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How to Care for Plumbago Plants

By Antonia James ; Updated September 21, 2017

Plumbago plants, also known as plumbago auriculata or cape leadwort, grow well in warm climates. They are a great addition to a garden, as they attract butterflies and are ignored by deer. Plumbagos are bushy plants that can grow 3-10 feet high and just as wide, according to Gardening Central. The shrub produces tube-like flowers that are an inch wide and are made up of five petals. Blue is the most common petal color, but plumbago can also bear white flowers. Plumbago plants are hardy and self-sufficient. After planting, little maintenance is involved in order to properly care for plumbago.

Water plumbago plants until the soil around the plant is moist. Allow the area to dry before the next watering session. Plumbago plants are drought tolerant and typically do not need watering more than twice per week during warmer summer months. Reduce watering to once per week when the weather cools and fall begins.

Apply an all-purpose plant fertilizer to the soil around the plumbago plant in order to encourage flowering and growth, according to University of Florida IFAS Extension. This should be done once per month during the summer growing season. Consult your local gardening center for the best type of fertilizer for your area’s soil.

Trim excess plant growth to desired length using pruning shears. Pruning can be done at any time year round, according to Green Zone Life. Flowers bloom from the current year’s branch growth and the plant will continue to flower even after cutting no matter how far back the plant is trimmed. Plumbago plants tend to grow quickly and it may be necessary to trim the plants every 2-3 months.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Plumbago plants can be pruned and trimmed to appear shrub-like or they can be left to grow as vines.
  • While plumbago plants are cold hardy, frosts and freezes can potentially damage and kill the plants. Cover plumbago with blankets or sheets to protect them from inclement winter weather.


  • Yellow foliage on plumbago plants may indicate a manganese sulfate deficiency. Cure the plants by applying manganese sulfate, according to Floridata.

About the Author


Antonia James is a Florida-based writer who began writing full-time in 2009. After starting her career in the world of journalism she ventured into the courtroom as an attorney. James holds a Bachelor of Arts in media studies from Fordham University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami.