Coleonema album – The Cape’s Confetti Bush

Coleonema album – The Cape’s Confetti Bush

Common names: Confetti bush, Aasbossie, Cape May, or Klip buchu

When you hike up Table Mountain in winter or early spring, you will see lots of Coleonema album flowering, and you will smell the sweet-smelling leaves on a hot day. Occurring naturally all over the Cape Peninsula mountains and also in the rest of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape mountains, this shrub is one of the must-have shrubs for your fynbos garden.

Coleonema album forms a dense, much-branched, compact shrub with fine needle-like foliage on slender branches. The leaves are very aromatic. Being from the evergreen Rutaceae family that includes citrus and buchu, essential oils are also extracted.

A hardy plant this confetti bush

Winter rainfall areas are where you will find Coleonema album flourishing. They can also withstand the dry and hot summers. They require full sun for best flowering and need well-drained soil that is well composted.  Mulch roots regularly to retain moisture and to keep roots cool in summer. Although established plants are water-wise and can withstand drought periods, the plant will perform at their best if watered moderately during dry spells.

Small star-shaped white flowers appear in the winter and spring in clusters at the branch tips. Prune lightly in summer after flowering to keep bushes neat. This will also ensure masses of flowers the following flowering season.

The Coleonema album is a beautiful addition to the fynbos garden and a good filler plant for mixed shrub planting. It is also a must-have plant for attracting butterflies and birds to your garden. The shrubs can be pruned into tiny hedges and can be used as a windbreak or a screening plant. It is also a good coastal plant and can withstand strong salty winds. Commercially, the flowers and branches can be used for flower arrangements and as a filler for mixed fynbos flower bunches.

Confetti Bush

The colours of the rainbow

Coleonema pulcellum is the pink flowering confetti bush, and Coleonema Sunset Gold is the compact yellow-leaved with pink flowers that also feature prominently in South African gardens. (Note: Coleonema Sunset Gold yellow leaves burn easily in the Cape’s fierce summer sun, so position them when planting where it will get afternoon shade.)

Coleonema is one of our prettiest indigenous shrubs and really puts up a stunning display at our winters’ end.

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