Thursday, July 11, 2013

Square Stemmed Broom

Spartothamnella juncea
  This plant looks spectacular at this time of year, with its little orange fruits showing us why the plant has the alternative common name of “bead bush”.

It usually grows about a metre high, and about half a metre in diameter. Grown as a neat, free-standing plant, it tends to be somewhat shapeless, as seen with this plant at Peacehaven Botanic Park. Pruning (after the fruits finish in August or September) neatens up its shape and encourages fresh green growth.
New growth in early summer comes with masses of little white flowers.
This is a very tolerant plant, found on drought-prone, well-drained blacksoil or sandstone hillsides, and in situations where it gets wet feet from time to time. It does like mulch, and if the season is very dry, it looks its best if given some water during the spring growth period.
It does well in full sun or semi-shade.
Its habitat has often been invaded by lantana and it makes a good replacement plant in areas where that weedy invader is being cleared, offering the birds some similar resources in the way of nesting sites and crops of small fruits.
Close planted, square-stemmed broom plants make effective hedges, and can be used in sites such as under eaves.
I noticed some healthy little plants for sale in Crows Nest Community Nursery when I was there last week.

No comments: