Alyogyne Huegelii, aka the Native Hibiscus, is a shrub that you see from time to time in nurseries but rarely see in home gardens. I’ve often found this quite surprising though as it’s has so many great things going for it.
It grows naturally in sandy and gravelly soils in arid areas of Western Australia. This is obviously is why Alyogyne Huegelii is so drought tolerant. The one that I’ve got growing in my front yard amazed me last summer when we had five consecutive days where the temperature was 45°C. I never water the plants in my front garden as I’ve decided that they have to survive on just rainfall so my Alyogyne Huegelii hadn’t received any water for about a month before we got that hot weather. During those five days every afternoon as it baked in the hot afternoon sun the ends of the branches drooped toward the ground as if the it was about to die. Late in the afternoon though as the sun went behind the house it would then recover and look as good as if it wasn’t ever affected. This went on for five days and each afternoon I wondered if it would survive.
Now about 7 months later it is in full flower and looking a million dollars. The flowers are purple but you can also get one’s that have white flowers as well. The flowers themselves though don’t last very long but it just keeps setting new flowers which are profuse so the flowering season does last for a few months from late winter right throughout spring.
Other things you need to know about Alyogyne Huegelii are that it does require reasonable drainage, it doesn’t like fertilizer with phosphorus and it grows really, really fast. After it flowers it’s best to prune it back fairly hard as it will then set vigorous new branches from old wood that will grow over summer (without much water). This will ensure that your shrub will be more compact and will also reward you with lots and lots of flowers the following season. Pruning will also make it less susceptible to wind damage that can sometimes be a problem as the branches are fairly brittle. So it’s also best to plant it in a sheltered area.
Another interesting thing about my Alyogyne Huegelii was that the trunk actually split about a year ago. As you can see I’ve tied it up and it doesn’t seem to have gotten any worse. It will be interesting to see how it goes long term. The other option for me would be to just cut it back to a stump and then let it regrow.
Alyogyne Huegelii is also fairly easy to strike from cuttings. The plant in my garden was actually propagated by my mother using the propagating method described elsewhere in my blog.
So here you have it Alyogyne Huegelii is very drought tolerant, doesn’t need or like fertiliser as it will grow fast anyway, puts on a spectacular flowering display over spring and is really easy to grow. Just make sure you give it reasonable drainage, prune it after flowering, plant in full sun it possible and keep away from strong winds.
So next time you’re at the garden centre keep an eye out for Alyogyne Huegelii.
Read an Update on how to Prune Alyogyne Huegelii.
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