Stoebe plumosa – The Perfect Garden Plant

Stoebe plumosa – The Perfect Garden Plant

Stoebe plumosa – the perfect garden plant for all seasons

Growing up, we had a lot of respect for the Stoebe plumosa plants in our garden on our farm, because of its common name, slangbos. Fortunately, however contradictory to what we believed, there weren’t any snakes in the bushes.

Where will we find these plants?

Stoebe plumosa is indigenous to South Africa and occurs naturally in the Western Cape on rocky flats and slopes. The foliage is famous in the florist industry (especially around Christmas time) and provides attractive, long-lasting colour for the vase, straight out the garden. The foliage can be used fresh or dried, and combined with other fynbos it makes beautiful indigenous flower arrangements. Traditionally it is used as a remedy for stomach ache, intestinal worms and heart problems.

Stoebe plumosa

How to identify these beauties?

Stoebe plumosa has a striking colour, and provides an interesting and long-lasting contrast in the garden.  This sprawling, softly woody shrub grows up to 1 metre in height, its leaves are minute and granular in appearance and form tufts on the main stem or short shoots. The grey-silver foliage appears woolly and soft. The light colour reflects the sunlight, which reduces water loss. The plant is well adapted to survive the dry summers of the Western Cape. Spike-like inflorescence in golden brown or purplish appears at the end of the longest stems in late autumn to early winter. It is an aromatic plant that yields a volatile oil and is seldom eaten by stock in the wild.

The perfect bedding plant

Plant in full sun, well-drained soil enriched with compost, and keep it neat by pruning in early spring. Plant with fynbos and small shrubs with similar requirements, as Stoebe plumosa/Slangbos is truly drought resistant and low maintenance. For best effect, plant in groups. By providing woolly foliage for nesting, it attracts birds to the garden and a variety of insects. The outdoor enthusiast will testify that the plant makes excellent bedding material!

Slangbos is indeed a beautiful addition to any garden and particularly a truly ornamental plant that is very hardy.

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