Blue Plumbago Growing Profile

Plumbago auriculata syn. p. capensis (cape leadwort). shrub. close up of pale blue flowers and green leaves.
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Blue plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) is an evergreen subtropical shrub that features blue or white blossoms.

Latin Name

This shrub is classified as Plumbago auriculata and belongs to the Plumbaginaceae (leadwort) family. You may also see it listed as Plumbago capensis.

Common Names

You may see this as blue plumbago, Cape leadwort, plumbago, sky flower or Cape plumbago.

Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones

This shrub can be planted in Zones 9 to 11 and sheltered locations in Zone 8. It originally comes from South Africa.

Size and Shape

Blue plumbago can be anywhere from 1' to 6' tall and 1' to 10' wide depending on the variety and location. It generally forms into a rounded mound.


You can plant this in a site that has either full sun or partial shade. For the best floral display, choose one with full sunlight.


You can get a clue on the shape of the leaves from the species name since auriculata refers to ears. They are evergreen, light green and 2" long.

The light blue flowers look like those of the phlox plant. They are arranged into clusters called racemes. The fruits produced are capsules that have barbs.

Design Tips

In cooler regions, the blue plumbago can be treated as an annual. You could also keep it in a container and bring it inside each winter, making sure to harden off the plant instead of taking it directly outside each spring.

If you prefer to have a shrub with white flowers, look for the 'Alba' variety. Plumbago auriculata will be able to withstand some drought after a period of root establishment. You can also use this shrub as part of a butterfly garden.

Growing Tips

Propagation is performed by rooting cuttings or seed germination.

Maintenance and Pruning

The blue plumbago may need pruning to help keep it in check. You can also trim it up to form a formal or informal hedge.

Pests and Diseases

If you are growing this as a houseplant, you may find that you have problems with mealy bug, spider mite or whitefly infestations. You may also see the tortrix moth. There are usually no problems with any diseases.