Thursday, October 3, 2013

Prairie Plant Profile #6 - Beebrush

Beebrush or whitebrushAloysia gratissima, is a favorite shrub in my garden. It grow about 10 feet tall and has an arching structure. The deciduous leaves are small and few. This gives bee-brush an open, airy look. 


Beebrush is in the verbena family and has fragrant flower spikes that are about three inches long. It blooms in spurts from spring through fall. The flowers usually follow rain by a few days, however it can be tricked into blooming with a water sprinkler. 


It rained some over the last couple of weekends and now the beebrush are in full bloom. The fragrance of the flowers fills the backyard. The flowers are usually described as smelling like vanilla. I guess that is true, but right now, with so many flowers, the strong scent is bordering on smelling like a bathroom deodorizer. 


I am creating a beebrush thicket in the backyard. Most of the plants are growing in full sun and dry soil, however one plant is slowly being shaded by an oak tree and a volunteer redbud tree. Several internet sources say beebrush is adaptable to shade and poorly drained soil. 


Texas native beebrush is often available at native plant sales. A closely related native to Argentina is sweet almond verbenaAloysia virgata. Almond verbena is becoming more common in the local nursery trade. It is cold tender and dies to the ground in the winter in the Dallas area. From what I understand, almond verbena will quickly sprout from the roots in the spring. Beebrush is Texas tough and does not have any problems with our heat, cold, or drought.


I usually have a few (less than 10) beebrush seedlings that sprout in the garden each spring. The seedlings are pretty easy to remove, transplant or plant in a pot to give away. 


How did beebrush get its name? The flowers attract lots and lots of bees. 

8 comments:

  1. What a coincidence to read this today! I've got the native beebrush on my list--but from your great pictures, I can see that it would be a little too rangy for the spot I had in mind. But it's lovely in your garden. Loved your "bathroom deodorizer" comment. Some of the salvias smell like cat spray to me!

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  2. Darn, I wanted to encourage people to plant beebrush and not discourage them, but having the right plant in the right place is important too. Beebrush does like a little elbow room. Salvias do have a strong scent. I have never made a mental connection to cat spray and I hope your comment does not lead to that connection.

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  3. That is a neat plant ,Michael. Did you aquire it from a plant sale or did you transplant it from the wild or gather seed for your garden? Keep ole Randy in mind for one of those giveaways. maybe I can find something to trade that you might want from my area.

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    1. Well, ole Randy, I have a couple of small beebrush that will need to be removed sometime. Do you ever come to the big city? I have not dug them yet because they will come out of the ground almost bare root since they do not have many fibrous roots. My original plant came from a native plant sale.

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    2. Would take me about 2 hours to get there some fine fall day. PM me with a good time and day. thanks !

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  4. I have the almond verbena, which I love. It does die back in very cold winters, but so far it has always come back. I'm happy to learn about the beebrush. I'm totally hooked on your blog and you've inspired me to create my own wildflower prairie style garden. I think the beebrush would make an excellent addition. I'll look for it at the spring native plant sale.

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    1. Ally, I think beebrush would work well in your garden and it looks like you have plenty of space for one or more. Thanks for the comment about my blog. You have done a nice job with your garden.

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  5. I discovered this bush growing along our fence line this week. I had never noticed it before. Glad to get an identification.

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