Plumbago (Blue Plumbago)

First thing you need to know about Plumbago (Blue Plumbago) is that I’ve always considered it one of the true Bounce-Back-Ability plants, no matter what kind of winter we have.  The Blue Plumbago is technically known as the Cape Blue Plumbago by horticultural industry nerds like me. But nowadays, it’s simply called Plumbago. Its botanical name is Plumbago auriculata.

Most people in southeast Texas have seen this plant.  It’s a soft-blue flowering shrub that can be used in just about any landscape. I think it is best as a mid-sized shrub that can be draped over the edge of a raised bed. It contrasts well with many other plants because of its lighter green foliage, mixed with its soft-blue flowers. It seems that no matter what you mix it with, it gives off a “cooling” vibe.


While Blue Plumbago will flower seemingly year-round, they can look a bit gnarly after hard freezes.  They can be cut way back to the base from which they will rebound like a hardy perennial.  In fact, if you research some of my old writings about this plant, you will find that we list the Blue Plumbago as a drought-tolerant perennial. And we’ve also noted in years past that if you don’t do a consistent job of feeding it a slow-release, or controlled-release blooming plant food, you will struggle to get those gorgeous soft-blue flowers.

You can prune it for shape a couple of times a year, and that’s always a good time to feed it those slow/controlled-release fertilizers. If you don’t prune it occasionally, it will get leggy and outgrow certain areas, and that’s when people tend to think it’s not a good choice for Gulf Coast landscaping.

And while the need for pruning and feeding doesn’t make this a “no-maintenance” plant for our landscapes, I believe it is about as easy to maintain, as say Knockout® roses. And in over 25 years of this gardener working with Blue Plumbago, I have never been disappointed in its ability to come back after any kind of winter we have along the Gulf Coast.