FEW plants can survive droughts, frosts, poor soils, very little maintenance and still manage to flower for nearly six months of the year.
One plant that does all this is Plumbago.
Plumbago auriculata is an extraordinarily adaptable plant that bears a profusion of pretty, blue phlox-like flowers from late spring through to early autumn.
They have small roundish green leaves that can take on a slight red or yellow color in the colder months.
The species name, plumbago is derived from the Latin word plumbum, which means lead and refers to the lead blue flower color.
The flowers vary in shades from dark blue to baby blue.
A white form, ‘Alba’, is also stunning and contrasts well with the blue forms.
Plumbagos are native to South Africa, Central America, and Southern Asia, so are well equipped to survive our summer heatwaves with little stress.
These perennial shrubs are not too fussy about position; they bloom best in full sun but also do well in part shade or dappled shade.
They grow in poor soils, don’t need any supplementary feeding and need little water once established.
Plumbagos require very little maintenance.
They don’t need to be pruned to flower and have no pest or disease problems.
Mature plumbago leaves sometimes have a whitish residue on their undersides, which looks like powdery mildew, but is actually a natural excretion from chalk glands in their leaves.
Plumbagos are versatile and can be grown as a shrub and trimmed occasionally or left to sprawl on the ground, along fences or over a wall.
They can be grown as a hedge or espaliered.
And they respond well to a hard cut back if needed.
For a touch of blue in the garden, Plumbago auriculata is a worthwhile choice.
It’s beautiful, tough and very low maintenance.
Catch Debbi Gibson’s ‘In Your Garden’ program on 1566 3NE every Saturday morning from 8 to 9am. Call in your enquiries on 5722 2999.