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A golden opportunity for dry shade

The foliage on Palmgold Chinese plumbago starts out lime green and turns golden.
The foliage on Palmgold Chinese plumbago starts out lime green and turns golden.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Garden Gems” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and that add sparkle to drought-tolerant landscapes.

Palmgold Chinese plumbago

Ceratostigma willmottianum ‘Palmgold’

Size: Reaches 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.

Bloom season: Starry blue flowers summer into fall.

Exposure: Partial sun to shade; protect from hot western sun.

Pruning needs: Shape in spring when new growth appears.

Water needs: Medium low; once established, water deeply every other week.

Snapshot: This golden plant will brighten shady spots in the dry garden. An unusual winter deciduous shrubby perennial, Chinese plumbago offers attractive golden foliage. This “Palmgold” hybrid, also sold as “Desert Skies,” forms a rounded cloud shape of wiry stems. From late summer until frost, the shrub is studded with soft blue jewel-like flowers. Small butterflies find those flowers hard to resist.

For more on “Garden Gems,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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