Landscape Plant of the Month

Hovea acutifolia or Purple Pea Bush

Purple Pea Bush, Hovea acutifolia, is a native Australian shrub that grows between 1 to 4 metres tall in cultivation and is adorned with an abundance of vibrant, dainty purple flowers during winter and spring. The branches are also covered in dense grey to rusty coloured hairs. The leaves are lanceolate in shape and grow to around 70 mm long and 12mm wide. The lovely mauve to purple flowers are produced with the typical characteristic pea flower shape with the lower two wings and keel protruding from the bottom front face of the flower, they are then followed with green pods to 15 mm, which ripen to black and pop audibly when they ‘explode’ (dehisce) to release their seed. H. acutifolia flowers are a favourite for bees and especially for our native bees.

H. acutifolia grows best on the eastern coast, from south-east Queensland to the NSW central coast and grows well here on Bribie Island and surrounding districts, to which they can be found growing naturally around the fringe of the Bibimulya Wetlands and protected bushland areas on the island. Purple pea bush prefers well-drained soil growing in a partial shade situation, so they will thrive in that part-shady area in the home garden. Propagation is by either seed after treatment (scraped to remove protective coating and soaked in cold water until they swell or boiled to soften the skin coating like most of the sclerophyll forest species such as our wattles) They also strike well with semi- hardwood cuttings from the new season’s growth. A beautiful and prolific flowering, Australian native shrub for the local wildlife!

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