The Coleonema pulchellum is an evergreen shrub of medium size, native to southern Africa. It has a dense and compact development and, with the age, can reach the 150-200 cm of height; the foliage is linear, almost scaly, of small size, of light green colour, very aromatic; the development is densely ramified and the foliage tends to develop in a harmonious way, forming a roundish shrub, like a balloon.
From spring until the first cold autumn, small pink star-shaped flowers blossom between the leaves, delicately perfumed. After flowering, in autumn, it is advisable to shorten the branches by at least one third, in order to maintain a compact shape. Very decorative shrub, it can be used as a single specimen, to create low hedges or even in the rock garden. There are also cultivars with white flower, or with golden foliage.
The plants of Coleonema pulchellum are planted in a sunny or partially shady place; they are rustic and resistant plants and can resist well to the winds, even brackish ones.
They bear without any problems even prolonged frosts, with temperatures close to -5°C; if we plan to cultivate them in an area with very cold winters, we suggest planting the plant in a sheltered place, or in a pot, in order to be able to keep it in a sheltered place during the coldest season.
If the plant is in the ground, when temperatures fall it is possible to intervene with a protection with a cloth and mulch material to protect the root system.
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As far as the water supply is concerned, it is advisable to water regularly from March to autumn, providing water only when the soil is well dry. The shrubs that have been planted for some years can usually tolerate without problems even prolonged periods of drought.
Check that the soil does not allow the formation of water stagnations, which could compromise the health of this variety.
During the flowering period, provide fertilizer for flowering plants, every 15-20 days, dissolved in the water of the watering.
The Coleonema pulchellum plants prefer fresh and very well drained soils, quite fertile; they can show signs of iron chlorosis in soils excessively alkaline or rich in limestone; for this reason it is best to mix every 2-3 years the soil at the foot of the plant with peat, or it is also possible to add appropriate iron-based fertilizers to the soil, even if only once a year.
The soil must be soft and allow proper drainage of the water, to avoid the formation of dangerous stagnation.
The multiplication of this kind of plants takes place by seed, in spring, or by stem cutting in summer, placing the cuttings in a compound prepared with a part of peat, to make the soil softer. Keep in a sheltered place until the correct development of the new shoots.
Coleonema pulchellum: Parasites and diseases
Plants grown in heavy, moist soil or in poorly ventilated areas easily show root rot or signs of botrytis on their foliage. It is advisable to control and eliminate the formation of stagnation and intervene promptly as soon as signs of disease are noticed.