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PlantFiles: Leadwort, Hardy Blue Plumbago
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

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Family: Plumbaginaceae (plum-baj-i-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ceratostigma (ser-uh-toh-STIG-muh) (Info)
Species: plumbaginoides (plum-bah-gih-NOY-deez) (Info)

Synonym:Plumbago larpentae
Synonym:Plumbago larpentiae

15 vendors have this plant for sale.

46 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Groundcovers

Height:
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

Spacing:
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

Hardiness:
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:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Medium Blue

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Foliage:
Herbaceous
Bronze-Green
Good Fall Color

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
By simple layering
By serpentine layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 41 photos.
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Profile:

27 positives
10 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive DavidLMo On Apr 9, 2014, DavidLMo from St Joseph, MO wrote:

Stunning Blue.
Spreads slowly by seeds and runners. Is NOT invasive in my area.
Full sun.
Looks rasty til later - and is a later bloomer. But not much else blooming then.
In fall turns lovely reddish/brown.
Let seeds dry on plant. Harvest. Store in Fridge. In Spring they need to be moist/cold stratified for decent germination. Grows easily from seed once you meet this requirement.
Great for banks as a soil stabilizer.

Looks great on banks mixed with yellow Hypericum coris and/or Hypericum calycinum which are also great ground covers.

Positive coriaceous On Feb 19, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A beautiful groundcover. Vividly true-blue flowers begin late July/early August and continue till frost. Foliage turns red towards the end of the season, but leaves often start to color in late summer.

This perennial is very late to emerge from dormancy, generally not till June in Boston MA Z6a. This is an opportunity for interplanting with spring bulbs and ephemerals.

I've had a hard time getting this established when planted after midsummer---it grows well the first season but doesn't make it through the winter. Planting extra deeply in spring seems to be the key to getting it to perennialize. And mulching will not only help get it through the winter, it will help suppress the annual weeds that always get a leap on it before its June emergence.

This is fairly deep rooted, and its spread is slow but seemingly inexorable. Plant it where this will be an asset. Not a good neighbor for short perennials. Next time I want to plant it in a border, it will be in a sunken 7 gallon bottomless plastic pot.

Positive iowhen On Oct 1, 2013, iowhen from Iowa City, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have had no trouble growing this in 5A. I have had it growing right up against the house in part shade, so I think the concrete mass keeps the soil warmer than the rest of the yard.

It transplants well. This year I will try some away from the house, and see if it continues.

Positive HeatherY On Aug 10, 2013, HeatherY from Kensington, NY wrote:

This plant is new in my front yard - from the wild flower seeds it must be, because I know I would recall buying it as a plant and I did not.
I love the color of the blossoms. I have tried and failed to grow blue flax so this cheers me up - I can have blue! One plant is already showing red on the leaves while blooming - though it is August. Both plants get morning sun until about 3 PM each day.

Heather Y, Brooklyn NY ( 7-a)

Positive plantgnome1 On Oct 8, 2012, plantgnome1 from nowhere land, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Bought one plant about 5 years ago and comes back year after year in my partial shade garden. Beautiful blue flowers and blooms until frost here. I have taken some cuttings, dipped in rooting hormone and created a beautiful edging for my 20 foot long patio garden. For those of you in hotter zones, I suggest the cultivar named "Plumbago auriculata" which grows in more tropical zones.

Positive Bev1955 On Aug 9, 2012, Bev1955 from Spring Valley, MN wrote:

I'm in Minnesota, zones 3 & 4 depending on winter and microclimate in my yard. I have a beautiful, winter hardy plumbago that has been going for over 20 years now. It has cobalt blue flowers--gorgeous! None of the nurseries around here are familiar with it, so it must be a sport of some kind. LOVE IT!

Positive Meezie On Jul 16, 2012, Meezie from Toronto
Canada wrote:

This is a beautiful little plant. I bought it in 2011 and planted it in a 16" container along with 'October Daphne Stonecrop'. Covered iy with a felt fabric winter cover and it not only survived but became more lush. It gets 4-6 hrs of sun morning to afternoon. No bugs no wilting. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Great Lakes...Lake Ontario...Zone 5b. The color of the two plants in August to October is spectacular!

Neutral texaslady62 On Jun 20, 2012, texaslady62 from DISH, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have only had this plant for about 2 weeks now. It is in a container with other plants. When I first planted it, it was not doing to well. It was drooping and getting pale. So, I dug it up and planted it just a little deeper, enough just to cover a little up the stems. It's doing great now. I guess they just like their feet planted firmly in the ground. I have noticed that it is not real common for my zone, but it seems to have success in partial shade here.

texaslady62

Neutral PLAZNDRT On Feb 27, 2012, PLAZNDRT from Saint Peters, MO wrote:

I love it, my husband hates it. I love the 3-season interest, beautiful blue blooms, burgundy foliage, and its tough-as-nails performance. My husband thinks it chokes everything else in the bed. Oh well. I'm redesigning my entry landscape so I'm going to try to remove it. If it "wins" it gets to stay!

Positive dave12122 On Jul 4, 2011, dave12122 from East Haddam, CT wrote:

This is always hardy in Connecticut, without protection. In my climate, it spreads SLOWLY...my patch is 3 X 3 feet after 12 years! It seems to do best with some shade (not shade all day), otherwise the flowers do not last as long. Here, it flowers from August off and on until it gets cooler in late September. Excellent as a weed supressor and bugs do not bother it!

Neutral aeja On Mar 23, 2011, aeja from Gaines, MI wrote:

I'm in zone 5, and I planted this 3 years ago in a west and north facing corner where two down spouts live. It is very dark, wet, and the coolest area on my property. Planted as nothing but a stem, it has grown to about 3" x 4" to my sadness. I wanted to propagate to get several, but it is too small, although it turns reddish and flowers. I will be transplanting to a sunnier and drier location this spring. I had wanted this to spread along this area, but am thinking now that ferns will do better there.

Positive Pfg On Mar 5, 2011, Pfg from (Pam) Warren, CT (Zone 5b) wrote:

It's been in my garden for at least 50 years. I found it in part shade surviving amidst weeds, and have spread it around by division. Mostly I have it edging shrubs and let it go into the grass. Gorgeous flowers, neat foliage, good weed suppressant, grows in sunnier spots where sometimes vinca has trouble. Fast spreading, but so far I like what it's doing.

Positive ThomPotempa On Dec 10, 2010, ThomPotempa from Houston, TX wrote:

Yet another plant I would have never thought of getting owing to how they look in the store (like, really nothing). Man...

After being on microdrip for about 6 months to establish the roots these are just rocking away in the drought conditions we are having. Blue blooms all over the place. Make a wonderful trailing plant in the raised beds

Positive braun06 On Oct 21, 2010, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is a very easy to grow plant. It blooms most of the growing season with nice fall coloration. The plant does send runners that go far from the base so be vigilant to keep these under control if you dont want it to spread.

Positive themikeman On Jul 18, 2010, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

very hardy, very beautiful shade tolerant ground cover. I have some planted with some periwinkle and i love the bright beautiful color of these plumbago the most and it blooms so much longer than the periwinkle and spreads so very beautifully. highly recomended..mike.

Positive otter47 On Mar 26, 2010, otter47 from Livermore, CA wrote:

This is an outstanding performer in my garden. It has colonized large areas in my garden, and because it is such a delight, I am happy to let it do that, although it is easy to pull out or transplant if it exceeds its allocated space. It blooms from late spring to late fall for me. I love its cobalt-blue flowers. In autumn, the leaves take on red tones and the blue-red effect is stunning. It does not flag on hot summer days and gets by with minimal summer watering, although it will accept more. It goes briefly dormant from around mid December to mid February and then comes roaring back It is a great ground cover and carpeting type of plant. It even out-competes bermuda grass and this is a big plus in California.

Neutral troop1819 On May 22, 2009, troop1819 from Lees Summit, MO wrote:

If you are looking for hardy groundcover that comes back every year in the midwest this is a great choice. It has survived cats and kids walking on it and once established doesn't need watering unless the weather is really dry. The downside is that it does spread. We have it in a raised bed adjacent to a paving stone sidewalk. it sprouts out of the cracks in the landscape timbers and even out onto the sidewalk. It does not spread into the shady area, so did not take over the entire bed which is part sunny and part shady. In trying to take some of it out to move to an area where I dont care if it spreads, have had no luck transplanting it, the underground root network makes it hard to get enough root to let it get established.

Positive mosswitch On Apr 21, 2009, mosswitch from Joplin, MO wrote:

I love this as a ground cover, it came with the property so the patch has to be at least 50 yrs old. Transplanted it in full bloom last fall, it never even wilted ( I did keep it well watered) and is coming up again this spring. It spreads but is not invasive in my zone 6b garden in morning sun.

Neutral cheerpeople On Apr 20, 2009, cheerpeople from northwest, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I truelly love this plant, sadly, the second winter here in zone 5a wiped it out. I wish they had a hardy variety. Some plants can push the envelope. Not this one.

Positive coo13549 On Sep 20, 2008, coo13549 from Batavia, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I just planted this about 6-8 weeks ago, but it's doing fantastic in poor, dry soil with full to dappled sun from about 9-2. The plants were in bad shape when I bought them on sale, but they did great as soon as planted. It's been very dry here and I have to ration my cistern water, but so far so good. Beautiful blue flowers. I thought this baby must be invasive...but the comments here are not too bad. Thanks all!

Neutral EstelleMirage On Jun 23, 2008, EstelleMirage from Ste-Victoire
Canada wrote:

I purchased one from the botanical garden fair in May and it was labelled as zone 4 (Canadian). Is it a mistake?

Positive vossner On Jul 6, 2007, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is the wonderful groundcover with the brightest blue flowers. I planted mine in part sun and they have done well. they died back in winter, I forgot about them and then, what a nice surprise this spring. Have been blooming non-stop. I bought it at CJ's recommendation.

Positive daistuff On Jun 16, 2007, daistuff from Cary, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

This thrives for me in Zone 5. My plants are in a rock garden that I don't give supplemental watering and they have been growing like crazy. My husband mows it down every spring, and I've since read that you should cut it back in spring so maybe that's why it does so well. I've even seen some shoots in my neighbor's lawn, through the chain link fence (now I try to keep it reigned in better).

Neutral Meredith79 On Oct 10, 2006, Meredith79 from Southeastern, NH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I got a tip to use this to hide the die-back of spring blooming bulbs. Seems like a great fit, the late spring emergence would be a plus!

Positive ceejaytown On Apr 25, 2006, ceejaytown from The Woodlands, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is NOT Plumbago auriculata aka cape plumbago, leadwort. This is Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, meaning it resembles plumbago. It is commonly called dwarf plumbago. They are both in the same family. If your plant gets three feet high and four feet wide, you have Plumbago auriculata. It doesn't turn red in the fall. This is a groundcover, and a beautiful one at that. Mine fries in full sun, but it loves it in morning sun to about 2 o'clock sun.

Positive nifty413 On Jan 25, 2006, nifty413 from Garland, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is one of my favorite plants. The plants I have had for many years begin flowering in LATE SPRING and continue until frost! No better blue flower out there!

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 25, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

A nice looking plant, especially in fall when the leaves turn red. My information says it is hardy in zones 5-9. Blooms July - October in my garden.

Positive handbright On Jun 9, 2005, handbright from Coral Springs, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have used plumbago in hanging baskets, (with the coco liners). As the plants grow it is easy to use hairpins to train them down the sides of the pot, where they eventually turn an ordinary planter into a big globe of blue flowers. Very pretty.

Negative GinnyCalifornia On Nov 13, 2004, GinnyCalifornia from San Jose, CA wrote:

I want to remove this plant. It was planted on top of bulbs to mark them. It has never looked nice. Right now it is floppy, no flowers, unattractive foilage - etc. Just a blob. It is spreading which I don't like. I don't think I like groundcovers anyway. I like to soil available to me at a moments notice. It is growing in mostly sun in the summer and more shade now.

Positive holm On Jul 2, 2004, holm from Columbus, OH wrote:

A really delightful plant; the blue is one of the best I've ever had in my garden, and it is in bloom for a very long time in late summer. The reddish foliage in the fall is beautiful, too; and extends the season.

In three years, mine has spread to about 3' around in a shady spot in central Ohio. It's close to the house, so it's doing well, even tho' we're zone 5.

Now that I've found this plant I will never be without it!

Positive jasonjustin2 On Nov 13, 2003, jasonjustin2 from Lecanto, FL wrote:

I planted one small plumbago in a protected corner with some sun, close to an outdoor spigot. This plant has gone bonkers!!! At least three feet high and spread out to about four feet. Apparently, it's in TOO good a spot. I checked your website to see if I could move it and I see that I should wait until spring. I will re-plant in a much larger area next time.

Positive nipajo On Sep 28, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I used to have my plumbago in the dapple shade. Well it died there. so I planted it in full sun and it has spread into the next garden. You would think it was a ground cover the way it has taken off.

Positive Karenn On Sep 26, 2003, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Even though this reportedly is hardy only to Zone 6, if planted in a protected area (moist, well-drained, too) this is certainly hardy in our zone 5A/4B climate. Last winter was particularly rough in terms of zero-minus and no snow cover; lots of gardeners (me too) lost lots of perennials - but this one pulled through with flying colors! My next-door neighbor is actually reconsidering where she will keep it, since it is so prolific as a ground cover! And the colors in late summer through fall are spectacular! The bright blue flowers against the burnt-red foliage is hard to beat!

Neutral htop On Aug 23, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, TX
Last summer, I planted 3 young plants, 5 inches apart, in a partial shade location to test them out: 2 died and one barely survived (in the area that received more sunlight). The surviving plant has done well this summer and is starting to bloom now, in late August. Perhaps I planted them too late in the summer last year. The blooms are beautiful. I will test them again by planting them in the spring.

Positive Terry On Aug 31, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The only reason this isn't THE most popular groundcover is because it's herbaceous (dies back to the ground each winter.)

Other than that, it's got everything going for it - nice, lush foliage in the spring, turns a wonderful red color in the fall, and has electric blue flowers from mid-summer on.

I've learned the hard way to increase my stock only in the spring - the plants resist (by dying) being moved from mid-summer onward. The brittle, cream-colored roots have tell-tale rings around them, making them easy to spot. When they're still somewhat pliable, quickly move them to a pot or another location, plant them an inch or two deep and keep the soil moist. Soon you'll see new growth emerging.

Positive lupinelover On May 13, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This woody perennial emerges very late in spring, just as bluebells are going dormant, making it an ideal follower, especially to maintain the blue color in the bed. A medium frost brings the best color to the foliage, but frequently is not enough to end the flowering, thus getting sky-blue flowers on red-foliaged plants.

Very easy to propagate these, either by lifting and dividing the clump, removing a piece of underground runner, layering a soft new shoot, or a woody old shoot after nicking it slightly.

Grows in full sun to full shade, but best flowering with mostly sun.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Plumbago (also commonly called leadwort) is a wiry, mat-forming perennial which spreads by rhizomes to form an attractive ground cover. Typically grows 6-10" tall on generally erect stems rising from the rhizomes. Oval to obovate, shiny, medium green leaves (to 2" long) turn bronze-red in autumn. Terminal clusters of 5-petaled, gentian blue flowers (1/2 to 3/4" diameter) appear above the foliage over a long summer to frost bloom period. Flowers resemble those of woodland phlox.

Neutral eyesoftexas On Aug 10, 2001, eyesoftexas from Toadsuck, TX (Zone 7a) wrote:

This hard perennial has wide lance-shaped leaves that become bronze-red during autumn. The terminal clusters of blue flowers appear from late summer onwards. It brings late color to mixed borders. Light soil and a sunny site suit this attractive plant.

It is easily increased by lifting and dividing clumps in spring just before shoots appear.

Regional...

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

, (2 reports)
Centre, Alabama
Jones, Alabama
Midland City, Alabama
Fayetteville, Arkansas
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Sorrento, British Columbia
El Sobrante, California
Hesperia, California (2 reports)
Knights Landing, California
Livermore, California
Madera, California
Martinez, California
Redlands, California
San Diego, California
Silverado, California
Denver, Colorado
Englewood, Colorado
East Haddam, Connecticut
Stratford, Connecticut
Ocean View, Delaware
Crawfordville, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hudson, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Orange Park, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida (2 reports)
Zephyrhills, Florida
Athens, Georgia
Augusta, Georgia
Barnesville, Georgia
Clarkston, Georgia
Jonesboro, Georgia
Midway, Georgia
Cary, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
Westmont, Illinois
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Iowa City, Iowa
Lawrence, Kansas
Salina, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Carlisle, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Mandeville, Louisiana
Mechanicsville, Maryland
Owings Mills, Maryland
Silver Spring, Maryland
Westminster, Maryland
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Spencer, Massachusetts
Blissfield, Michigan
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Gaines, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan
Cleveland, Mississippi
Joplin, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Lees Summit, Missouri
Saint Charles, Missouri
Saint Joseph, Missouri
Dover, New Hampshire
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico (2 reports)
Averill Park, New York
Brooklyn, New York
Buffalo, New York
Coram, New York
Croton On Hudson, New York
Florida, New York
New York City, New York
Sag Harbor, New York
West Islip, New York
Burlington, North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Concord, North Carolina
Dunn, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Snow Camp, North Carolina
Batavia, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio (2 reports)
Hamilton, Ohio
Warren, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2 reports)
Pawnee, Oklahoma
Altamont, Oregon
Bend, Oregon
Mill City, Oregon
Portland, Oregon (2 reports)
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Coopersburg, Pennsylvania
Media, Pennsylvania
Parkesburg, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee (2 reports)
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (5 reports)
Blanket, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Garland, Texas (2 reports)
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Jacksonville, Texas
Justin, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Lewisville, Texas
Los Fresnos, Texas
Midlothian, Texas
Nordheim, Texas
Odessa, Texas
Port Lavaca, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Rowlett, Texas
San Angelo, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Spring, Texas (2 reports)
Sugar Land, Texas
Weatherford, Texas
Willis, Texas
Midvale, Utah
Moab, Utah
Ogden, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Alexandria, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia
Ames Lake, Washington
Anacortes, Washington
Bellingham, Washington
Freeland, Washington
Graham, Washington
Kirkland, Washington
Langley, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Morgantown, West Virginia
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Twin Lakes, Wisconsin



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