Blue Plumbago…Problem or Not?

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Blue shades, clockwise from the top: Clematis, Lavender, Baptisia, Nepeta, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Campanula ‘Sarastro’, Wisterla ‘Amethyst Falls, and Plumbago auriculata

Funny thing…this favorite color, the color of the sky above… true blue-baby blue is not the easiest color to mix and match. Think of the blues in the garden…most shades have red in them…the violets have a darker red, lavenders can have that pinkish tint. Blue flowers also look so different depending on the light…take a picture of a blue flower on a cloudy day, or at  midday, and at dusk and notice how the hue changes.

I have a challenge here…I’m trying to decide which plants I can use to complement a lovely blue Plumbago auriculata in one of my containers. My aim, as always, is to have the container look great now through September, and have it be pretty easy care.

First if you are unfamiliar with Plumbago,  it is a tender perennial/shrub producing powder blue phlox like blossoms endlessly all sumer.  Plumbago forms sizable shrubs where it is hardy, but for those of us growing here in the northeast, expect plants to grow to 2’-2 1/2’ in a season in our gardens or pots.

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One thought I had was to play with complementary colors….light orange and light blue are color opposites. I found a consistent apricot in Heuchera ‘Champagne’, and I thought  of adding some light yellow/lime…perhaps the Helichrysum ‘Limelight’ or Oxalis ‘Copper Glow which has tints of orange too. A green ornamental grass like Hakonechloa macra can add a different texture and natural feeling. A possibility, but then I realized I didn’t have a pot this group works with.

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I did have this white handled jar. Blue and white is a classic combination. Gaura ‘So White’ adds a wispy vertical, Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost is an all purpose filler with an aura of baby’s breath , and for bold punch, the glossy foliage of Angelica pachycarpa which can be set out in the garden in the fall. Needed something to trail so I tucked in a Teardrop Ivy.

What do you think? What would you pair Plumbago with?

6 thoughts on “Blue Plumbago…Problem or Not?”

  1. Nice combos, thank you for the inspiration.
    Everyone who knows it loves this plumbago! The knotty part in using it, for me, has been getting enough bloom in the semi-shaded locations it seems so apt to use in.
    ~ abigail higgins

  2. I always use plumbago in my pots. I use Back & Blue salvia, angelonia as my tall uprights. Some heliotrope , white or coral geraniums as middle to short stand up uprights. It’s easy to use the Euphorbia Diamond Frost as a filler w white or yellow lantana & either splash licorice or petit licorice ( hellychrisum (sp?) as spillers w scaveola , or verbena as spillers . That verbena Peaches & Cream works well if you need the coral contrast. Easy breezy. Last until fall!

  3. If you were looking for a yellow, maybe Mexican tulip poppy would go well. For an outdoor garden, for yellow, I’d use Moonbeam coreopsis for similar size plant and flowers.
    In the ground, plumbago grows more to hedge size and flowers profusely in my NYC back yard until frost. It lasts pretty long as a cut flower also. I’ve never seen it in another NYC garden, which is really surprising.

  4. Very interesting arrangement & container. I have not grown plumbago, so may try it in a container. I tend to like monochromatic colors, so might try a darker blue container with lobellia & diamond frost (goes well with everything). If I opted for a splash of additional color, ‘Sweet Kate’ spiderwort could be a good choice.

  5. I like to pair plumbago with evolvulus ‘Blue Daze’ to intensify the blueness. I love blue/white and blue/white/yellow combos. Margos suggestion of salvia ‘Black and Blue’ sounds great… may have to give that one a try with white gaura and euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’.

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