Have you ever passed by a lovely, delicate blue plant, and wondered what it was? It may have been the plumbago, a low lying plant with flowers that are typically bluish-white. (The plumbago can be a plant or a shrub.) The plumbago, or the plumbago auriculate, can be found in some quite surprising spots… including desert regions like Arizona! The plumbago is a perennial that enjoys warmer climates, and grows freely. According to the University of Arizona, the plumbago flowers enjoy full sun exposure and can “survive with little watering once established, and is considered moderately drought tolerant.” The plumbago can provide a lovely ground cover and a water-saving alternative in the yard.
According to legend, this plant’s name is related to the Latin word for lead, as it was once believed that the flower could cure lead poisoning. Though we wouldn’t recommend relying on it as a curative, the plumbago does make an aesthetically pleasing addition to any garden!
The plumbago is more drought-tolerant than many other plants. The plumbago is versatile, thriving in all warm climates, from tropics to semi-arid and desert regions. The plumbago is found all over in the world in Europe, Africa and across the United States. According to the UC Davis Agriculture and Natural Resources Marine County Cooperative Extension, the plumbago can be a successful Xeriscaping addition “especially if plenty of compost and mulch are added at planting.
There are more than a dozen different varieties of plumbago – with many different color flowers such as pink, purple, red and white – so there is a wide variety of choices available to those considering the plumbago.