Plant DetailShow Menu

Hardy Plumbago Ceratostigma willmottianum

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Hardy Plumbago:

Phonetic Spelling
ser-ah-toh-STIG-muh wil-mot-ee-AH-num
Description

Chinese Plumbago is a deciduous, flowering, herbaceous perennial shrub, with arching red stems and pale blue flowers, maturing at a bit over 3 feet high by 3 feet wide after about five years. It is a native of China and often found in warm valleys at forest edges or in thickets.  It is typically an ornamental plant with the leaves turning a stunning red in the fall providing interest in the landscape. It spreads by means of rhizomes rooting at nodes just below ground. The genus name is derived from the Greek, meaning 'horned stigma’, in reference to the ‘shape of the stigmatic surface’. The species is named for Ellen Ann Willmott (1858-1934), a British gardener and plant introducer.

Chinese Plumbago does well in sandy and loamy soils and prefers well-drained, dry or moist soil. It does tolerate nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers full sun or partial shade, but it cannot grow in full shade. The shrub can be pruned and the woody stems that survive the winter can be pruned hard in the spring to obtain better flowering. The plants flower best on the current years growth. The plant is deer resistant.

Diseases, insect pests, and other plant problems:  During times of extreme heat, regular watering is crucial.  

No serious diseases or insect pests.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Palmgold'
    Gold colored foliage
'Palmgold'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#deciduous#frost tender#deciduous shrub#fall interest#hedges#disease resistant#summer flowers#flowering shrub#deer resistant#bushy#ornamentals#long bloom time#naturalizes#summer interest#naturalized area#poor soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#fall color red#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#shrub borders#wet soils intolerant#broadleaf#butterflies#butterfly#fall color#insect resistant#butterfly garden#bees
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Palmgold'
    Gold colored foliage
'Palmgold'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#deciduous#frost tender#deciduous shrub#fall interest#hedges#disease resistant#summer flowers#flowering shrub#deer resistant#bushy#ornamentals#long bloom time#naturalizes#summer interest#naturalized area#poor soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#fall color red#butterfly friendly#bee friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#shrub borders#wet soils intolerant#broadleaf#butterflies#butterfly#fall color#insect resistant#butterfly garden#bees
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ceratostigma
    Species:
    willmottianum
    Family:
    Plumbaginaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Asia, Tibet, Western China
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 3 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Horizontal
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    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
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Capsules. Seeds black.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The pale blue flowers resemble plumbago, hence the common name. Inflorescences are terminal or axillary, 3 to 7-flowered, sometimes crowded. Blossom in late summer to early fall.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Obovate
    Rhomboidal
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The diamond-shaped green with purple margins, 2 inch long bristly leaves turn red in the fall and often form ringlike scars after falling. Leaf blade obovate-rhombic, ovate-rhombic, or rarely obovate.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in a single cap like scale
    Stem Description:
    Red brown arching branches that can be fragile, nodes with ringlike scars.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Dry Soil
    Insect Pests
    Poor Soil