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1/5

Ribbon Bush

Hypoestes aristata

1/5

This rounded shrub has dark green oval leaves and attractive light purplish to pink or white flowers that bloom from Autumn, through Winter until Spring. The flowers attract pollinating insects, which in turn attracts insectivorous birds and the flowers can also be cut for flower arrangements, as they last long in water. In some areas the leaves are eaten like a spinach and crushed leaves are used as a traditional medicine for sore eyes. While Ribbon Bush is a fairly low-maintenance plant, it does need to be pruned back after flowering to keep tidy.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Fruiting time
Spring, Autumn, Winter

Harvesting

The flowers can be harvested by cutting them for cut flowers. The cut flowers last well in water. The leaves can be harvested on a cut-and-come-again basis.

Propagation

Seed
Sow seeds shallowly in Spring. Germination takes 3 weeks.
Cuttings
Water softwood cuttings regularly during the establishing phase, and add a good quality compost.

Special features

Attracts birds
Insectivorous birds, such as Puffback (Dryoscopus cubla), Southern Boubou (Laniarius ferrugineus), barbets, robins, and thrushes are attracted by the plants' pollinators.
Drought resistant
Ribbon bush is fairly drought tolerant but flourishes when watered regularly.
Attracts useful insects
Butterflies and other insects love the nectar-rich flowers.

Geography

Origin
Africa, Eastern Cape through Kwa-Zulu Natal and then inland along the Transvaal, Drakensburg, Soutpansberg, and tropical Africa in the north.
Natural climate
Dry thicket and forest.

Environment

Light
Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Loam
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Half-Hardy

Uses

Medicinal
The crushed leaves can be used as a poultice for sore eyes.
Edible
The leaves are consumed in certain areas as a spinach substitute.
Notes
Decorative garden plant and for cut flowers. Also used in traditional medicine.

Personality

Family
Acanthaceae
Flower colour
Purple with white and dark markings, mauve, pink and white.
Scent
None

Problems

Ribbon Bush is generally not bothered by pests or diseases.

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