The hardy blue-flowered leadwort is an ornate ground cover with gentian blue flowers and a beautiful autumn color. This is how to plant and care for Ceratostigma plumbaginoides.
Profile of hardy blue-flowered leadwort:
Scientific name: Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
Plant family: plumbago family (Plumbaginaceae), also sea lavender or leadwort
Other names: –
Planting time: spring or early summer
Flowering period: August to October
Location: sunny to partially shaded
Soil quality: sandy, nutrient poor, humus poor
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: ground cover, group planting, planting under wood, borders, flower garden, rock garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 6
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of hardy blue-flowered leadwort
Plant order, origin and occurrence
The hardy blue-flowered leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is a rhizome-forming perennial within the plumbago family (Plumbaginaceae). The genus Ceratostigma includes a total of eight species that come from dry locations in Asia. Ceratostigma plumbaginoides is originally found in northern and central China.
Characteristics of hardy blue-flowered leadwort
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides is a herbaceous perennial that lignifies at the base. It sprouts only late in spring, grows relatively quickly and spreads out with thin runners like a carpet to create a green area. The plant grows up to 30 centimeters (12 in) high and about as wide. The aerial parts die off in winter, but the plant sprouts again in spring.
The hardy blue-flowered leadwort has reddish, thin shoots that are very dense and upright. The obovate, bright dark green and glossy leaves only sprout late in spring and turn red to reddish brown in autumn. The leaves are bristly hairy, have wavy edges and grow up to eight centimeters (3.2 in) long.
The short, upright stems of the plant bear terminal, loose tufts of gentian-blue, disc-shaped flowers with a diameter of about two to three centimeters (about 1 in) from late August / early September to October – usually when the autumn colors appear.
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides forms inconspicuous capsule fruits that do not ripen in our latitudes.
Hardy blue-flowered leadwort – cultivation and care
A full sun to half-shady location is ideal for the perennial.
The soil should be moderately dry to fresh, slightly sandy, calcareous and poor. Good permeability is also important because the plant does not tolerate winter wetness.
Ideally, you should plant hardy blue-flowered leadwort in a well-drained soil in spring or early summer. Place the perennial in a sufficiently large planting hole and keep a distance of 25 to 30 centimeters (10 to 12 in) from other perennials. If you want to cultivate Ceratostigma plumbaginoides as ground cover, you should count on about ten to twelve plants per square meter.
Since the plant shoots out relatively late, a cover made of mulch is advisable to better store water and heat. Otherwise, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides is relatively easy to care for and a thankful garden resident.
In order for the perennial to sprout vigorously again in spring, you can cover the Chinese lead root for the first winter with a little foliage or brushwood.
The dry-tolerant perennial only requires additional watering during longer dry periods.
It is sufficient if you supply the hardy blue-flowered leadwort with perennial fertilizer once a year, usually in spring.
Pruning is only recommended in spring before budding. Then you can prune the ground cover and cut it back close to the ground.
The easiest way to multiply the hardy blue-flowered leadwort is by dividing it in spring. In addition, from April to around August you can cut cuttings from the perennial, which you put in pots with moist potting compost, where they root under foil and in a bright location. Over time, however, the plant forms runners and thus wide carpets without any action.
Diseases and pests
Basically, the hardy blue-flowered leadwort is an easy-care and grateful garden shrub that is relatively insensitive to pests and plant diseases. In months that are too humid and cold and when it is too dark, the plant can occasionally be affected by powdery mildew.
hardy blue-flowered leadwort is hardy up to -20 °C / -4 °F.
Use in the garden
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides is an ideal ground cover in group plantings. You can also use the hardy blue-flowered leadwort to beautify sunny areas at the foot of dry stone walls or plant them on embankments, in borders, in rock gardens or for green roofing. If it can soak up enough sun, the perennial looks good in front of tall grass and is ideal for planting under woods and trees. Autumn-coloring trees have proven themselves as beautiful neighbors. In addition, the flower is often used in the company of bulb bloomers.