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Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

Previously known as:

  • Ceratostigma larpentiae
Phonetic Spelling
ser-ah-toh-STIG-mah plum-bah-gin-OY-deez
Description

Award-winning Plumbago is an aggressively spreading low, horizontal, herbaceous perennial ground cover. A native of China, in its natural habitat, the plant can often be found in rocky places and foothills. Leaves have a beautiful bronze-red fall color, which contrasts beautifully with the sky blue flowers and forms a very attractive ground cover.  However, the leaves do fall in the winter. Flowers resemble those of woodland phlox. Plumbago typically grows 6 to 8 inches tall on generally erect stems rising from the rhizomes. This plant is resistant to damage by deer. The genus name comes from the Greek words keras meaning a horn and stigma from the hornlike projection on the stigma of the flower.

Use as an under planting to shrubs or large perennials or with perennials that bloom early.  Plumbago will fill in the void left by spent perennials.  Its trailing, spreading habit make it a great choice as a spiller in a 'Thriller, Filler, Spiller' container.

It produces chemicals that inhibit the growth of weeds and other unwanted plants, which makes it an excellent choice as a ground cover.  

Plumbago will do well in sandy and loamy soils. It prefers well-drained, dry or slightly moist soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. It grows in full sun or partial shade and appreciates some afternoon shade on hot summer days, but cannot grow in full shade. To winter over in cooler climates, provide a light winter mulch. Plant it in rocky areas in full sun. Space plants 10 to 16 inches apart when you plant. The plant has an aggressive root system and can spread freely, however is not considered invasive.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No diseases or insect issues.  Powdery mildew is an occasional issue as well as Citrus mealybug.

Contact to this plant can cause contact dermatitis.  Caution should be used when pruning, protective gloves should be worn.  

Under the right conditions, it can spread aggressively.  

When growing in Zone 5, ensure to use a mulch in the fall to protect from freezing temperatures.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#gold#hummingbirds#evergreen#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#low growing#perennials#erosion control#aggressive#spreading#deer resistant#trailing#low growing plant#herbaceous perennials#attractive leaves#long bloom time#groundcover#long lifespan#naturalizes#border planting#naturalized area#herbaceous annual#clay soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden#wet soils intolerant#spiller#butterflies#butterfly#fall color#flowering#butterfly garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#gold#hummingbirds#evergreen#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#low growing#perennials#erosion control#aggressive#spreading#deer resistant#trailing#low growing plant#herbaceous perennials#attractive leaves#long bloom time#groundcover#long lifespan#naturalizes#border planting#naturalized area#herbaceous annual#clay soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden#wet soils intolerant#spiller#butterflies#butterfly#fall color#flowering#butterfly garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ceratostigma
    Species:
    plumbaginoides
    Family:
    Plumbaginaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    This plant makes an excellent ground cover, spreads quickly.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Leaf Cutting
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North Central and South East China
    Distribution:
    Argentina, France, Italy, Austria
    Wildlife Value:
    Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Easy to Grow
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 8 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 5 in. - 1 ft. 8 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Horizontal
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Capsules pale yellowish brown. Seeds red-brown.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Trumpet
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Plants produce a terminal cluster of dainty, 1/2 inch, 5-petaled, star-shaped gentian blue flowers in mid-summer to early fall. Flowers appear above the foliage over a long summer to frost bloom period.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Shiny, almost-platinum leaves; elongated oval 1.5 to 2 inches long; new growth is burgundy; copper, bronze tinge in fall.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    No scales, covered in hair
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are slender, simple or branched, without bud scales, sparsely minutely hispid toward apex.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Fairy Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Erosion
    Poor Soil