Streptosolen jamesonii

Streptosolen jamesonii

Simple, dainty tangerine and yellow trumpets adorn the orange browallia or marmalade bush (Streptosolen jamesonii, ht 1.5-2 m) from South America, a very easy shrub to grow in Sydney. It belongs to the Solanaceae, a plant family which includes many interesting (though often toxic) ornamental plants for our Sydney gardens, such as Brunfelsia, Brugmansia, Nicotiana and Solanum.

Although it is officially a spring-flowering plant, it can have an amazingly long flowering period here, from July until November. The flared-trumpet flowers open yellow and change to clear apricot then a deep orange-red as they mature. A lax, evergreen, frost-tender shrub, it enjoys sun and good soil. It has flexible, arching stems which can be trained against a wall or even up a pillar; or it can be tip-pruned when young to form a dense shrubby shape each year. I tend to cut it back fairly hard after flowering, around the end of November. Old canes can be removed completely at pruning time.

It is pretty with blue flowers nearby: the compact Salvia rubiginosa which is in bloom at the same time is a good partner; it also looks good grown with other hot-coloured flowers of late winter and early spring such as Salvia gesneriiflora 'Tequila' and Lobelia laxiflora. In a neighbour's garden, I have admired the combination of a flowering Strelitzia with the Streptosolen, providing a bold contrast of form.

There is a pure yellow-flowered version of Streptosolen as well as a dwarf cultivar, 'Ginger Meggs' (ht 1 m). Propagate by taking soft-tip cuttings in late spring and summer, or semi-hardwood cuttings in autumn and winter.

Flowers in August, September, October, November.