Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Try Growing: Hibbertias

If you're after a hardy low-maintenance groundcover or climber with colourful flowers, then there will a Hibbertia  - or Guinea Flower - that suits. Several different species grow in the Illawarra region and are relatively easy to find in nurseries. They are all quite hardy, and all have cheery yellow flowers, though these vary in size from species to species

Perhaps the most common is the Climbing Guinea Flower (
Hibbertia scandens), which grows as a dense rambling groundcover or as a climber. It super-tough, growing naturally by the sea, and can cope with dry periods once it's established. 
Just the one small flower coming out on this plant. 
Smaller and more delicate is the Twining Guinea Flower (Hibbertia dentata). It too can be used as either a groundcover or a climber, though it is not dense enough to cover a trellis. It prefers part shade, though will grow in full sun too, where some or all of the leaves may turn a dark purple colour. The reddish newer stems contrast well with the leaves and flowers. 
Twining Guinea Flower doing what it does best: twining!
lllawarra is also home to the Rough Guinea Flower (Hibbertia aspera), Hoary Guinea Flower (Hibbertia obtusifolia) and Hibbertia linearis (which hasn't been graced with a common name as yet). These are less commonly seen but are also attractive. The Rough Guinea Flower grows into a small, fairly dense cushion shape, and is particularly good in rockeries where it will flower for much of the year. 
Late addition: Rough Guinea Flower, with its cheerful yellow flowers.
Hibbertia linearis growing at Mount Kembla. This species
prefers sandy or even sandstone based soils and is
unfortunately quite hard to find in nurseries.  
Wollongong Botanic Garden's GreenPlan Nursery regularly stocks Climbing Guinea Flower, Twining Guinea Flower and Rough Guinea Flower. Only Wollongong City Council ratepayers are able to buy plants at the nursery. 

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