If you're looking for an ornamental shrub for sunny or shady spots, and attract wildlife to your garden? Look no further than the indigenous plant of the week - Wild Pomegranate (Burchellia bubalina).
A quick look at Wild pomegranate:
Latin name | Burchellia bubalina
Common names | Wild Pomegranate, Wildegranaat
Family | Rubiaceae
The wild pomegranate is a beautiful indigenous evergreen shrub or small tree. The combination of its glossy dark green leaves and clusters of apricot-coloured tubular flowers creates a gorgeous display in gardens, big or small.
The flowers contain copious amounts of sweet nectar that attracts wildlife, especially nectar-feeding birds, to the garden. When in full flush in August to December Burchellia bubalina looks very similar to the true pomegranate, hence the common name - wild pomegranate.
Fun Fact | This genus, Burchellia, only contains one species (monotypic).
Growing wild pomegranate
Burchellia bubalina is suited to both full sun and shade and makes a wonderful container plant. Furthermore, with its non-aggressive root-system it can be planted close to permanent structures such as walls and paving.
It grows in well-composted soil and prefers areas where frost is not too severe and rainfall is high. Plants need to be sheltered from strong, cold winds and in very hot and dry areas, add a thick layer of mulch around the plant to help soil conserve moisture. It will produce flowers in a shady spot, but flowers more profusely when in sunnier areas.
Burchellia bubalina is easily propagated from seed or cuttings.
Wild pomegranate fruits turn brown as they ripen and then become woody, remaining on the tree for many months.
Propagation by seed
Harvest seed in October and sow directly after harvesting. Germination will take place after approximately four to six weeks. Protect young plants from frost. Transplant into loamy soil with small additions of compost.
Propagation by semi-hardwood cuttings
can be taken in autumn or spring. Rooting takes about three to four weeks, after which the plant can be transplanted to containers for hardening off before planting out in the garden,