Choose a country to see content specific to your location

A picture of a Plumbago

Plumbago

Plumbago auriculata

Also known as

Cape Leadwort, Blousyselbos (Afr.), Umabophe (Xhosa/Zulu), Umasheleshele (Zulu)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Tender

Expected size

Height
Spread

4m

Max

3m

3m

Min

2m

1 years to reach maturity

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images

A photo of Plumbago
A photo of Plumbago
A photo of Plumbago
A photo of Plumbago

Overview

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. Cape Leadwort is indigenous to South Africa and its distribution ranges from the Southern Cape, Eastern Cape and into KwaZulu-Natal. Also found in areas of Gauteng, Free State and North West Province. There is also an isolated distribution in Mpumalanga.

Common problems

Hardy with little defects or insect pests.

    Companion plants

    A photo of Zeyheria

    Zeyheria

    Zeyheria spp.

    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

    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.

    Other uses

    Medicinal