Ceratostigma Species, Blue Leadwood, Hardy Blue Plumbago, Leadwort

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

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
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:



6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Dark Blue

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:


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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

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

Long Beach, California

Madera, California

Martinez, California

Redlands, California

San Diego, California

Silverado, California

Boulder, Colorado

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

Clarkesville, 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(3 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

Putnam Valley, 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

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Mill City, Oregon

Pine Grove, Oregon

Portland, Oregon(2 reports)

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

Media, Pennsylvania

Parkesburg, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, 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

Bryan, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Garland, Texas(2 reports)

Gustine, Texas

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

Jacksonville, Texas

Justin, Texas

Kerrville, Texas

Lewisville, Texas

Los Fresnos, Texas

Mart, Texas

Midlothian, Texas

Nordheim, Texas

Odessa, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

San Angelo, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

Spring, Texas

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

Roanoke, Virginia

Stephens City, Virginia

Ames Lake, Washington

Anacortes, Washington

Bellingham, Washington

Freeland, Washington

Graham, Washington

Kirkland, Washington

Langley, Washington

Pasco, Washington

Redmond, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Union Hill-Novelty Hill, Washington

Morgantown, West Virginia

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Twin Lakes, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 12, 2022, KTOH from Lancaster, OH wrote:

I have mixed feelings about this plant. Does cover well, but to the point of being invasive. Mine is thriving in full sun in zone 6a. I never feed it, cuz it is already a maniac. It gets too leggy and swallows up other plants around it. Although, it is pretty when the flowers are on and the bumblebees love it.
This year, I'm going to experiment by giving it a couple of pruning jobs during late Spring, and again in Summer, to see if I can make it more compact. It will be interesting to see if these prunings kill off the flowering in the Fall.


On Aug 22, 2020, robbdogr from Long Beach, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have been growing this plant for about 10 years, and it is one of my favorite perennials. I have divided it a few times and it is now in spots that also have low growing spring flowering bulbs, generally freesia and sparaxis or areas that have California poppies and other annual spring flowers. It has slowly spread in the dry partial shade areas where I have planted it. It blooms better in the spots that get full sun, but does fine under dappled shade too. It is a lovely shade of blue. It does spread by thin (dry spaghetti pasta size) underground rhizomes, but not aggressively enough to call a thug. A one gallon can spread to about 3 feet across in 5 years. I consider it a slow grower, however, it might behave differently under regular irrigation. I have only seen it for sale in nurser... read more


On Jul 11, 2018, HollyGoLightly from Boulder, CO wrote:

I have a garden client growing this plant, and today we discovered a whitish/greyish fuzz growing on just the upper stems (between the leaves) of the plant. Could this be powdery mildew or some kind of fungus?


On May 22, 2017, Rests from Bryan, TX wrote:

Just bought it from Lowes. There were 2 plants coming out of the bottom of the pot from the roots. I cut them off and planted them. Just 2 days and the little seedlings look really great. I will keep them in the pot. I have heard that this plant spreads like wild fire. The flowers are a shade of blue that I never seen before.

It didn't make it past the first year. I bought 3 more this year hoping that this time would be better. Another plant that hates the extreme heat here in Central Texas. Too bad. I think that this is a beautiful plant. Can't beat the dark blue blooms. May dig up what is still alive and plant in partial shade/sun. If you live in cool climate, I recommend it. If you live south of Dallas, don't buy it. Way too... read more


On Sep 22, 2015, spydarop from Oak Park, IL wrote:

This is an exceedingly tidy plan all season. The flowers are brilliant true blue. The fall color is beautiful. I have this planted in many spots in the yard including against the home. It's done very wel no matter where i throe it. l. have 3x4 foot areas from plants I bought less than a year ago.


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.


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.

... read more


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.


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)


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.


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!


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!


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.



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!


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!


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.


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.


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


On Oct 21, 2010, braun06 from Irving, TX (Zone 8a) 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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?


On Jul 6, 2007, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) 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.


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).


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.