Blue Plumbago

A Quick Guide to Growing Blue Plumbago

The blue plumbago is a bush with amazingly beautiful blue flowers. There are not a lot of plants that are capable of growing blue flowers but the blue plumbago is an exception. The plant likes warm climates though, as it is native to South Africa and in the United States grows in states such as California and Florida. While it can take a slight frost, the plant cannot take a killing frost.

The plumbago actually has wood-type stems that make a mound-type trunk. It can grow anywhere from three to ten feet high and be just as wide. Some gardeners prune it to be a regular round shrub while others let it grow out and spread more like a vine. The central attraction is the tube-like blue flowers which are an inch wide with five petals. They group themselves in clusters so it looks like the blue plumbago is just covered from top to bottom with flowers.

This flowering shrub likes warm, sandy soil that is well-drained. It also likes soil that is acidic and you may need to apply some manganese if the leaves start to turn yellow. In order for the plumbago to produce an abundance of flowers it needs to be planted where it will get full sun throughout the day. Because it grows only in warm, dryer climates, it does not need much water to stay healthy. In the United States, the blue plumbago will only do well in USDA hardiness zones 8B-11.

This flowering plant is often used in garden borders. It can be pruned as a hedge or left as a more informal spreading-type plant. It is sometimes planted in containers on decks and patios. It can be grown from seeds or from cuttings. Two advantages of the blue plumbago are that it is resistant to deer and it attracts butterflies. If you are one of those people who like to grow plants that bring butterfly visits, add this shrub to your other garden plants.

There really is nothing not to like about the blue plumbago. It has so many flowers and blooms for such a long period of time that it is a real boon to flower gardeners. The only people to be disappointed with this plant are those who live too far north to be able to grow it. Because the flowers bud on new growth each year, you can prune in the late winter/early spring and have a robust, bushier plant that very summer.

The plumbago does not like a lot of rain so you might have to shelter it in some way if you live where there are heavy annual rains. The plant is very hardy overall and will bounce back from most problems. Fertilize the blue plumbago and leave it alone and you will have the best results. There is a white version of this plant but it does not produce as many flowers as the blue version. The blue flowers come in sky blue and cobalt blue.

This shrub, or actually the flowers from this shrub, have been used over the years for their medicinal qualities. While there is no scientific evidence that the plumbago has any healing potential, it has been used to treat headaches, warts, wounds and broken bones. Whether or not you want to try the plant for medicinal purposes, you will surely enjoy the blue flowers and easy care of this plant.