Blue Sceptre (previously knows as Aristea Major)
Growing on mountain slopes, Aristea Capitata is endemic to the Western, South Western and Southern parts of the Western Cape extending from the Piketberg to George.
The sharp-pointed grey-green leaves and bold, erect blue flower spikes always command attention. There is also a very attractive light pink-flowered form. The plants grow 1 to 2 m high from a short subterranean rhizome and bloom from October to December. Individual flowers only last half a day, opening in the morning and fading rapidly in the afternoon heat, but a succession of flowers is produced from a single inflorescence over a two to three week period.
The flowers are rapidly followed by green fruit capsules that mature to brown. The attractive capsules remain on the plants for several months and are ideal for use in dried flower arrangements. Even when not in flower or fruit, the leaves remain attractive throughout the year.
Aristea Capitata likes full sun and an acid, loamy, well-drained soil. It is best planted out into the garden in late autumn or early winter and the clumps don’t ever need lifting or dividing. It is an excellent choice for mixed fynbos gardens and the blue and pink forms make a spectacular show when inter-planted together. The plants are rarely subject to serious pests but the leaves are susceptible to rust when they do not get enough sun.