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Care of the plant Crotalaria capensis or Cape rattle pod.

Care of the shrub Crotalaria capensis or Cape rattle pod

The genus Crotalaria, family Fabaceae, includes 700 species of shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants native to Africa and America. Some species are: Crotalaria capensis, Crotalaria agatiflora, Crotalaria saharae, Crotalaria socotrana, Crotalaria laburnifolia, Crotalaria verrucosa, Crotalaria exaltata.

Common names: Cape rattle pod and Cape laburnum. This species is native to South Africa.

They are fast-growing, abundant branching shrubs or trees that reach 5 meters (16.4 feet) in height. The branches are hanging and the leaves, trifoliate in shape, are bright green on the upper side and greenish blue on the underside. The large yellow flowers appear in hanging inflorescences that resemble Laburnum flowers. They can bloom from spring to early fall. The fruits are brown hollow pods that have the peculiarity of blowing in the wind since the seeds are loose inside their capsule.

They are used as isolated specimens, to form hedges and screens or in small bushy groups. They are ideal for coastal gardens because of their resistance to wind.

Crotalaria capensis prefers full sun exposure but can grow in semi-shade. In winter it is better that the temperature does not drop below 4 ºC (39.2 ºF); they resist weak and occasional frosts.

They can be grown in any type of soil but prefer a well-drained soil that contains organic matter.

Water regularly waiting for the soil to be almost dry. They do not withstand prolonged drought.

They appreciate a late winter compost fertilization and a slow release mineral fertilizer in mid spring.

Prune after flowering to remove dry branches.

They are resistant plants to the usual pests and diseases.

They propagate by seeds sown in spring or autumn in a slightly humid sandy substrate; they take 10-15 days to germinate. The new plants can flower with only 2 years of life.

Images of the shrub Crotalaria capensis or Cape rattle pod

Crotalaria capensis
Crotalaria capensis
Crotalaria capensis