Content Detail

Despite its somewhat understated common name, leadwort can add some zing to the garden, with truly blue flowers late summer through fall and red leaf color in autumn.

  • Family (English) Leadwort
  • Family (botanic) Plumbaginaceae
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover, Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Blue
  • Shape or form Creeping
  • Growth rate Fast, Moderate

Size and Method of spreading:

Leadwort grows between 6 and 12 inches high. It is a colonizing ground cover. Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots, and then send up new shoots. These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to grow aggressively.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Leadwort is a native to China

Leaf description:

The alternate, ovate leaves are borne on reddish stems and have hair on their margins. Foliage is green in summer and turns to bronze or red in fall.

Flower description:

Flowers are a deep, true blue and are produced from July until frost. The sepals and bracts associated with these tubular flowers are red and add color to the plant during the flowering season.

Fruit description:

Fruit are small, dry capsules and not ornamentally important.


Plant Care:

Best growth is attained in well-drained, slightly acidic soils, but this plant can adapt to sandy and clay soils as well. In warm climates, this plant is semi-evergreen. In the north, it is deciduous.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

There are no common serious problems with this plant.



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