tropica is a beautiful shrub with slender rather loosely spreading
branches. It is fairly fast growing and reaches a height of about
2m with 1m spread. It flowers profusely yielding a light mauve to
bright blue display. A white flowering form is available and is
not as upright in its growth form as the blue. Flowering time for
this stunning shrub is mainly in spring.
This genus was named after Count L. de Freylino, owner of a famous
garden at Buttigliera near Marengo in the early 19th century. There
are 9 species of Freylinia in South Africa, of which 8 are found
in the Cape Province. South African species include F. crispa,
F. decurrens, F. densiflora, F. lanceolata,
F. tropica, F. undulata, F. visseri and F. vlokii.
The blue freylinia grows naturally in the Northern Province of
South Africa and Zimbabwe. It occurs at a high altitude, in margins
of evergreen forest and along streams. Freylinia tropica
can also be found growing on exposed misty mountain slopes. Where
it occurs, it is frequently a pioneer plant on cleared land.
Growing Freylinia tropica
quickest way of propagating Frelinia tropica is by using
cuttings. One may also use seeds as a way of building up genetic
variance. Cuttings should be taken during the growing season, unless
they are grown in a sophisticated growing structure with artificial
heating and a mist bed. For a high percentage of rooting, cuttings
should be treated with root stimulating hormones. Root formation
can be expected between 10 - 22 days. Rooted cuttings may be hardened
off by exposing them to more light and reducing the supply of water.
Strong cuttings can then be planted in nursery planting bags before
transplanting into the garden. Plant Freylinia tropica in
semi-shade, with good; well-drained soil and plenty of compost.
Freylinia tropica requires a water supply throughout the
year, but less in winter. It can withstand cold and frost but young
plants must be protected during the first winter. Trimming keeps
this plant neat and encourages bushiness.
Freylinia tropica is used often in South African gardens
for screening. The plants also do well in containers on the patio.
They are highly versatile and decorative shrubs and will work in
most garden designs.
- Joffe, P.1993. The Gardener's guide to South African Plants.
Tafelberg, Cape Town.
- Coates Palgrave, .K.1983. Trees of Southern Africa. Struik,
Thompson T. Mutshinyalo
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden