Plant Description

Strobilanthes anisophylla

Strobilanthes anisophylla foliage

This shrubby plant (ht 1.2m) from India is often called goldfussia and is found in many old gardens. For a while is was reclassified as Strobilanthes persicifolia but is now back to Strobilanthes anisophylla! A member of the broad Acanthaceae family, it thrives in the Sydney climate. Its slim, pointed leaves take on attractive dark purple tints when grown in full sun, which can provide good foliage contrasts with other plants; however, it will also grow and flower in shaded areas of the garden. It copes well with dry conditions.

The mauve, funnel-shaped blooms appear in winter. It can be grown with Camellia or winter-flowering Salvia; also, the pretty lilac blooms of the bulb Tulbaghia simmleri (syn. Tulbaghia fragrans) match the colour of the goldfussia's blooms in winter. The dark-tinged foliage of Plectranthus 'Nico' echoes the hue of the goldfussia's leaves very effectively. Goldfussia should be pruned quite hard after flowering to promote a compact shape. It makes an excellent low hedge. I have seen a variety of the plant with leaves with gold-hued veins, which made for an interesting effect.

Strobilanthes anisophylla may self-seed, especially in damp conditions. The seedlings are easy to pull up.

Of Interest

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Strobilanthes anisophylla
Flowers from June to September.
Plant Family: Acanthaceae