Taking centre-stage

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As a coastal garden must-have, the perennial Pteronia uncinata has great horticultural potential in water-wise and fragrance gardens. It occurs naturally on coastal sands from Malmesbury to Clanwilliam.

This large 300 – 900mm high, rounded bush has hairless, needle-like succulent leaves, sticky flower bracts and deliciously fragrant, honey-scented flowers.

Commonly known as gumbush or strandgombos, it’s a winner for the West Coast’s sandy soil. As a matter of fact, from December to April, it yields a floral extravaganza with loose clusters of button-like yellow flower heads of up to 10×30 mm in size individually. Of note is that the flowers have only disc florets. In other words, they lack ray florets.

Pteronia uncinata belongs to the sunflower family, Asteraceae. It looks stunning when planted with Felicia aethiopica, otherwise known as wild aster or bloubombossie.

Grow it from cuttings made in spring. Root them in a propagation medium consisting of fine bark and polystyrene. Then plant in late autumn to allow the plants to establish themselves before summer. Once planted, be sure to dose them with compost annually – thus enhancing growth and performance.

Ref: pza.sanbi.org; operationwildflower.org.za