Indigenous to South Africa, Freylinia tropica has the delightful common name of Honeybell bush, describing the scented flowers exactly.
Evergreen, this large shrub or small tree can grow to a height of up to 2.5 m and is often shaped into a hedge or used as a container plant. Freylinia has a slender, spreading habit and the branches are covered in a smooth, grey bark. The leaves are shiny with a bright green colour.
Flowering takes place throughout the year, but the shrub blooms more profusely during spring. The small flowers have a star shape and mauve to bright blue colours. A white flowering form is also available, but it does not grow as upright as the blue form. The flowers have an attractive, sweet smell and will attract insects and butterflies to the garden.
Originally found in Gauteng and Limpopo, this is a hardy plant that can withstand cold conditions and is fairly drought hardy. However, young plants should be protected from very cold conditions and it must be remembered that flowering could be affected by inadequate watering. Freylinia can be planted in full sun or semi-shade and has a fast growth rate. It takes very well to pruning and can be shaped by regular trimming, when young, to encourage more bushy growth.
Freylinia tropica is a decorative plant that acts as an excellent hedge and screening plant. In addition, it is a good topiary specimen and will flourish in a container.