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Care of the plant Sutherlandia frutescens or Cancer bush.

Care of the shrub Sutherlandia frutescens or Cancer bush

The genus Sutherlandia, family Fabaceae, includes 6 species of shrubs native to southern Africa. Some species are: Sutherlandia frutescens, Sutherlandia speciosa, Sutherlandia humilis.

Common names: Balloon pea, Cancer bush. This species is native to South Africa.

They are fast-growing (but short-lived) evergreen shrubs that reach 2 meters (6.56 feet) in height. They have odd-pinnate leaves with dark green oval leaflets that contrast with the lighter midrib. The attractive and showy red flowers are shaped like a butterfly. They bloom in spring. They produce edible fruits in the shape of a swollen pod that are very decorative.

They are used in gardens by the sea, in rockery, as isolated specimens, in bushy groups and in pots and planters for patios and terraces.

These easy-to-grow rustic plants that need full sun exposure and high temperatures. They resist frosts down to -8 ºC (17.6 ºF).

The soil must be very well drained; use a garden soil with coarse sand. They can grow in poor, dry soils. They do not resist transplantation well.

Water moderately waiting for the soil to be completely dry; they resist long periods of drought.

They can be pruned in late winter to remove damaged or dry branches.

They are plants very resistant to pests and diseases.

They are propagated from seeds sown in spring in their final location.

Images of the shrub Sutherlandia frutescens or Cancer bush

Sutherlandia frutescens
Sutherlandia frutescens
Sutherlandia frutescens