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Plumbago auriculata

Plumbago auriculata
Climbing into a salvia 'Hot Lips'

Synonym(s) Plumbago capensis
Common name plumbago
Family plumbaginaceae
Life cycle tender shrub (Z8-11)
Flowers soft blue (summer-fall)
Size 24-36"
Light sun-part shade
Cultural notes well-drained garden soil, not too dry; heat-tolerant

Clusters of five-petaled phlox-like flowers on a woody perennial/shrub native to South Africa. The specimen in the photo below was just planted, in mid-spring. It continued to bloom off and on through its first summer, and was looking rather nice by summer's end (photo at top), but still with decidedly the appearance of a herbaceous perennial. Plumbago seems to inhabit the annual shelves at local nurseries, so I kept my fingers crossed that it would persist in our garden – and it did, although it died back to the ground after winter freezing weather. In its next season, it got off to a slow start, but by late summer it had climbed up into a neighboring shrubby salvia, now able to display its flowers closer to eye level. Eventually, I'll need to decide if and how to prune our plant, to train it up a nearby fence, or just let it sprawl into and across anything it encounters.

Plumbago auriculata
Small plant, just after making the transition from its nursery pot
Moved to a new location where it doesn't have a neighbor to climb into, it acts as a laxly upright shrub

In our garden, this plant grows in the following areas: left fence border, back fence border

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