Plumbago auriculata is commonly known as Cape plumbago and are used as hedges as well as in the garden border. Now don’t get confused when you also see P.capensis on the plant tag they are the same thing.
With wonderful blue flowers plumbago often referred to as ‘Royal Cape’ the variety or cultivar ‘Imperial Blue’ is a popular form. And why the name Cape ? Plumbago is originally from South Africa and it is widely used as a hedging plant.
The main decision with Plumbago is whether to make it a formal hedge or informal. As a formal hedge it will require regular pruning and it can easily take that. If its not pruned it can tend to be sprawling, that’s OK if that what you are after.
The plant forms a main body which is fairly tight however long arching canes grow freely from this, so although it is not difficult to prune, you do need to keep at it if you want a neat looking plant.
This is a hardy plant and fairly drought tolerant, it does like sun however will cope with part shade as well. Plumbago grows well in poor soils, however will do a little better with some fertiliser in spring.
If left to its own devices plumbago will reach 4-5m, however when used as a hedge it is usually pruned back to 1-2m.
Pruning does improve flowering as this is a plant that flowers on the new seasons growth. Old longer canes can be removed and then the whole plant trimmed back to shape. In late spring the main mass of flowers will appear, after this you can give it a light prune and a second flush of flowers will appear in mid to late summer.
Prune again in winter to keep it in shape for the next spring.
It is a fast growing shrub and will require regular pruning to maintain it a set height.
A reasonably drought tolerant shrub once established, plumbago is pest free in most gardens and both blue and white flowering cultivars are available.
Plumbago does sucker, although some cultivars such as ‘Royal Cape’ are less prone to sucker than the species. Root control barriers can be installed in areas where control is needed. In other areas pull suckers out as they appear.
Plumbago plants are available for sale from the following nurseries