If you love blue flowers, you don’t want to miss out on dwarf plumbago. This easy-care plant spreads from rhizomes to form a dense mat, making it an ideal ground cover or low filler in perennial borders. Its many short, wiry stems are clothed in bright green leaves that develop lovely red-bronze tones in autumn. Dwarf plumbago blooms from midsummer through mid autumn, bearing terminal clusters of lovely sapphire blue flowers, a cooling color that’s especially appreciated in the heat of late summer.
Common name: Dwarf plumbago or leadwort
Botanical name: Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
Plant type: herbaceous perennial or subshrub
Zones: 5 to 9
Height: 8 to 12 inches
• Sun: Full sun or partial shade
• Soil: Lightly moist but well-drained, average fertility
• Moisture: Medium
• Mulch: None
• Pruning: None
• Fertilizer: Apply soluble fertilizer solution or a layer of compost each spring.
Pests and diseases
• Root rot may occur in poorly drained soil.
• Dwarf plumbago is an excellent choice for rock gardens, as a ground cover on slopes, and as an edger for planting beds.
• Its blue flowers combine strikingly with yellow-flowered late season perennials like ‘Golden Fleece’ goldenrod and yellow mums.
• Dwarf plumbago leafs out late in spring so be patient.
All in the family
• Dwarf plumbago is a member of the plumbago family (Plumbaginaceae).
• Other perennials in the plumbago family include sea pinks (Armeria spp.) and sea lavenders (Limonium spp.).
• Another blue-flowered cousin, Cape leadwort (Plumbago auriculata), is frost tender but can be grown in a greenhouse or conservatory.
Where to buy
• High Country Gardens, Santa Fe NM; 1-800-925-9387; www.highcountrygardens.com
• Wayside Gardens, Hodges, SC; 1-800-845-1124; www.waysidegardens.com
• Bluestone Perennials, Madison OH; 1.800.852.5243; www.bluestoneperennials.com