Paint the Town Sky Flower Blue with Plumbago Auriculata
Home & Garden

Paint the Town Sky Flower Blue with Plumbago Auriculata

June 25 2023

By Becky Lowicki, Harris County Master Gardener

Native to South Africa, this heat-loving beauty, Plumbago auriculata, also known as Cape plumbago or sky flower, packs a showstopper bluebird hue of a color punch in the residential landscape.

Comprised of sprawling shrubs with freeform vine-like branches, it is prized for its profusion of blue phlox-like flowers that provide nonstop color in the midst of the summer heat. A top go-to choice in the Houston region, it is frequently featured as a border accent or foundation planting, creating an eye-popper wow moment amidst a green garden backdrop.

While few “true blue” plants exist naturally in the landscape, the ethereal quality of its color provides a calming sense of visual peace as well. Attractive to pollinators, it is the host plant for the larvae of the Cassius blue butterfly (Leptotes cassius), which lays eggs on the bloom buds and spikes. The small green larvae resemble the buds and are well camouflaged.
A Bounty of Blooms

A perennial shrub which blooms continuously from summer until first frost, it seems to have minimal diseases or pests. While it thrives in full sun, even in considerable shade it will still have an abundance of blooms.

While it prefers fertile, well-drained soil, it isn’t fussy, adapting well to slightly acidic, slightly alkaline, clay, sand or loam. As the shrub tends to become leggy, prune sparingly, otherwise you’ll sacrifice the bloom if you trim too often or too much.
Easy Peasy

An easy to care for selection, plumbago is also known for being deer resistant and drought tolerant, once established. Plumbago may be damaged by an extended freeze, but will quickly recover with new green growth.

Water it regularly and fertilize it each spring, while allowing enough spacing for growth of up to two to three feet tall with a four-foot spread.

Source: Harris County Master Gardeners Urban Dirt Newsletter (June 2023 Edition)

About Urban Dirt

Each month, Harris County Master Gardeners publishes an informative, resourceful newsletter entitled "Urban Dirt". This article was derived from the June 2023 edition. To read the June 2023 edition of this newsletter, click the button below.


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