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Hypoestes aristata

Family: Acanthaceae (Acanthus family)

Common names: Ribbon Bush (E); uHlonyane, uHlalwane (Z); Seeroogblommetjie (A);

Native to: Southern Africa
Groundcover, Perennial, Shrub
A small, rounded shrub with spikes of two-lipped pink flowers borne in autumn.

Hypoestes aristata

EVERGREEN

FULL SUN

SEMI-SHADE

SEMI FROST HARDY

MEDIUM WATER REQUIREMENTS

MEDIUM GROWER

ATTRACTS INSECTS

FLOWER COLOUR:

AVERAGE SIZE:

1.5m x 1m
FLOWERING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Hypoestes aristata

DESCRIPTION

This herbaceous shrub is fast-growing and produces soft, hairy, dark-green leaves.  The ribbon bush bears spikes of tubular mauve, pink or white flowers flowers.  The flowers have two lips which curl back like a miniature florist’s ribbon (hence the common name).  It starts flowering just before winter when most other plants are past their prime.

NATURAL HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
Forest margins.
WILDLIFE & ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS
Hypoestes is rich in nectar and attracts many butterfly species. It is the host plant to butterflies and at least one moth species. It also attracts other small insects, providing a source of food for insectivorous birds like robins, thrushes and barbets.
WATER REQUIREMENTS
Water moderately in summer but less in winter.
MAINTENANCE
Hypoestes is a hardy and trouble-free plant. It may be pruned back if it becomes untidy.
LANDSCAPING USES
Mass plant it under large trees to form an effective groundcover.
GARDEN THEMES
Bushveld, Country, Forest, Tropical, Woodland
FLOWERS
The flower is dainty, tubular and two-lipped. The colours vary from bright pink, mauve or white but all have darker purple speckles which serve as guides to attract pollinators.
FOLIAGE
FRUIT
The fruit is a small, club-shaped capsule that splits open to release the seeds up to 4m from the parent plant.
BUTTERFLY/MOTH HOST PLANT
Junonia hierta (Yellow Pansy)
Junonia natalica (Brown Pansy)
Junonia oenone (Blue Pansy)
Paralethe dendrophilus (Bush Beauty, Forest Beauty)
PESTS & DISEASES
As the larval host plants for some species of butterfly, there may be periods where the foliage is eaten by caterpillars. No gardener intervention is required as the plant will recover quickly by producing new leaves.
CULTIVATION
The plant regularly self seeds. It is also easily propagated by seed and cuttings.

13 Responses

  1. Hi Bert

    Thanks for contacting us.

    Propagation from cuttings has mixed success depending on the species. It’s also best to try with multiple cuttings to increase your degree of success.

    You could try the following method in spring or early summer:
    – Use a clean pair of secateurs or a sharp knife to cut a 5cm stem cutting from the a sturdy branches. Ensure that the cutting has at least two healthy leaves at the top and a couple of nodes, which are the bumps that new roots will sprout from.
    – Dip the rooting tip of your stem cuttings in a rooting hormome powder (obtainable from a nursery) and plant in a 50:50 mix of topsoil and compost into a container which allows for drainage
    – Water well and place in a warm area with dappled light
    – Keep the medium moist and watch for signs of growth which will indicate that roots have developed.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  2. I have tried to multiply by putting cutting in water without much success. Any tips on what cuttings to take or how to prepare?

  3. Hi Di

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Your plants still need time to settle in but here are a few tips to help boost them:-
    – Apply a generous layer of compost and an organic fertiliser around the root zone without disturbing the soil at the beginning of summer.
    – Maintain a layer of mulch (up to 10cm) around the plants.
    – Water deeply once a week to keep the soil moist but avoid over-watering.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  4. My plants are in semi shade and are only a year old. However the flowers were disappointing. Just a few spikes which didn’t last long and then nothing more. The bushes themselves are very healthy. Any suggestions for next year?
    Di

  5. Hi Cher

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Hypoestes aristata does tend to self-seed very readily. The seed pods explode, spreading the seeds up to 5m from the parent plant. It’s a fascinating and successful method of reproduction which is sometimes not so desirable to the gardener. It is, however, a useful filler for larger gardens where one has space to allow plants to grow freely.

    As it tends to spread quite easily, it results in a fair bit of weeding to remove the unwanted plants. To avoid this, you can cut the plants back immediately after flowering.

    I’m not sure about the edible qualities of the leaves.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  6. How do I remove this plant from my garden ? It is Everywhere!!!! Is it a mission to remove ? I don’t mind it here and there but is is taking over . Is it true that you can eat the leaves as a spinach substitute?

  7. Thank you, Glenice, for this information. We moved into a security complex in Bloemfontein, and this lovely shrub was just there. It is so hardy, such a pleasure to have. I so wanted to know its name and other info about it. You really made my day. Maretha Maartens.

  8. Thanks, Lidia

    That answers the question regarding the “sore-eye flower” which was traditionally used to treat sore eyes. So much wisdom from our forefathers (and mothers!).

    I often find the Afrikaans plant names are so descriptive of the plants characteristics and uses.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  9. In tradisionele geneeskunde word die blare gekneus en op die oë gesit as medisyne vir seer oë – vandaar die naam Seeroogblommetjie!

  10. re: »The Afrikaans plant names are usually very descriptive of the plant’s properties, so perhaps this name was supposed to be “eye-catching” rather than “eyesore”!«

    Thanks, Glenice , for your quick reply to my query.
    I had in the end come to the same conclusion. Firstly about what you say in respect of the descriptive Afrikaans language; and then how you interpret the word – rather like the English saying “a sight for sore eyes!”

    A bunch of ‘Bush Ribbon’ to you!
    Konrad

  11. Hi Konrad

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook and for your observations of this species.

    The Afrikaans plant names are usually very descriptive of the plant’s properties, so perhaps this name was supposed to be “eye-catching” rather than “eyesore”!

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  12. I live in an Old Age Home near Rustenburg.
    A long border of Ribbon Bush graces the blank walled side of my cottage.
    The amazing thing is that during this dry and hot summer the bushes grew to to double the height than they did in previous years. I did have to water them rather often.
    Otherwise I can also confirm that Ribbon Bush does self seed itself readily.

    To conclude I would like to post a question: where does the Afrikaans name ‘Seeroogblommetjie’ come from?
    What hurts the eye? Surely not the sight of such a glorious display!

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