Plumbago auriculata

A scrambling shrub with delicate pale-green leaves and masses of blue or white flowers.
FLOWER COLOUR:  
AVERAGE SIZE (H) x (W): 3m x 3m
MAXIMUM SIZE (H) x (W): 6m x 5m
HEDGE SPACING: 1m
FLOWERING TIME:   J F M A M J J A S O N D
FRUITING TIME:   J F M A M J J A S O N D

A resilient and attractive scrambling shrub that is versatile and used in gardens throughout the world.  It has delicate, pale green leaves and produces masses of powder blue or white flowers throughout summer.

Plumbago naturally scrambles up nearby trees, but can be grown as a groundcover, clipped into a hedge, espalier or topiary.

ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS:
Sunbirds are often seen feeding on the nectar-rich flowers.
Plumbago is a larval host plant to two species of butterfly.

NATURAL HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION:
Scrub, thicket and valley bushveld.

MAINTENANCE:
Feed regularly with a slow-release fertiliser.
Enrich the plant with compaost and mulch well.
The plant responds well to pruning and will flower more profusely. Cut back at the end of winter.
If damaged by frost, the plant will recover rapidly in spring. Simply cut away the affected branches.

WATER REQUIREMENTS:
Water moderately in summer but keep fairly dry in winter.
Feed regularly with a slow-release fertiliser.
Enrich the plant with compost and mulch well.

GARDEN THEMES:
Country, forest, rockery, woodland

LANDSCAPING USES:
Plumbago naturally scrambles and can be grown as a groundcover.
The plant can be clipped into a low-growing hedge for a formal border.
It can be trained up a trellis to form an attractive vertical feature.
A strong stem can be staked and trained to for a beautiful blue topiary ball.
Plumbago and Tecoma capensis (Cape Honeysuckle) often occur together in nature and provide a striking contrast as they flower at the same time.

FLOWERS:
The 5-petalled, phlox-like flowers are borne in clusters and are produced in large masses. They are powder-blue or white and are borne on new growth.
FRUIT:
The fruit of the plumbago has sticky barbs to attach to animals who aid in seed dispersal. The seed capsule splits open to release the seeds.

WILDLIFE GALLERY:
BUTTERFLY LARVAL HOST:
Leptotes brevidentata (Short-toothed Blue)
Leptotes pirihous (Common Blue)
CULTIVATION:
Propagate from seed, cuttings or by lifting rooted suckers. Protect young plants from frost.

FULL GALLERY:
WITH THANKS TO:
Charles & Julia Botha for their input on butterfly larval hosts, Bring Butterflies back to your Garden
Steve Woodhall for his input on butterfly larval hosts, Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa