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Products > Plumbago auriculata 'Imperial Blue'
 
Plumbago auriculata 'Imperial Blue' - Blue Cape Plumbago
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Plumbaginaceae
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Blue
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Synonyms: [Plumbago capensis]
Height: 6-8 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Plumbago auriculata 'Imperial Blue' (Blue Cape Plumbago) - An upright climbing evergreen shrub that reaches 6-8 feet tall with long whip like branches that arch outward holding 2 inch long oblong yellow green leaves that darken with age. It forms a rounded mound or can be pruned and or allowed to climb on other plants or structures as a vine to nearly 20 feet. Nearly year round, with peak from spring through fall, appear inch wide five petaled rich blue flowers on inch long tubes held in multiple flowered clusters at the branch tips. The fruit that follow have sticky hairs so best not planted along a pathway where they get stuck to clothing. Plant in sun or part shade (where it blooms less) in a fairly well drained soil and water occasionally to infrequently tolerates low water conditions but looks better with an occasional irrigation. Hardy and evergreen to 25 F and reportedly root hardy to 10 F and useful down to USDA Zones 8. Tolerates seaside conditions. Cape Plumbago flowers on current year's growth so prune to control size and to refresh the plant in late winter when flowering the least. In the garden can be a nice blue flowering large mounded shrub for background planting, a large scale groundcover that is good for erosion control on slopes or can be used container specimen. It adds a tropical feel to the garden and resistant to deer predation and good for attracting butterflies to the garden both as a larval host for some species and for food supply to others. This selection is similar to the species except that 'Imperial Blue' is a more compact plant with larger and darker royal blue flowers. It is very similar to the cultivar 'Monott' introduced and patented (since expired) by Monrovia Nursery in 1992. Plumbago auriculata is native to southern Cape Province, Eastern Cape and into KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa where it inhabit scrub thickets called "valley bushveld" and shares much of this habitat with the Cape Honeysuckle, Tecomaria capensis. The name for the genus comes from the Latin word 'plumbum' which means "lead" a named given by Pliny for a plant believed to cure lead poisoning. The specific epithet comes from the Latin word 'auricula' meaning "the ear" and the adjectival suffix 'atus' meaning a likeness to in reference to the base of the leaf. This plant was long known as Plumbago capensis, as it was so named in 1794 by "the father of South African Botany", Carl Peter Thunberg, for the Cape region it came from until it was realized that the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarc had previously brought the plant to the East Indies in 1786 as a garden plant and named it Plumbago auriculata. Another common name for this plant is Cape Leadwort.  This description is based on our research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery and our own landscape plantings and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments we receive from others and appreciate receiving feedback of any kind from those who have additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Plumbago 'Imperial Blue'