Shady Winter Purple: Hovea acutifolia

Hovea acutifolia always takes my breath away when I see it in full bloom, it is quite something. For most of the year it is an almost nondescript medium sized shrub that is useful for filling shady spots in the garden. Then BAM it covers itself in these happy little purple flowers that are almost fluorescent.

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I shouldn’t really refer to it as non-descript, as it has these lovely brown furry stems that are structured to give the shrub a quite unique shape, almost vase like when regularly pruned.

In the image below you can see three layers of planting all pruned to different heights and probably different ages. These specimens were at the Illawarra Grevillea Park, and I would hazard a guess that they have been planted to provide a successional show, as Hovea acutifolia is a short lived plant at between 5 and 7 years. The effect here is going to ensure that there will be Hovea flowering all winter long in this garden bed.

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Hovea acutifolia grows to about 3 metres high and 1.5 metres wide, making it a very useful screening plant in shady areas. It is local to Northern NSW and southern QLD so it is used to humid summers and a heavy down pour will not affect its health. It could be mixed with Correas and Ziera to create a wonderful floral display in the drab winter months in a difficult dark corner of the garden.

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