Ceratostigma plumbaginoides in a mediterranean garden in Languedoc South of France

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

Unsung heroes of the dry garden

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides – the “blue-flowered leadwort” – is a native from Western China. It grows and grows, unfettered by heat or drought, and blooms from June through September in a very beautiful bright blue over somber green leaves. The leaves may also turn red in the fall.

I had already loved it in Switzerland so I planted it here. So far it has not only survived two dry summers with minimal watering, it is actually thriving and I do hope it proves itself to be as invasive as some articles say it is.

It grows quickly to about about 20-30 cm high and 40 cm wide and makes an exceedingly pretty groundcover until late fall, when the leaves fall. They reappear in the spring about the end of March. It’s hardy to -18Cº and likes a light, poor, gravelly and well-drained soil. It does well in my poor clay here, I just added a bit of gravel to the planting hole. In the very hot summer sun the blooms tend to dry up quickly, so I’ve moved it to a spot in the half-shade under a young tree. It’s not susceptible to a lot of diseases or parasites and needs no maintenance.


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