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ShrubsConservatory GreenhouseSynonym

Sutherlandia frutescens

balloon pea

S. frutescens is an evergreen shrub with slender stems bearing pinnate, grey-green leaves with narrowly oblong leaflets, and racemes of bright red, pea-like flowers 3-5cm in length, followed by pink-tinged, bladdery seed capsules to 5cm in length

Other common names
Cape bladder senna
duck plant
Synonyms
Sutherlandia frutescens
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Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
10–20 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Red Green Grey Silver
Summer Red Green Grey Silver
Autumn Green Grey Silver Red Yellow
Winter Green Grey Silver
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

West–facing or South–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H2
Botanical details
Family
Fabaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Name status

Correct

Plant range
S Africa (Cape)

How to grow

Cultivation

Under glass grow in loam-based compost with added sharp sand, in full light. During growth, water moderately, keeping the compost just moist and apply a balanced liquid fertiliser monthly. Water sparingly in winter or during the dormant season. Can be grown outdoors in a frost-free, well-drained, poor to moderately fertile soil in full sun. Dry soils are tolerated

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown at 15°C in spring or strike semi-hardwood cuttings in summer, both with bottom heat

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Patio and container plants
  • Mediterranean climate plants
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Wall side borders
Pruning

Pruning group 8. May require restrictive pruning in late winter when grown under glass

Pests

May be susceptible to earwigs and glasshouse red spider mite

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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