In this blog, we at Contours Landscapes will discuss the striking Leucospermum. It is more commonly known as the Pincushion or Sugarbush. This fynbos plant, which is part of the Proteaceae family, is in full flower from the end of winter right through spring. What makes the Pincushion spectacular is that during the flowering season, it bursts with big, bright flower heads in fiery yellows, oranges, and reds.
The Remarkable Leucospermum (Pincushion) Flower
Pincushions are known for their distinctive flowers that resemble giant pincushions. Their large round heads feature springy matchstick-like styles that spread widely as the flower opens. Some species, such as the ‘skyrocket,’ unfurl so dramatically that it seems as if the flower is ready to launch into orbit. These flowers grace gardens from August to October and are a magnet for insects. As a result, they attract a diverse range of insectivorous birds. This makes them a popular garden attraction.
Ideal Cut Flowers
Leucospermums are excellent as cut flowers due to their longevity and bold colours. In fact, they will brighten up any room with their fiery display. Additionally, if you prune the long flowering stems for indoor displays, it benefits the plant by improving light penetration and increasing air circulation through the branches.
Resilient and Low-Maintenance
As part of the Proteaceae family, Pincushions are remarkably resilient, withstanding harsh coastal conditions, strong winds, poor sandy soils, full sun, and drought once established. Surprisingly, they don’t require feeding or fertilization. In fact, don’t add compost and bone meal. This will not benefit the plants and may even harm them. To care for them, provide a thick layer of mulch (bark, straw, leaves, or gravel) around the base to suppress weeds and maintain consistent root temperature. However, be cautious to mulch in poorly draining soil, as it may lead to root rot.
Planting and Landscaping
Pincushions can grow quite large, reaching heights of up to 1.5 meters and similar widths. Therefore, it’s advisable to plant them further back in garden beds to prevent overshadowing other plants. They complement other fynbos-type shrubs, creating a textured contrast alongside reed-like restios and stately aloes. For a natural look, you should plant them in a gravel bed or rock garden alongside smaller succulents for a low-maintenance and water-wise garden.
Leucospermum Hybrids for Your Garden
Explore these beautiful Pincushion hybrids to enhance your garden this summer:
- Goldie (Leucospermum cuneiforme variety): Bears brilliant yellow blooms in November and December. This 1m tall shrub grows well in a container.
- High Gold (Leucospermum cordifolium x L. patersonii): Bears bright yellow flowers in September and October. Moreover, with a height of 1.5m, it is ideal for screening or hedging.
- Rigoletto (Leucospermum cordifolium x L. glabrum): In August and September, this 1m tall shrub bears masses of red flowers. It will thrive in a container in a sunny spot.
- Soleil (Leucospermum cordifolium x L. glabrum): This 1.5m tall shrub bears apricot-yellow flowers in August and September. It is ideal for you to use it as a screen or hedge plant.
- Succession (Leucospermum lineare x L. cordifolium): In August and September, this 1.5m tall hybrid bears masses of dark orange-red flowers. It can be grown in a container.
- Tango (Leucospermum lineare x L. glabrum): This 1.5m tall shrub bears bright orange flowers in September and October. It is ideal for screening or hedging.
- Veldfire (Leucospermum glabrum x L. conocarpodendron): Masses of apricot-yellow flowers with red ribbons appear in August and September. This 1m tall shrub has a spread of 1.5m and performs well in a container.
In conclusion, we hope this article helps you to decide which of these stunning plants will be best suited to your garden. Moreover, we trust you will embrace the beauty of Leucospermums in your garden this summer. Happy gardening, everyone!