A favourite plant in Norway where it copes well with the cold winters Polygala chamaebuxus is a long flowering small shrub that grows equally well in containers, the rock garden or in the border. Also known as the 'Pea Bush' this is really an underrated plant. Evergreen and hardy it is also low to no care and with wonderful yellow and purple flowers will be an attraction for months when in flower.
Under used in the garden Polygala chamaebuxus is a tiny delight, a wonderful low growing evergreen perennial that flowers in early spring, and it is just so vibrant and colourfu when in flower.
Polygala chamaebuxus probably works best in a rock garden or grown as a specimen in a container. This is a slow growing plant that will eventually form a thick mat, reaching only 10 - 15cm in height, over time it will spread slowly by underground rhizomes.
Although excellent plant for the rock garden it is equally at home in the garden border or grown in a container on a patio. Glossy green foliage is attractive and the purple and yellow flowers seem to last from spring through to summer, and in spring they are a bright reminder of warmer weather to come.
Grown widely in cold climates it does have a slight fragrance, also known as shrubby milkwort. Try planting as a low growing border plant to edge a path in front of Rhododendrons or Azaleas. Cultivars such as Polygala chamaebuxus 'kamniski' and 'fairy lights' are also available.
Polygala chamaebuxus Care
A well drained humus rich soil is best, in our climate it grows well in full sun to part shade, to much shade will inhibit flowering, as will dry conditions.
Low growing to around 20cm it is also slow, but will spread to cover around 40cm. Pruning is generally not required, perhaps a trim to shape or to remove any wayward growth.
Similar soil conditions to Azaleas, with a slightly low ph being preferable, protection from hot afternoon sun.
This interesting little alpine plant can easily be propagated from softwood cutting taken in early summer.
Propagation is also from seed or by carefully parting one of the underground rhizomes. Fertilise with a liquid seaweed fertiliser in spring, or maybe try a general purpose slow release fertiliser.
Cultivars include :
- Polygala chamaebuxus 'Rhodoptera'
- Polygala chamaebuxus 'Kamniski'
Polygala chamaebuxus are available for sale from the following nurseries
EDROM NURSERIES - Telephone 018907 71386
Coldingham Eyemouth Berwickshire TD14 5TZ
Shade Loving Plants