The Complete Guide for Chinese Plumbago (Ceratostigma Willmottianum) Care

The Chinese Plumbago, otherwise known as the Ceratostigma Willmottianum or Hardy Plumbago, is a well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Chinese Plumbago Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Chinese Plumbago can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Chinese Plumbago needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.
  • Light: Keep your Ceratostigma Willmottianum in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Chinese Plumbago in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Chinese Plumbago this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Chinese Plumbago belongs to the Plumbaginaceae family, the genus Ceratostigma and the species Willmottianum, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Ceratostigma Willmottianum (ser-at-oh-STIG-muh wil-mot-ee-AH-num).

As with other Ceratostigma’s, the Chinese Plumbago is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Chinese Plumbago is a plant native to the Tibet and China.

You might be wondering why your Chinese Plumbago’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Ceratostigma Willmottianum will be most used to the heat zones in the 6 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Chinese Plumbago is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Chinese Plumbago? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Ceratostigma Willmottianum can grow up to 2′ – 4′ (60cm – 120cm) in 2′ – 4′ (60cm – 120cm) and 2′ – 4′ (60cm – 120cm) in 2′ – 4′ (60cm – 120cm). 

These dimensions make the Chinese Plumbago a relatively medium shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful spreading shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 24″ – 48″ (60cm – 120cm) free so the Chinese Plumbago can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Chinese Plumbago is a fairly complicated plant to take care of. This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Ceratostigma Willmottianum needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Chinese Plumbago in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Chinese Plumbago is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

The Chinese Plumbago’s ideal soil potting mix is made out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Placement

In terms of light & exposure, the Chinese Plumbago requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Ceratostigma Willmottianum in 


Being a deciduous plant, the Chinese Plumbago will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the summer (late), and during the fall.


In particular, this shrub is well known for its showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Chinese Plumbago produces some beautiful blue flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Chinese Plumbago have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

You can expect the leaves from your Ceratostigma Willmottianum to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

The Chinese Plumbago is well known for being able to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Chinese Plumbago? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Ceratostigma Willmottianum owners agree that this shrub will look great in most asian/zen and cottage gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they compliment well most gardens of gravel and rock garden, city and courtyard, and in mediterranean garden styles. 

In particular, the Chinese Plumbago’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, banks and slopes, and in patio and containers, others use it for landscaping in a rock garden, border, mass planting, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Chinese Plumbago’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Hydrangea macrophylla, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Forsythia x intermedia ‘Kolgold’ will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Chinese Plumbago in your garden or home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

Recent Posts