Ceratostigma

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The genus Cerastostigma, formerly named Plumbago, ranges from the creeping perennial plant (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) to shrubs that reach 1.2m (4ft) in all directions, like Ceratostigma griffithii. All of them have flowers of intense blue that emerge from late summer to autumn, often accompanied by beautiful reddening autumn foliage. Ceratostigma, from the family Plumbaginaceae, are mostly native to the Himalayas and the Far East. Their late flowering blooms at the ends of the stems, in the form of small tubular flowers with 5 lobes of electric blue, enclosed in reddish calyces and bracts, gathered in loose clusters.

In the garden, they are sun-loving plants, quite accommodating towards soil types if it is well-drained, and often quite hardy depending on the species. These shrubs prefer warm situations and tolerate gravelly soils that are fairly dry in summer. They are deciduous to semi-evergreen and "hibernate" for a long time - sometimes until May - before restarting. Their combination with yellow or orange flowers is superb: we like to plant them with shrubby cinquefoils, also very accommodating, or with Sternbergia lutea, a small bulb that flowers yellow in late summer and retains its foliage in winter.

You'll adore them!

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