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Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (plumbago, leadwort)

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

plumbago, leadwort

Brilliant blue flowers with striking red calyces cover bright green foliage from mid-summer to fall, when the leaves turn deep red. A wonderful groundcover, it is a great choice for beds of spring bulbs because it emerges late, as the bulb foliage declines.

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9-12 Inches


18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-9

plumbago, leadwort Interesting Notes

"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.

Late, long-flowering plant serves as excellent ground cover for sunny to partly shaded areas in the landscape. A good plant for interplanting with spring bulbs because foliage emerges late as the bulb foliage is dying back. Underplanting for shrubs. Edger. May be used in rock gardens or border fronts with careful monitoring of spread. As a ground cover, plumbago would probably be as extensively planted as vinca, pachysandra or English ivy, except for the fact that it lacks their evergreen foliage." - Missouri Botanical Gardens

"Belonging to a group of deciduous perennials and shrubs from eastern Africa and Asia, leadwort is a wiry, semi-woody, mat-forming perennial which spreads by rhizomes to form an attractive ground cover. Like many nice groundcovers, it can be somewhat invasive in optimum growing conditions. These plants add a leafy green texture to the garden in summer, electric deep blue flowers from mid-summer on, and couldn't be prettier in autumn with its reddish leaves. Highly rated as a ground cover, it would no doubt be more popular if it didn't die away completely in winter, leaving bare patches in the garden. Plants are late to emerge in the spring, so their location should be carefully marked to avoid damage from early spring cultivation." -

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides Growing and Maintenance Tips

Plumbago likes to be in a sunny average to dry location. It tolerates some shade, but won't bloom as well. A good choice for poor soils and difficult sites. Looks beautiful in a container or spilling over a wall! Emerges late, end of April here in Pennsylvania.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Horticultural Plug
Ornamental Foliage
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Propagation Type