Cape plumbago is on our Garden Club member’s midweek special, so this week’s blog is all about these non-stop summertime bloomers.
Plumbago’s phlox-like flowers are borne in clusters on the ends of multiple sprawling branches over a long blooming season, attracting butterflies from spring through fall. If grown from seed, the flowers can be anywhere from snow white to sky blue. Getting a predictable and reliable flower color requires growing the plant from cuttings, as the cuttings will be identical to the plant that they were taken from.
At Civano Nursery, we grow two forms of cape plumbago; a pure white cultivar called ‘alba’, and a deep blue cultivar called ‘imperial blue’. Both forms of plumbago perform equally in desert gardens, but the blue is by far our most popular seller. Here in the Sonoran Desert, blue-flowering plants are rare, and of the few that are available, none can advertise the same stature and wild elegance as imperial blue cape plumbago.
This South African plant is deer resistant, drought and heat tolerant, vigorous, and fast-growing; easily rambling over sloped banks, climbing up fences and trellises, and cascading out of raised beds and planters. Taming this shrub requires some work, and keeping it formally trimmed will remove flowers, so we recommend giving it plenty of space for the most rewarding performance. It will take frequent watering, but needs excellent drainage to thrive.
Trim off stems killed by winter temperatures in early spring, and you’ll have a beautiful, full, green, and flowering shrub again by summer.