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Hypoestes aristata


Water Needs

ater needs; moderate

Hypoestes aristata
Shrub small
Ribbon Bush

1,2 x 1,2 m


Light Conditions

shade; semi-shade; sun




Mauve; white; purple; autumn; spring

Garden Situation

full sun; afternoon sun; dry shade; slope bank; walls; wildlife butterflies bees insects carpenter bees butterfly host; shrubbery; fast-growing easy-care


woodland forest; coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn; fynbos; urban streets


subtropical east coast; thicket; western cape

Rain Season

Summer; winter

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Beautiful? No question. Common? Many gardeners complain this is so. Exuberant? Well, yes, new plants do tend to pop up all over the garden. But this hardy shrub more than justifies its place in local gardens as the May Day holiday weekend showed to delightful effect. When a few seedlings appeared close together on the lawn a few months ago, before I could decide where to move them, they had grown into full-flowering beauties, and now they are focal points that attract the daily attentions of the gardener as well as butterflies, birds, bees, and beetles. Butterflies jizz from flower to flower, a kaleidoscope of both Green-banded and Citrus Swallowtails, Common and Broad-boarded Grass Yellow, Zebra White, Common African White and African Vagrant, taking their fill while on the wing. Nomia amabilis (no common name; some refer to it as a flower bee, but we call it the Blue-bum bee), honey bees, and carpenter bees, providing an ever-present hum as they collected pollen. Its wildlife attracting ability aside, the Ribbon Bush is a hard worker providing late autumn and winter colour year in and year out. Adapted to grow in shady to partially shady areas, it seems to cope just as well in full sun, though the flowers may not last as long here. It will thrive in both moist and dry soils, and asks for nothing more than the seasonal rainfall, and will survive a short drought. Plant it along the boundary, or in neglected areas to add colour. Be sure to prune your shrubs heavily after flowering to prevent them from becoming too woody at the base. Where to use it in the garden. Use as a low to mid-height foliage in a shrubbery where it will cover the woody stems of Leonotus leonurus, Syncolostemon species, and Pycnostachys urticifolia, for example. Flowering simultaneously, they make beautiful companions for a late autumn to winter show. Other than the necessary end-of-winter prune, the Ribbon Bush is a perfect low shrub for neglected spots in the garden. Plant groups of Hypoestes on banks where they help to bind the soils and require access only once a year to prune. Use as a boundary screen filler, or allow it to propagate with verve along a sunny or lightly shaded verge. Companion shrubs for sun: Thorncroftia longiflora Pycnostachys urticifolia Buddleja glomerata Tinnea barbata Gnidia species Barleria obtusa looks stunning if allowed to scramble among the stems. Low-growing species to front the Ribbon Bush: Kleinia fulgens – despite being a drought-hardy species, Kleinia does enjoy some afternoon shade Gazania rigens Crassula sarmentosa Grasses: In grassland setting, place among the taller species, like Cymbopogon validus. A mouth-watering grouping for shade: Plectranthus hereroensis Setaria megaphylla Barleria albostellata Albuca nelsonii Oplismenus hirtellus can hug the ground beneath all shrubs and bulbs.

Hypoestes aristata
Hypoestes aristata
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