This spreading, deciduous shrub is a valuable and desirable addition to the late border. It brings welcome colour to the garden in late summer and early autumn just as other plants are beginning to wane, give up, or have gone over completely. Ceratostigma willmottianum is covered in masses of disc-shaped, vivid cobalt-blue flowers from August to October, and in autumn, the leaves turn a rich russet-red. It’s best towards the front of a sheltered, sunny border in soil that has good moisture holding capacity.
Its compact growth habit, reaching a height of around 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) and a spread of 3-4 feet (90-120 cm), makes it suitable for borders, rock gardens, and containers. Its vibrant blue flowers make a delightful contrast against green foliage, and when planted in mass, they create a striking visual impact. In early or mid-spring cut back the flowered shoots to within 2.5cm (1in) of the old growth, and after pruning apply a generous mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant.
One of the standout features of Ceratostigma willmottianum is its stunning flowers. The plant produces clusters of small, trumpet-shaped blossoms that range in color from pale sky blue to deep violet-blue. These flowers provide a much-needed burst of color in late summer and early autumn when many other plants start to fade. The blooms are also highly attractive to pollinators, making it a valuable addition to any wildlife-friendly garden.
In addition to its eye-catching flowers, Ceratostigma willmottianum also boasts elegant foliage. The leaves are oval-shaped and have a glossy, dark green color. As autumn approaches, the foliage undergoes a remarkable transformation, turning shades of vibrant red, orange, and purple, adding a touch of fiery beauty to the landscape. Even after the flowers have faded, the colorful foliage of Ceratostigma willmottianum continues to provide visual interest throughout the season.
One of the remarkable aspects of Ceratostigma willmottianum is its adaptability to different growing conditions. It thrives in full sun to partial shade and prefers well-drained soil. Once established, this plant is relatively low-maintenance, requiring minimal watering and fertilization. It is also tolerant of drought conditions, making it an excellent choice for regions with dry summers. Its ability to withstand urban pollution further enhances its appeal as a garden plant.
Ceratostigma willmottianum can be utilized in various ways within a garden or landscape design. Its compact growth habit, reaching a height of around 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) and a spread of 3-4 feet (90-120 cm), makes it suitable for borders, rock gardens, and containers. Its vibrant blue flowers make a delightful contrast against green foliage, and when planted in mass, they create a striking visual impact on the landscape.