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Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
leadwort
( PLUMBAGINACEAE)   leadwort or plumbago

Belonging to a group of deciduous perennials and shrubs from eastern Africa and Asia, leadwort is a wiry, semi-woody, mat-forming perennial which spreads by rhizomes to form an attractive ground cover. Like many nice groundcovers, it can be somewhat invasive in optimum growing conditions.

These plants add a leafy green texture to the garden in summer, electric deep blue flowers from mid-summer on, and couldn't be prettier in autumn with its reddish leaves. Highly rated as a ground cover, it would no doubt be more popular if it didn't die away completely in winter, leaving bare patches in the garden.

Plants are late to emerge in the spring, so their location should be carefully marked to avoid damage from early spring cultivation.

leadwort

Blooming from mid summer to frost, the terminal clusters of ½ to ¾ inch, gentian blue flowers appear above the foliage on short stems. Flowers somewhat resemble those of woodland phlox. Leaves are dark green, leathery, oval, and 2 inch long; turning reddish in the fall after a light frost.

A good choice for interplanting with your favorite spring bulbs because its foliage emerges late just as the bulb foliage is dying back. Can also be used for the front of the border or in rock gardens with careful monitoring of its spread. Great with Achillea and Coreopsis.

Plants can be lifted, divided and replanted in the spring just before the new shoots appear. Their cream-colored roots have tell-tale rings around them, making them easy to spot. Cuttings may be taken in the summer, but the plants resist being moved from mid-summer on.



CULTURE / CARE

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  • AVERAGE, MOIST, WELL-DRAINED SOIL
  • SUN TO PARTIAL SHADE
  • GROWS 8-12 INCHES TALL
  • LATE TO EMERGE IN THE SPRING
  • BRONZE-RED FALL COLOR
  • SIDE DRESS ANNUALLY WITH COMPOST
  • PRUNE WINTER DAMAGE AS NEW GROWTH APPEARS
  • DIVIDE IN SPRING
  • HARDY IN ZONES 5-9 (US)
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