S & J Nursery’s Guide to Growing
Blue Plumbago / Plumbago auriculata
in the Northeast Florida Landscape
Plumbago has always been one of my favorite landscape plants for the North Florida landscape. It is easy to care for, pest resistant, deer resistant and will continue to reward the gardener that planted it with loads of blooms for years to come in return for mostly neglect on their part. (Well, that seems to be the case in my yard at any rate, plants that I know don’t need much fuss tend to get all out neglected! )
In my home garden Plumbago is given allot of space, three to five feet from one plant to the next and allowed to grow into large 3-4 ft mounds of blooms. In my sandy soil garden, they rarely need watering and a once a year trim and fertilizer seems to keep them happy year after year.
Plumbago auriculata Origins:
– Native to South Africa.
Preferred Sun Exposure:
– Plumbago auriculata is happy when planted into a full sun location or a partial shade spot in out Northeast Florida landscapes (Ex: morning shade and afternoon sun)
– They can also be planted in an all day partial shade and grow well
but may bloom best when they receive more direct sunlight. I have never been disappointed in the look or bloom of Plumbago auroculata when planted into a shadier location, and consider them still to be one of the better plants for shadier portions of the landscape to get reliable blooms.
Foliage of the Plumbago Auriculata plant:
– Evergreen foliage is a light medium green color with simple, alternate oblong leaves that can be 1-2 inches in length. Can suffer foliage damage during a hard freeze but will quickly regrow in spring when damaged with just a harsh trim and a good application of fertilizer.
Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:
– Plumbago auriculata will thrive in well drained or sandy soils. Avoid planting in areas that remain water logged after rains, near downspout or other areas that may have slow or poor drainage.
– Perfect for coastal plantings with a good salt tolerance.
Size Variance of the Plumbago auriculata:
– Plumbago when left to its own devices tends to grow a sprawling shrub that can reach 6-10 ft in height and width.
It can be both trained up a trellis to grow up as a vine or easily trimmed into a well mannered 3-4 ft high and wide shrub with annual pruning.
– Fast growing shrub that is quick to recover from harsh pruning.
– Butterfly attracting blooms are a bright sky blue. Most commonly found in
Northeast Florida are bright blue hybrids although the softer blue or white forms are still sold, but may not be available on a year round like the darker colored selections.
– Moderately drought tolerant once established, be sure to water daily when they are newly planted into the landscape here in the Jacksonville / St. Augustine areas of North Florida. And add supplemental irrigation
weekly during a drought.
Butterfly or Bird Attracting:
– Attracts butterflies and other pollinator.
Best Uses For Plumbago auriculata:
– Plumbago looks great in masses around taller shade trees or planted in
rows along a fence line.
– Perfect for adding some color to foundation plantings.
– Deer resistant landscape selection
– Great butterfly plant for the perennial bed.
– looks great in large planters around a pool patio or deck area.
Care of S & J Tree Farm and Nursery’s Plumbago auriculata:
– Shrubs can be planted in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St.Augustine area at any time during the year.
In well drinking soils, dig the hole as deep as the root ball and two to three
times as wide. Plant the top of the root ball level or slightly higher than the surrounding soils. When planting in poorly drained soils…stop and plant them somewhere else!
– Water every day during the establishment period.
– Prune back plants each spring to 2-3 ft stems. Plants may occasionally need a lighter pruning in summer after periods of prolonged rains following storms etc.
– Mulch newly planted shrubs whenever possible.