Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Leptodermis
Leptodermis oblonga

Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Leptodermis (lep-toh-DER-miss) (Info)
Species: oblonga (ob-LON-guh) (Info)

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 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)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter


Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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4 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive DavidLMo On Jul 11, 2014, DavidLMo from St Joseph, MO wrote:

Small, cute, fragrant.

Positive coriaceous On Jan 18, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is an attractive shrub, though it's a member of the chorus rather than a leading lady. The flowers are pretty, and bloom in frequent flushes from June till frost. The first flush is profuse and showy. After that, the flowers are attractive from a few yards away but don't read well from greater distances. The fragrance reminds me of Korean lilac or privet, but I can't detect it unless I sniff the flowers.

There was some dieback in the first year, but not much once it was established. I find that cutting it back in early winter helps it branch and grow more densely and prevents snow damage. I too have found it to spread slowly by suckering, but it's not aggressive.

It's late to leaf out in spring, so don't be hasty to cut back what you think might be dead. The foliage is healthy and fine textured. No fall color.

I've grown this in part shade for five years now, in Boston (Z6a). In time it can get much taller than indicated above. Mine are 3-4 feet tall by the end of the season and would be taller if I didn't repeatedly cut them back.

Positive duvalderay On Jun 16, 2013, duvalderay from Boise City, ID wrote:

Often described as being inconspicuous, I actually find this to be an attractive little shrub. I have it planted in a partly sunny location that receives a significant amount of reflected light/heat off of a bay window. It is dense and compact (about 2' high by 2' diameter), it has tons of small lavender tubular flowers for about a month and new branch growth is maroon, providing an attractive contrast to its bright green leaves. While it is isn't the center of attraction in its bed, it is a great little complimentary shrub. Sadly, I have not seen any pollinators taking advantage of its bountiful display of flowers over the four years that I've had it.

Neutral rkwright85 On Jul 7, 2011, rkwright85 from Horton, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have seen some of these that looked pretty nice and bloomed through most of the summer. The fragrance isn't strong and only noticeable if you're close to the plant or have several of them planted together. I planted one last year and it has yet to bloom in full sun. It's not a bad plant in bloom but otherwise it's nothing special.

Negative brwnails On May 18, 2011, brwnails from Riverside, IL wrote:

Planted in part shade and moist soil. Late to leaf out, very twiggy internal structure with lots die back. May do better here in the north in full sun.

Positive 45eriepa On Jul 31, 2010, 45eriepa from Lexington, MA wrote:

It's taken several years for the plant to have an impact, and indeed the impact is fairly modest, but the flowers are held densely enough and in great enough numbers to be quite effective. In any case, it serves the important function of a small, easily controlled shrub that harmonizes well.
I also found this year that it sends out offsets, which have been potted up.

Neutral lillyo On Oct 28, 2006, lillyo from Marlborough, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:

Last winter, my leptodermis died back to the ground in my zone 6 garden. They too took a long time to show signs of life. They regrew, but it took a while and didn't start to bloom till late summer. They were cute enough, but definitely not showy.

Neutral lottathyme On Jun 11, 2006, lottathyme from Scottsville, NY wrote:

Tried this because it was billed as blooming all summer and having fragrance. Has only been in less than a year; did bloom a long time, although it seemed to pause in heat. Now that it is established, maybe it won't do that. However, I could detect no fragrance at all.

It makes a nice, small, neat globe. Definitely not showy; flowers are maybe 1/2" and a pastel purple. Was quite late to leaf out this spring, to the point where I thought I'd lost it. Once it budded, though, it was in full leaf in maybe a week.

If you are looking for showiness, this is not the plant. I was disappointed in the lack of fragrance. Maybe in its second year it will develop that? We can hope.


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

Calhoun, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Boise, Idaho
Plainfield, Illinois
South Amana, Iowa
Bishopville, Maryland
Lexington, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Ballwin, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Scottsville, New York
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Gibsonburg, Ohio
Drums, Pennsylvania
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Arlington, Tennessee
Lexington, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Morgantown, West Virginia

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