Blackwood's

ARISTEA ECKLONII – INDIGENOUS PLANT OF THE MONTH

Blue flowers are always sought after in the garden, they somehow seem to be less abundant than all the other colours. Aristea ecklonii commonly known as blue stars belongs to the iris family and is always a sight to behold during the mornings when the plants are in bloom. Flowers close up in the afternoon. Useful clump-forming perennials for multiple uses in the garden. Natural distribution from Eastern Cape, through KZN and up into East Africa.

Description:
• Form dense clumps of sword-shaped leaves up to 60 cm tall
• Green leaves with a very thin white outer edge arranged in flat fan shapes
• Blue star-shaped flowers on stems above the foliage during spring and summer
• Bloom for 3 to 4 weeks at a time

Cultivation:
• Grow in moist or damp soil in grasslands, on forest margins and stream banks
• Easy to cultivate in a garden environment
• Prune back hard if plants become scraggly
• Can withstand periods of dry weather but need water to form flower buds
• Withstands moderate cold and frost

Garden uses:
• Used for mass plantings as a cover plant in large landscapes
• Good near ponds and water features
• Contrasting foliage effective in the landscape
• Good garden plant for any garden
• Companion plants – indigenous grasses, kniphofia, dierama, dietes