Plumbago is a genus of about 10 species of annuals, perennials, shrubs and climbers in the family Plumbaginaceae, occurring in warm temperate and tropical regions worldwide.
They are prized for their soft green foliage and clusters of five-petalled saucer-shaped flowers that bloom over a long season. The flowers are so delicate that the plant attracts the admiration of all lovers of the beautiful. These beauties are sun lovers, but will tolerate partial shade. They can be grown in containers, but also as a groundcover or in beds and borders.
The genus name is derived from the Latin words“plumbum” which means “lead”, and “agere” meaning “to resemble”, as these plants were thought to cure lead poisoning.
Plumbago symbolizes hope and good wishes.
Interesting facts about Plumbago:
Cape Leadwort (Plumbago auriculata)
Plumbago auriculata, commonly known as Cape Leadwort, is native to South Africa, but is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The species name was given by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) in 1786. The name Auriculata means ear-shaped and refers to the shape of the leaf base.
It is a perennial evergreen shrub, with erects stems, simple grayish-green leaves and delicate five-petalled flowers. The plant can grow up to 3 m (6 ft) tall, blooming over a very long season from early spring to early winter. The bush is covered by beautiful pale blue or white flower clusters that may remind you of Phlox. The stems are diffusely branched and can be erect, trailing or climbing, while the leaves are thin and have minute gland dots.
Cape Leadwort is a popular garden plant that makes a fantastic hedge and can also be used as a groundcover under trees. It is a very adaptable plant and will even climb through other plants, so it makes the perfect gap filler. Its beautiful flowers will attract birds and butterflies to your garden, making it even more vibrant and full of life. The species is one of the larval food plants of the Common Blue Butterfly (Cyclyrius pirithous), which feeds off it nectar.
The species is often cultivated for its ornamental and medicinal uses throughout the world. The powdered root of this species is applied for wounds, warts, skin disorders and headaches. It also has the ability to fight cancer through the immune system.
In Africa, the plant is used for dying purposes in textile industry and the sap of the roots is sometimes used for tattoos because of its intense grey-blue color.
Its sticky flowers are used by children to make earrings.
Annuals, Climbers, Perennials, Shrubs
The flowers come in a variety of colors, but the most common are blue and white.
Spring, Autumn, Winter, Summer
The plants can reach up to 3 m (10 ft) in height, although they are typically smaller.
These plants prefer fertile and well-drained soils. They are drought tolerant and are not fussy about the soil's pH level.