There are over 9 000 species of fynbos, leaving gardeners spoilt for choice. These shrub-like plants are hardy and drought-tolerant and, although endemic to the Cape, can be grown in other parts of the country too. In winter-rainfall areas, it’s best to establish fynbosplants during the cooler, wetter autumn and early winter months to prepare them for the dry summer. In summer-rainfall areas, it’s best to plant them in early spring when periods of frost have passed, but the weather is still cool. Here are a few tips to help you grow these indigenous beauties and make them the focus of your garden this season:
Fynbos enjoy full sun and won’t grow well in damp or humid areas.
While fynbos plants are fairly drought-tolerant, they need to be well-established before they can tolerate long, dry periods.
Take care to keep the soil of just-planted fynbos plants moist, but not waterlogged, by watering 2-3 times a week. Once the plants are established, watering can be reduced to once a week.
The good news for busy gardeners is that fynbos has adapted its root systems to thrive in relatively nutrient-poor soil.
Ensure the soil has good drainage.
Chemical fertilisers containing phosphorus will damage your fynbos plants, so feed it with a slow release, organic fertiliser.
Potassium and phosphorus hinders the growth of fynbos plants, so avoid feeding them with mushroom compost, bonemeal or any kind of manure.
If your garden has slightly acidic soil (a pH of 5 to 6 is ideal) that drains well, you can plant most varieties in your fynbos garden.
Mulch around the plants with straw, bark or leaves to keep the soil cool and to discourage weeds from taking over.
Once your fynbosgarden is well-established, prune every year after it has completed flowering.
If you’re planting a fynbos plant from a pot into the ground, avoid disturbing its roots as their root systems are sensitive.