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A picture of a Plumbago


Plumbago auriculata

Also known as

Cape Leadwort, Blousyselbos (Afr.), Umabophe (Xhosa/Zulu), Umasheleshele (Zulu)

Photo by brainy_sugarcane (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Light watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

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A photo of Plumbago
A photo of Plumbago
A photo of Plumbago

Plumbago Overview

Plumbago auriculata is a popular, evergreen shrub that scrambles (with support) over walls and archways. It can also be trained against a sheltered, sunny wall outside - or under glass. Its beautiful light to medium blue flowers appear from summer to autumn and its evergreen leaves are spoon-shaped and light green. It is a vigorous plant that grows fast. Because it is tender, Cape leadwort - a name by which it's also known - is best grown as a conservatory plant in frost-prone areas. Preferring full sun outdoors, it can tolerate partial shade and needs fertile, well-drained soil. Originally from South Africa, Plumbago auriculata is popular with a wide range of wildlife. It is used as a traditional medicine and its sticky flowers are used by children to make earrings! Cape Leadwort is indigenous to South Africa and its distribution ranges from the Southern Cape, Eastern Cape and into KwaZulu-Natal. Also found in areas of Gauteng, Free State and North West Province. There is also an isolated distribution in Mpumalanga.

Common problems with Plumbago

Plumbago Companion Plants

How to propagate Plumbago


Cuttings can be used but are less successful when compared to suckering. Use semi-hardwood or hardwood cuttings and place in well-drained sand until roots have formed.


Sow in autumn, 3m apart and place a thin layer of soil over the seeds. Do not sow deep. Germination should be more or less one month.


The best way to propagate the Cape Leadwort is to remove the sucker - with roots and stem - and replant.

Special features of Plumbago

Attracts useful insects

Cape Leadwoth is visited regularly by butterflies which could also serve as a pollinator for other plants.

Drought resistant

Wind break

Attractive flowers

Attracts butterflies

Autumn colour

Attracts birds

Birds, including robins, will visit your garden in flowering time.

Hedge plant

Screening is the main use of this wonderful plant in warmer climates.

Attracts bees

Pot plant

Make sure the soil is rich in compost and water regularly if placed in full sun.

Other uses of Plumbago


As a traditional medicine it has been reported that Cape Leadwort has been used to treat warts, broken bones and wounds, is used as a snuff for headaches.

Decorative Hedge

Grows quickly into a dense hedge of medium height.

Sloping Site | Area Specific

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