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Products > Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides - Dwarf Plumbago
Image of Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Plumbaginaceae
Origin: China (Asia)
Flower Color: Blue
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Synonyms: [Plumbago larpentae, Valoradia plumbaginoides]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 F
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Dwarf Plumbago) A low growing deciduous plant that spreads slowly by rhizomes from which emerge erect stems to form a groundcover that usually reaches 8-12 inches tall, but can get over 2 feet with regular irrigation, and spreading 3 to 5 feet wide. It has 2 inch long light to medium-green foliage that provides a great foil to the congested terminal clusters of 3/4 inch wide deep blue flowers that begin appearing in summer and continue to bloom through the fall. In fall, the blue flowers contrast well with the foliage that turns to reddish brown from frosts. Plant in sun or part shade with moderate or occasional irrigation. It is hardy to 0 to -10 degrees F. A great reliable long-lived plant that can be an aggressive spreader in good conditions (good soil and ample water) or a tough survivor in poor conditions. Attractive when used in mass as a deciduous groundcover or as a filler between other shrubs great as a cover for areas with winter and spring bulbs as it leafs out fairly late in the spring. This plant comes from east Asia and Western China where it grows in rocky places in the foothills. This plant was found on the outskirts of Peking (now Beijing) and first described in 1834 (perhaps as early as 1831) by the Baltic-German botanist Alexander von Bunge (1803-1890), head of University of Tartu Botany Department, who made many botanical expeditions into Asia and has many Chinese plants named in his honor. Bunge named this new plant Ceratostigma plumbaginoides but in 1846 Robert Fortune (1812-1880), the Scottish botanist best known for introducing tea plants from China to India, found it growing on walls and ramparts in Shanghai and, though he failed to successfully return with a living specimen, another man, a British trader only known as Mr. Smith, found plants also growing out of the stonework on a city wall in Shanghai and returned to England with a plant that came into the possession of Sir George Larpent. This plant first flowered in cultivation and was described as Plumbago larpentae in 1847 by Dr. John Lindley (1799-1865) to honor Sir Larpent's wife Charlotte Cracroft Larpent, the Lady Larpent. The name Plumbago larpentae was short lived however as the following year Pierre Edmond Boissier wrote a monograph on a group of plants in the Plumbaginaceae that ranged from Africa and Asia and, while he correctly determined that Plumbago larpentae and Ceratostigma plumbaginoides were synonymous, he lumped the plants together with the genus Valoradia, a genus established by German botanist Christian Ferdinand Friedrich Hochstetter (1787-1860) in 1842 so this plant was then known as Valoradia plumbaginoides. Meanwhile the plant, still using the name Plumbago larpentae and commonly called Lady Larpent Leadwort, was displayed for the Royal Horticultural Society in July 1847 and Knight and Perry's Nursery was soon offering it for sale with it eventually making its way to Europe and beyond. In 1906, writing in the Journal of Botany, Sir David Prain (1857-1944), then a Lieutenant-Colonel, a Fellow of the Royal Society and director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and who authored "The Genus Ceratostigma" resurrected Bunge's original name Ceratostigma plumbaginoides. The name Ceratostigma comes from the Latin word 'cerato' and from the Greek 'keratos', meaning "horn" and 'stigma', the receptive apex of the pistil of a flower in reference to hornlike structures attached to the flower stigma. The specific epithet simply means "like a Plumbago". 

This information about Ceratostigma plumbaginoides displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.