How to Grow Ceratostigma plumbaginoides Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Plumbago

The Ceratostigma plumbaginoides plant belongs to the eight strong Ceratostigma genus. The genus is a native of the temperate and tropical zones of Asia and Africa, while C. plumbaginoides itself is native to western China.

Members of the genus range from subshrubs through to shrubs and are typically herbaceous in nature, though some are evergreen.

Plants have spirally arranged leaves, while the flowers are found in compact inflorescences.

Jennifer Snyder.

This plant is often used by gardeners to bring a touch of color in the late summer (flowers) and autumn (leaves).

As it is not evergreen, this plant tends to be less popularly used as a ground cover as some other plants, though its unusual blue leaves means that it definitely has its uses in the garden.

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides Gardening Basics

  • What is Plumbago?

    Hardy Plumbago Ceratostigma plumbaginoides is a low growing spreading perrenial. Leaves are green and plants carry clusters of vivid blue flowers. These remain in bloom until the first serious frosts. The oval leaves change colour in the autumn (purplish-red)

    Other names for this plant include Blue Ceratostigma and Dwarf Plumbago.

    As it is mat forming it makes a great plant for ground coverage. It's growing nature (late emerging foliage) makes it an ideal for under-planting shrubs or beneath trees. It can also be used as an edging plant.

  • How do you care for Ceratostigma plumbaginoides?

    Plants will perform best in full sunlight, but will easily tolerate partial shade.

    They are very easy to grow and care for: They perform well in most soils, except for wet ones.

    A fertile soil should provide the best results. Provide them with a feed in spring and water well.

    This plant is pretty low maintenance, tolerates drought once establishes. It is resistant to most pests and diseases, but watch out for powdery mildew.

    In cold regions stems can get damaged by frost, so remove any damaged tissue by cutting back to the ground. It is best to cut back in the spring with shears (or simply mow over them). As plants can easily spread it may be worthwhile to grow in a controlled area (deep wooden border).

  • When to plant Ceratostigma plumbaginoides?

    Plant the roots of cutting in spring (softwood) or summer (semi-hardwood).

  • When do Plumbago bloom?

    Plumbago mainly blooms in summer and autumn. Flowers are usually most vivid when grown in full sun.

  • Is ceratostigma Plumbaginoides invasive?

    It is a native plant to Western China, and as such may be deemed invasive in other countries. It has a spreading habit. As it is herbaceous it should be fairly easy to remove

    To get rid of plants it is best to use an herbicide. So be sure to wear garden gloves and protective eyewear when removing Plumbago

    The first step is to cut back to about 1 foot (30 cm) in height. Next rake the area for any small pieces that may be present, then discard these and all cut offs.

    Now you can spray the remainder of the plant with an herbicide containing glyphosate (ideally add an oil-based surfactant to the herbicide to help it stick to twigs and leaves).

  • How to propagate and Grow Plumbago from seed?

    Take softwood cuttings in the spring, or semi-hardwood in the summer. Plants spread readily from their rhizomes, so it is also easy to plant offsets.

  • Is Plumbago an annual or a perennial?

    It is a woody perennial.

Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
  • Common Name (s): Hardy or Dwarf Plumbago, Hardy blue-flowered leadwort, Blue ceratostigma
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 5 to 9 / H5

Plant Details

  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Deciduous shrub
  • Plant Height: 9 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm)
  • Plant Spread: 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm), mat forming, clump forming
  • Blooms: Mid summer to early autumn. Long flowering.
  • Flower Details: Pale to deep blue. Salver shaped.
  • Leaf Foliages: Simple. Shiny. Oval to obovate. Green turning bronze red in the autumn.

Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sun to partial (afternoon) shade. Sheltered location.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Well drained and fertile. Loam, sand, clay, chalk
  • Suitable Soil pH: most
  • Soil Soil Moisture: Medium
  • Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Spreads from rhizomes. Take cuttings from softwood in the spring, or from semi-hardwood in the summer.

Further Information

  • Best Garden Use: Flower borders on slopes and banks, Courtyards, Cottage gardens, shrub under plant, edging
  • Miscellaneous: Used to make Bach flower remedies. Low maintenance. Single seeded capsule shaped fruit. Takes from two to five years to reach full height. Does not like wet soils with poor drainage. Hornlike stigma.

  • Family: Plumbaginaceae
  • Closely Related Species: As a member of the Leadwort family, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides is closely related to plants such as Armeria maritima, Acantholimon, and Limonium.
  • Further Reading and References used: MBG; RHS.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Ceratostigma plumbaginoides. You may also enjoy the following ground cover plant growing guides:

How to grow Silver carpet and How to grow Stonecrop.