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PlantFiles: Lithodora
Lithodora diffusa

Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Lithodora (lith-oh-DOR-uh) (Info)
Species: diffusa (dy-FEW-sa) (Info)

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Medium Blue

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Roselle_Celina On May 15, 2014, Roselle_Celina from Lancaster, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Bought 10 plants from Lowe's...of the 2 that struggled (lots of rain!), 1 bounced back, the other is in quarantine...will nurse it back to health.

Here's what I found out with extensive googling and trial and error...

full sun, ***fast draining soil***, acidic soil, pruning

***wet roots***, branches sitting on wet soil

Blackening or drying out in the middle--caused by too much watering. If the plant isn't too far gone, consider amending the soil by mixing in sand/pea gravel, moisture control soil and compost. Top dress with gravel, as the branches do not like to sit on wet soil.

I grow these little guys in flower boxes--1 or 2 per 24 inch flower boxes out on my bedroom balcony. I love to wake up, open my eyes, and these bright blue flowers are the first things I see :)

Their growth habit is to spread. When they have no more room to spread, they will grow upwards.

A mix of
30% Miracle Grow Moisture Control
35% Pea Gravel
35% Small aquarium gravel (optional, I just had to re-purpose them from my fishtank hobby)

Very little actual soil is needed--these guys LOVE and will THRIVE in gravel is, in my opinion, the best medium for these plants.

Neutral suewylan On Nov 20, 2010, suewylan from North Fork, CA (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant was not hardy in my Zone 7, garden with a bit of snow.

I saw 4 foot square drifts of it in NZ that were beautiful!

Positive apprentice On Jul 27, 2003, apprentice from Pismo Beach, CA wrote:

I was glad I went to this website when searching for a periennial ground cover. I planted approx. 6 Lithodora around an "island" in the corner of our front yard. Its green leaves and pretty, bright blue flowers added such an elegant appearance to that once-boring island. Thank you for the valuable info you provide, esp. for "apprentices" like myself. Will update my comments when they've been in the ground a whole year.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Berkeley, California
Brea, California
Dinuba, California
Northridge, California
Snellville, Georgia
Winterville, Georgia
Woodstock, Georgia
Schenectady, New York
Dallas, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania
Lake Forest Park, Washington

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