Barleria Species

Barleria Greenii, Wild Bush Petunia

If you have never had the pleasure of seeing the Barleria Greenii in full bloom you are really missing something. It bears masses of large pale pink Petunia-like flowers in summer. The flowers emit a sweet fragrance at night and are moth-pollinated. They also produce copious amounts of nectar – attracting Carpenter Bees to the garden, as well as a myriad other insects that feast on this bounty. These insects in turn attract insect-eating birds and, as it is fairly low-growing, they also provide food for frogs and lizards. The plant is spiny and has bright green leaves. As it only grows from 30 to 80cm tall it is a useful size and can be mass planted for a stunning effect.

Barleria Greenii is a recently described plant and is thus quite rare in cultivation although it is exceptionally easy to grow. It is a very hardy plant that can tolerate quite extreme conditions.

What it Needs

It should be planted in compost-rich soil, preferably in full sun as it will flower better, although it does tolerate partial shade. For a fresh flush of growth in spring and a beautiful display of flowers in summer, prune it back almost to ground level in winter.

Barleria Obtusa, Bush Violet

Barleria Obtusa, the Bush Violet, is a bushy shrub indigenous to South Africa. This fast-growing plant makes a wonderful ground cover, which is often decorated with the colour of butterflies and the other insects attracted to its flowers. It is perfect for potting up if you don’t mind not seeing your pot anymore, as it grows over the edges like a blanket. It enjoys a well-drained soil with plenty of compost and thorough watering in summer.

What it Needs

Plant it in well-composted soil, under trees with a light canopy where it will receive light shade and enough space to scramble happily. Prune back sprawling branches from time to time.

The Gardener