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The Ultimate Guide to Growing and Caring for Lithodora Diffusa

Last Updated on March 10, 2023

Lithodora Diffusa is a unique low-maintenance plant; it is easy to get your hands on and brings great joy to any living space. It is a low-growing ground cover that remains green throughout the year. It boasts gorgeous blue and white star-shaped flowers during the spring and summer that elevate its presence and beauty.

Lithodora can be an excellent addition to your collection; let’s find out more about this gorgeous evergreen plant.

Table of Contents

Meet the Lithodora Diffusa: Basic Knowledge and Origins

Lithodora Diffusa belongs to the Boraginaceae family native to Southern Europe, Turkey, Algeria, and its surroundings. This evergreen flowering plant grows exceptionally well on rock beds and rocky terrains, living up to its name Lithodora which means “stone gift” in Greek.

The Lithodora Diffusa develops gorgeous blue and white flowers and is a dense shrub-like ground cover that is bound to elevate the beauty of any landscape.

Family Type Boraginaceae
Common Name Lithodora Diffusa Star
Botanical Name Lithodora Diffusa
Plant Type Herbaceous Flowering
Size 8-12 in. tall & 24-36 in. wide
Native Area South Western Europe & Mediterranean
Sun Exposure Direct sunlight – Partial Shade
Soil Consistency Well-draining soil or sand
Soil pH Acidic
Toxicity None
Common Pests Aphids, Spider Mites & White Flies

Varieties of Lithodora

Lithodora Fruticosa

It is also known as the shrubby gromwell due to its dense, bushy appearance. Lithodora Fruiticosa can grow on dry ground or limestones.

Lithodora Hipsidula

This branched shrublet reaches a height of about 15-30 cm. The side branches are compressed and showcase creamy white bristles.

Lithodora Hancockiana

This is another perennial variety of the Boraginaceae family but is not studied extensively enough. Fun fact: the Boraginaceae or Borage family translates to ‘forget me not’!

Lithodora Zahnii

This variety has an upright posture along with numerous branched shrubs. It grows up to 30cm tall and houses dark greyish or green leaves. L. Zahnii blooms gorgeous blue or white funnel-shaped flowers, similar to that of a musical trumpet!

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How to Care for Lithodora Diffusa

As long as you stick to this simple guide, you’ll have your Lithodora thriving in no time. Even though this is a low-maintenance plant, make sure never to leave it bone-dry! 

If your residential area comprises a cool climate, you will need to apply mulch as a supplemental measure to prevent your Lithodora from frosting. 

Sunlight 

Lithodora Diffusa is a herbaceous ground cover that thrives in direct sunlight. It can also flourish in short spells of partial shade, but prolonged exposure to shade can make the plant leggy.

If you’re situated in a predominantly hot climate, it’s advisable to keep your plant in partial shade.

Soil

Lithodora Diffusa requires a well-draining and acidic soil mix, which can also be substituted with sand. The ideal pH for Lithodora is 5.5-6. 

The soil should be rich in organic matter and nutrients for optimal growth.

Water

Watering your Lithodora will normally depend upon the weather conditions in your area. Depending on how hot or cold the temperature is, your plant will demand water accordingly.

Your Lithodora will require regular watering when it’s young; as it matures, it’ll only need watering about once or twice a week. MEnsurethe soil isn’t too wet or dry; it should be damp to the touch.

A safe way to check is to stick your finger 2-3 inches into the soil; if it is dry to touch, it means your Lithodora needs watering.

Fertilizer

Lithodora Diffusa doesn’t require much fertilizer, but it’s no harm if you apply fertilizer to it. Use a mild slow-release fertilizer during the spring season to stimulate maximum growth and enhance the chances of flowering.

Here are a few tips to make the flowering more probable.

Temperature

The beautiful Lithordora Diffusa loves cold temperatures and thrives in cool environments. If exposed to hot and humid conditions, the plant begins to deteriorate and lose its blooming potential.

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Potting

Potting the Lithodora is an easy-to-do and straightforward task. Just select a well-draining pot that is adequate in size (at least 4-5 liters) and has sufficient drainage holes at the bottom. 

Place your Lithodora Diffusa in well-draining acidic soil and water it right after. Make sure to do this in the spring season for adequate results.

Pruning

Pruning your Lithodora Diffusa is as important as pruning any other plant. It is necessary for maintaining good plant health and keeping your flowery bud in excellent shape.

The perfect time to prune your precious Lithodora is in the early spring, this will ensure new growth and flowering. 

To prune your Lithodora use a pair of sterile scissors to snip away any brown damaged stems and leaves. If your plant is spreading out too much, you can shape it up with scissors to give it a tidy look.

Regular pruning will encourage new growth and keep your plant fresh.

Propagation

Propagation of the Lithodora Diffusa can be carried out by two main methods;

Cuttings

If you’re going to propagate Lithodora the best time is to begin in the spring season during active growth.

Using a pair of sterile scissors, cut off a healthy growing stem with leaves (about 2-4 inches in length). Place it in an adequate potting mix and cover it with a plastic bag (so the soil retains moisture needed for root formation).

Leave this cutting in direct sun and observe until there is root formation. 

Once root formation is sufficient, transfer your cutting to an adequately sized pot and enjoy your freshly propagated Lithodora.

Seeds

You can get your hands on some Lithodora seeds from your local plant shop or nursery to grow your plant from scratch.

Sow your seeds in the prepared soil and water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist. The best time to do this is at the start of the growing season, i.e, early spring.

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Problems with Growing the Lithodora Diffusa

Yellowing Leaves

As the plant ages, old leaves start to turn yellow before shedding. You can prune off these leaves to encourage new growth and give your plant a fresh look.

Yellow leaves can also be due to overwatering; check your soil to see if it’s too wet, and make sure you’re not overwatering your plant by feeling the soil for moisture.

Sap Covered Leaves

Sap-covered leaves are usually due to sap-sucking aphids. You can fix this issue by removing all the aphids and using an organic spray or soap & water to keep them away.

Brown Wilted Stems

A dehydrated plant will have wilted stems that will start turning brown due to a loss in turgor pressure. Water your plant adequately and ensure the soil stays moist. You can check the soil by placing your fingertip in the top 2-3 inches of soil. 

Ask Away: The FAQ Section

When should I Prune my Lithodora Diffusa?

Pruning during the spring season and also after the flowering period would encourage healthy, fresh growth for the Lithodora Diffusa.

Does Lithodora Bloom all Summer?

Not quite. The Lithodora Diffusa blooms more often in spring than summer.

When Should I Take Cuttings from my Lithodora?

It is best to take cuttings from your Lithodora Diffusa once they have finished flowering. This would ensure safe extraction of the cutting without causing damage to potential blooms.

Is Lithodora Diffusa Safe for Pets?

The Lithodora species is known to be non-toxic for animals; hence it is completely safe for your pets.

Can Lithodora be Grown in Containers?

Lithodora species can be grown in containers; select a pot of sufficient size and pot your Lithodora in the container like you would any plant. Water it regularly and place it in direct sunlight.

When does Lithodora Bloom?

Lithodora typically blooms from late spring to summer under favorable conditions.