Lots of people love gardening and most of them love to put the plants that could add the beauty of the garden. Polygala Fruticosa or Sweet Pea Shrub is one of the plants that are well known to be used in the garden. Here is all the information that you need to know about this plant, from its history to how to plant and grow it and its common growing problem.
Polygala Fruticosa, a Native Plant of South Africa
Polygala Fruticosa is a native plant from South Africa. People could find this plant on the mountain slopes and coastal hills in South Africa areas such as southern Capet, Karoo and KwaZulu-Natal. This plant is the member of the family Polygalaceae which has around 950 species around the world. the genus Polygala usually could be found in the warn regions for example in Africa and Madagascar.
The name Polygala came from the classical Greek, Polys means much and gala means milk. This plant was named polygala since people believed that these plants could help to enhance the milk production in cows or bulls in the old days. Fruticosa is derived from a Latin word which means bushy or shrubby due to the shape of the plant.
Polygala Fruticosa or is also known as “Southern Shores” butterfly bush, Sweet Pea Shrub or Heart-Leaf Polygala is well known as the plants to be put in the homegrown garden. These plants are usually grown on the coastal hills that close to the sea. The plants could tolerate the splash of the salt water from the sea.
This plant characteristic is very unique. The form of this plant is a rounded shrub and usually will have a height, around 1 meter to 2 meters tall.
It has blue-green leaves with the heart shape and well known with its stunning deep purple flowers. Even though you will see the flowers bloom throughout the year, but the peak season of the flowers will be from spring to early summer.
At the first glance, Polygala Fruticosa is similar with the pea and legume family. But when we take a closer look, we could see that the flower of polygala fruticose doesn’t have large petals just like the pea flowers usually have.
Also, we could see the difference of this species with the pea flowers from the brush-like tuft on the lower, keel-like petal and it also doesn’t produce the leguminous fruits like the pea and legume family.
The purple flowers will be bloomed at the tips of its branches. Since the flowers produce the nectars, bees are attracted with the flowers and being the main pollinators for the plants. The seeds of the flowers are enclosed in a flattened capsule which has papery textures.
Distribution and Natural Habitat
Polygala Fruticosa is usually grown on the slopes of the mountain as well the hills near the coast or sea. This plant grows better in fast-draining soils that contain well-decomposed fertilizer even though it could tolerate various soils character and texture such as acid, alkaline, sandy or clay.
How to Plant and Grow It
This plant needs partial to full sun exposure to grow and during the first growing season, you will need watering it regularly so the root system will be established extensively.
After the root system is established, you could reduce the schedule of watering to be occasionally since this plant doesn’t need too much water. You could give the fertilizer to this plant in the early of spring. It is not difficult to take care of this plant if you follow the guidelines.
This plant is well known in the gardening thanks to its stunning flowers and unique heart-shaped leaves. People commonly plant Polygala Fruticosa under windows or as the small gate on the entrance of the house or the porch.
There are no particular disease problems that could occur to this plant. Since this plant needs only water occasionally, make sure that you don’t water it too much.
Poor draining soils could make the root kept wet and could cause the root rot, this could change the plant colour into brown and you will need to prune all the dead stems and branches. This technique could encourage the new growth of the stems and branches to replace the dead one.