Cape Leadwort

Plumbago auriculata

Blister Leaf, Blue Plumbago

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A popular reliable, resilient garden shrub with light blue trumpet shaped flowers. Flowering mainly from November to May and attracts butterflies. Its sticky flowers are used by children to make earrings. As a traditional medicine is can be used to treat warts, broken bones and wounds, is used as a snuff for headaches. It can be used as a hedge and it may be best to prune to keep it tidy. Can be grown in full sun to semi-shade. The dark blue variety is called "Royal Cape" in nurseries in South Africa.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Pick as needed.

Propagation

Seed

Sowing time is in autumn. Sow 3m apart and place a thin layer of soil over the seeds. Do not sow deep in the soil. Germination should be more or less one month.

Cuttings

Cuttings can be used but is less successful when compared to suckering. Use semi-hardwood or hardwood cuttings and place in well-drained river sand till roots have formed.

Suckers

This is the best way to propagate the Cape Leadwort. Cut the sucker with roots and stem off and plant in the desired area.

Special features

Attracts birds

Birds, like the Robin, will visit your garden in flowering time.

Attracts useful insects

Cape Leadwoth is visited regularly by butterflies which could also serve as a pollinator for other plants.

Pot plant

Make sure the soil is rich is compost and water regularly if placed in full-sun.

Hedge plant

This is the main use of this wonderful plant. You can prune the Cape Leadwoth in winter to encourage flowering. The plant does produce suckers, so take this into consideration when planting.

Attracts butterflies

Drought resistant

Wind break

Special features

Origin

This plant was spread by the Dutch East India Company.

Natural climate

Valley Bushveld and thicket

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Chalk, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Medicinal

As a traditional medicine it has been reported that Cape Leadwoth has been used to treat warts, broken bones and wounds, is used as a snuff for headaches.

Decorative Hedge

Grows quickly into a dense hedge of medium height.

Personality

Family

Plumbaginaceae

Flower colour

Blue, White

Scent

None

Problems

Hardy with little defects or insect pests.

Companion plants

Credits

profile iconPlumbago auriculata
by Alice Aubrey, Witwatersrand National Botanical Garden, December 2001 (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.,
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