Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 47 acres of botanical bliss fronting the Pacific Ocean


Summer blues to make you smile!

Botanical Name: Lithodora diffusa Common Name: Lithodora Family: Boraginaceae 

Description: Lithodora is a perennial plant that is native to southern and western Europe. It forms a low, slightly mounded, woody mass that is about 6-12 inches high and 3-4 feet wide. The leaves are narrow evergreen and are 1/4-1 inch long. The foliage and stems are hairy. Beginning in late spring the plant is covered with pretty blue flowers, which are tubular and are 1/2 inch long. The types of plant most commonly seen are 'Heaven Blue' and 'Grace Ward'.

Cultivation: Lithodora grows in climate zones 5-7 and 14-17. It requires light shade in the hottest climates and needs moderate watering. It needs loose, well-drained, lime free soil. It can be used in rock gardens and can be used as ground cover on a small-scale basis. It is best suited to mild-summer climates.

Note: I wasn't aware of Lithodora until we built our home two years ago. Our neighborhood is on the bluffs just north of ten-mile river north in Fort Bragg. My yard has to deal with wind, salt air, deer and lots of gophers. I planted it on three sides of our house. It has thrived in our yard and has provided us with two years of pretty flowers and is a low maintenance plant that requires little water. In the two years, the gophers have only eaten two plants and the deer have left them alone, so far.

Submitted by Master Gardener Linda Eyerly, 2007.