Blue Freylinia, Waterberg Bell-Bush, Blue Splash, Blue Honey-Bell
Freylinia Tropica with its delicate foliage and light mauve to pretty blue flowers, is a decorative shrub for any landscape, including bushveld gardens. It is well suited to small spaces, container gardens and is a popular choice for hedges.
This delicate shrub is reasonably fast growing and reaches a height of about 2m with a 1m spread. It should be clipped seasonally to encourage bushing, otherwise is will become scraggly. The plant responds particularly well to clipping, producing lush new growth, and can be controlled as a medium-size hedge or clipped into a topiary.
Freylinia Tropica flowers profusely with light mauve to bright blue flowers. Its flowering time is mainly in spring, but it does produce flushes at other times in the year. There is also a white flowering form which is not as upright in its growth as the blue form.
The shrub enjoys semi-shade with good, well-draining soil that has been enriched with compost. It can withstand cold and light frost, but young plants should be protected against the cold in their first few winters.
Distribution and habitat of the Freylinia Tropica
Freylinia Tropica is one of nine species of Freylinia in South Africa, eight of which are found in the Cape.
F. Tropica occurs naturally in the Waterberg mountains in Limpopo Province and in the Chimanimani Mountains in south-east Zimbabwe. It occurs at a high altitude in margins of evergreen forest, on river banks and beside streams. It can be found growing on exposed misty mountain slopes.
Its natural habitat is high above sea level, at the edge of forests, exposed mountain cliffs and along streams.
What Freylinia Tropica need
Light : This plant enjoys sun to light shade, mimicking forest margin conditions. It can grow in full sun but must then be watered well in its growing period. It can withstand cold and light frost, but young plants should be protected against the cold in their first few winters.
Soil: It requires fertile, well-draining soil that has been enriched with compost.
Water: The plant enjoys a high summer rainfall with occasional water in winter. It thrives in misty conditions.
In a nutshell
- A delicate shrub that works well in any garden setting
- Well suited to container gardening
- An ideal plant for clipping into hedges and for topiary
- The pretty flowers attract butterflies such as the Pansy and Brown Veined White. It also attracts other pollinators such as bees, wasps and moths.