Shrub small; Succulent
Pale pink; March to May; autumn
sun; rockery gravel gardens; dry soils; sandy soils; container; slope bank; wildlife butterflies; narrow spaces; fast-growing easy-care; clay soils;
grassland; rocky places; coastal kzn; urban streets
highveld; subtropical east coast
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One of the most beautiful shrubs for our water-stressed country, it is, unfortunately now a rare species, possibly, suggests SANBI, because of unique pollinator requirements, that of the long-proboscid fly show proboscis matches the long length of the flower tube. Despite this, Thorncroftia longiflora is easy to grow, long-lasting, and hardy, and thrives where summers are wet and winters dry. This herbaceous shrub has tough semi-succulent shrub characteristics. It forms a slim, branched 80 cm high shrub, splitting off a single stem, but remains slender and works well in mid- to back of the bed. Grey-green leaves are succulent in nature, as is the woody stem. Leaves are 10 – 20 cm long, slightly toothed and covered with short hairs that enable the plant to cope with hot, dry conditions. Fragrant leaves help to repel bugs and reduce the chances of fungal diseases. In autumn, the plant is the centre of attention. Flowers form large, dense spikes; flower tubes are up to 40 cm long, pale pink with dark maroon spots or lines on the lower section of a flared mouth. Flowering continues into winter (March to May). Habitat indicates plants do well in shallow soils and crevices, so should thrive in a sunny rockery. Plants are easy to propagate via soft or hardwood cuttings; I planted a piece broken off by a passing canine by simply inserting it close to another young specimen, and it is growing well 2 years later.