This is one in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.
Size: Under 2 feet tall
Bloom season: Summer, fall
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape
Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week
Snapshot: This colorful, low-growing perennial makes a good ground cover or it can be trimmed into a short border hedge around flower beds and rock gardens. Its vibrant blue flowers attract butterflies and beneficial insects throughout the summer. In fall, the dark green foliage turns red-orange, adding more interest. Easy care and hardy, plumbago tolerates just about everything: poor soil, drought (once established), frost, even deer. You can see specimens outside Mrak Hall and in the arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Garden of Valley-wise plants on the UC Davis campus.
Why it's a Favorite: "I love the little intense royal blue flower clusters that start blooming at the branch tips in June and continue until frosty November, at which time the leaves turn a brilliant autumnal orangey burgundy color," said Francesca Claverie, the arboretum's assistant nursery manager. "Nine months of looking good!"
For more on the Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars, click on http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu.
See a photo gallery of the Community Favorites online at UC DAVIS ARBORETUM: COMMUNITY FAVORITES.