can survive long, humid summers, and is drought tolerant.
The blue plumbago auriculata native to South Africa is also known as plumbago capensis, the blue plumbago, Cape plumbago or Cape leadwort.
The lime loving blue flowered plant Plumbago loves heat, handles long, humid summers well and is drought-tolerant.
The name “Plumbago” (pronounced – Plum-Bay’go) derived from Latin plumbum, which means lead. It is believed at one time to be a medicinal plant used as a cure for lead poisoning.
What Is The Blue Plumbago?
The plumbago has been described as a fast-growing, semi-woody perennial shrub that produces phlox-like blue flowers almost all year round. There are many uses in the landscape for the plumbago plant.
During the flowering stage, five petal phlox-like flowers (Phlox Drummondii) develop to form 6 inch star flower bloom clusters covering the whole plant.
The most common variety found in garden centers is, plumbago auriculata with beautiful blooms, light blue in color.
The different varieties and cultivars like the “Plumbago Imperial Blue” cape flowers are slightly different having a darker shade of blue.
When planted, the bush/shrub forms into loosely branched mounds that grow up to 36″ inches tall and wide. Although the thin branches of Plumbago have an arching habit, the plant has oblong foliage about two inches in length.
The bush with beautiful blue blooms not only attracts the eye but its scent attracts butterflies. If you are a butterfly lover you’ll love the plumbago to make your outdoors lively and beautiful.
Planting Plumbago Ground Cover Or Beds
In areas where there is no severe freezing temperatures or frost, the plant remains evergreen throughout the year.
The perennial plumbago blue thrives in the south in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 – 11, where it is used extensively as an outdoor landscape plant, planted in partial shade but in full sun locations.
In the north, this woody tropical semi-climber 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 as a plumbago groundcover shrub for color beds
- Planted in borders or as a hedge
- Used in foundation planting
- Planted in large pots or tubs (like the blue lily of the nile – Agapanthus), used on patios and decks with the blue flowers spilling over the edge of the container.
The production of abundant clusters of attractive cool pale blue flowers, make it a great choice for porch or patio use throughout the spring, late summer and autumn months.
Blue plumbago plant used as a groundcover shrub in partial sun at Disney World Port Orleans, Florida October 2017
When used as a groundcover or in beds it is best to plant in early Autumn or early spring. Select a suitable growing location with lots of partial sun at a minimum.
Plant in a well-drained soil, full of organic material with a 1/3 of each – loam, peat moss, 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 well-drained soil mixture
- All but the hottest summer sun for full flowering
- Only moderate moisture
Fertilize the plumbago tree 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 full sun.
Whether you are planting the plant in a garden bed or in a container, applying the mulch will help in reducing growth of weeds and improves retention of moisture.
A Guide To Watering Plumbago
When watering Plumbago flowers make sure to water thoroughly until all the soil around the plant(s) is moist. The plant does not require a lot of water. Allow the area to become dry before the next watering session.
Plumbagos are drought tolerant plants, they do not need watering more than twice a week during the warmer summer months. When the weather cools and fall begin, reduce watering to once per week.
How Often Should You Fertilizer Plumbago Plants?
Fertilize plumbago regularly, when plants have a strong root system and full flower heads! Apply a balanced fertilizer at least once per month for the best results. Follow the labeled directions on the bag.
Remember when the plants start developing flowers, they use a lot of energy. Provide plants with all the necessary nutrients they need.
Pest and Disease On Plumbago
One of the biggest upsides to planting the plumbago in the landscape goes beyond its many uses. Once established plants experience really no diseases or pests to speak of.
Propagating The Blue Plumbago
These herbaceous plants easily grow from 4-inch cuttings, taken from semi-ripe “wood” during the summer.
Dip the cutting in a rooting powder to stimulate root development and the hormone also acts as an anti-fungicide that prevents rotting of the cuttings.
Place cuttings is a well draining potting soil, in shade and water lightly. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Cuttings take 3 to 4 weeks to develop the roots.
Once roots develop transplant into larger pots, with a well-drained soil rich in organic material, and feed with an all-purpose fertilizer.
Can You Grow Plumbago On A Trellis?
Growing plumbago on a trellis creates a colorful conversation plant for a patio or deck. They can grown in many ways but long shoots of the plumbago look terrific on a trellis or another type of support.
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.
You may also like: How To Grow and Care For The Gazania Flower
When And How To Prune Plumbago
The plumbago can become a scrawly, scraggly plant that will heap themselves into a plumbago 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 star-shaped flowers making it one favorite of the butterfly.
Its fast and bushy growth habit makes it a perfect “exclusion zone” or bush-clump plant for attracting birds.
The Plumbago Plant is simply a winner in the landscape and on the patio.
You may also like this Plumbaginaceae family member –> Growing Armeria Maritima (Thrift plant)
Species of The Plumbago Plant
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.
Monrovia nursery offers a dwarf plumbago with electric blue blooms and dark green leaves.
Common Name: Leadwort plumbago
When to trim plumbago?
Q. I have several blue plumbagos in pots on my patio, and they do very well. I gave one to my girlfriend, and she planted it in her back yard, and now it is as tall as her first story along with the other bushes. She asked me if she should cut it now or wait until next spring? I just wait until spring to cut back mine, and they have come back for years.
I have two plants in plastic pots, and the roots have grown into the ground. I would like to transplant them into an actual bed. Can I cut the roots under the plastic pot, or should I get one of those sharp shovels and dig around it and replant the whole thing? I have no idea what kind of plant they are, but they do not flower. M.H., Houston
A. Plumbago can even be trained up a trellis. I cut mine back, too, in late winter /early spring, then lightly trim it on occasion during the long summer months. Fall pruning will encourage new growth that will be more vulnerable to an early freeze. The average first frost date is not until December, so plumbago pruned now will grow and likely have time to “harden off” before a freeze. But, even so, I likely would do just a minor trim.
Do you know if your potted plants are winter-hardy? If the roots aren’t large and woody or they have traveled too far and deep, you possibly could cut those roots that have grown out of the pot, then transplant. There should be enough of the root systems still in the pots to keep the plants going. You might use a root stimulator. And don’t let them dry out.
You could dig around each pot, getting as much as possible of the root system, then transplant. It may be difficult to cut away the plastic pot.