Beebrush or whitebrush, Aloysia 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 verbena, Aloysia 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.