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How to Care for an Imperial Blue Cape Plumbago Plant

By Joyce Starr ; Updated September 21, 2017

Imperial blue cape plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) is an evergreen perennial in the genus Plumbago. Native to South Africa, plumbago will grow well outdoors in the tropical and subtropical regions of the country. In cooler regions, grow plumbago in containers. With its long trailing limbs and phlox-like flowers, plumbago is suitable as a shrub, ground cover, grown in containers, or planted against a trellis. Once established, it is hardy, with the main concern being pruning to keep the plant under control. With its showy blue flowers, plumbago will be a welcome addition to your landscape that will be easy to care for.

Grow the plumbago outdoors in an area of the garden that receives full sun to partial shade. Plumbago grows well in areas that receive filtered sunlight and prefers not to grow in total shade.

Situate indoor-grown plumbago in an area of your house that receives bright light. Place the container by a window or doors that receive sunlight throughout most of the day. Set the plant outdoors during spring and summer.

Amend the planting site with compost before planting. Place an annual application of new compost around the base of the plant once every year in spring. Water the compost in well.

Water the plumbago two to three times per week during periods of hot weather to keep the planting site moist, but not soggy. Water the plant once to twice per week during normal weather conditions.

Fertilize plumbago with a 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer once per month, or apply a 10-10-10 granular fertilizer in early spring, summer and fall. Water the granular fertilizer into the ground, once it is applied.

Prune the plumbago as needed to control the plant’s shape and size. Plumbago is a moderate grower and in the warmer regions of the country will require monthly trimming. Trim the plumbago to make the entire plant thicken and become denser.

Use an insecticide specifically designed for use on plumbago if pests become a problem. Whiteflies, mealybugs and spider mites are sometimes a problem for plants grown indoors. Outdoor grown plants generally are pest free.

Bring container-grown plants indoors to a sheltered location if a freeze or frost is expected. Cover plumbago grown outdoors with blankets to protect them from frosts or freezes.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Plumbago can grow 3 feet tall and have a width of the same size.
  • In warmer regions, plumbago will bloom throughout the entire year.

About the Author


For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.