Plumbago Auriculata - An Introduction | Green Patches - Mediterranean Gardening

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Plumbago Auriculata - An Introduction

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plumbago auriculata
Plumbago when purchased - September 2009

When I first bought my Plumbago (otherwise known as Leadwort) I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I just loved the blue flowers and thought it would brighten up my yard in no time. I looked up some info about the plant and I found out these plants can really grow and are normally used as hedges! In fact these plants are used all over the country to brighten up our streets and roundabouts. Not exactly the kind of plant you can grow in a small yard such as mine.

Still the flowers won me over. I was determined to keep it and try to control it somehow. With regular pruning and trimming the growth can be restricted to the desired size right? I placed the plant in a 30 cm pot and the plant started growing slowly at first. I don't water in frequently I allow all the soil to dry up before watering it and I give it some fertiliser once a month.

I got it early Autum and I didn't see much growth all Winter. In Spring however the plant really picked up. It had a growth spurge and I can see now how it can quickly get out of control. I had flowers all winter but only becasue I placed it in a sunny position. In spring I placed it in the shade becasue the flowers and foliage started getting bleached and went yellow. This worked and I had beautiful flowers all spring and summer.

It is Autumn again now and after one year I must admit the plant has grown considerably. I trim it often whenever there are dead flowers and stems however I haven't really pruned it yet. It's getting too big for my yard now and I really need to take a decision. If I'm going to keep it there I need to prune it down considerably.

The question is timing. Is Autumn the right time to prune this plant ? I read that the plant is very resilient, sometimes too resilient, there are people who consider it a pest and no matter what they do they cannot get rid of it. In my case I want to keep it in it's pot so that the growth is limited but I don't want it sprawling all over the place. I'm afraid pruning it just before Winter will not do it any good now that I've seen some decent growth.

The truth is I don't think this plant is suitable for a container in a small yard, it needs room to grow and sprawl. I will keep cutting is down each year, hopefully it will grow denser in the middle and get a small bush. That would be the ideal way to keep it in such a small space.


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