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At last Makhaya Bella flowers

In February I wrote a post about a large shrub I have in my garden called Makhaya Bella. A South African native, according to this plant occurs nowhere else in the world except in Southern Africa.

I’ve had the shrub for just over two years now. Its grown fabulously well in a rather dark corner (they like shade). I’ve nursed it from a tiny plant to a dense shrub that reaches about 2.5 metres high and almost 2 across, but it has never produced a single bloom (which it is supposed to). Then I read somewhere recently that Makhaya Bella will only flower in its third year and here we are, her third spring season and she has hundreds of buds and two blooms open right now. I’m thrilled! The individual flowers are not overly impressive but I can imagine once the shrub is covered in blooms it should look fabulous.

Right now very few of the flowers are open but you can see on the photographs that there are plenty more to come. I’m looking forward to them all being open. You’ll also see on the photos that the bugs seem to like it – I’m happy they do. The shrub lives at the back of a bed which is filled with Camellias and Star Jasmine and I’d rather they eat the Makhaya Bella and leave the Camellias alone. Its at the back of the bed and the shrub is so dense that you really don’t notice a few bug eaten leaves unless you get up really close. I’m glad they choose to eat the Makhaya Bella.

One thing I’ve noticed is that this shrub is always full of wasps. If I work near the plant they fly upwards or away. I also found out that the beautiful Blue Pansy butterfly caterpillars (Precis oenone oenone) feed on this shrub. I don’t recall seeing the butterflies in my garden, maybe this is the year! I’ve sure seen the caterpillars though 🙂

Makhaya Bella Flowers and Buds

[one_half]Makhaya Bella flower at long lastMakhaya Bella flowers at long last[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Makhaya Bella full of budsMakhaya Bella full of buds[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Close up of the leavesClose up of the leaves[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Blooming Makhaya BellaMakhaya Bella flowers[/one_half_last]

Any nice surprises in your garden?
Happy Gardening

By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

5 replies on “At last Makhaya Bella flowers”

I am a garden designer and landscaper in Durban, South Africa. And you have taught me something today! I had no idea why I was not having any luck with flowers on my own Mackaya Bell, or those of my clients. Now I am excited that in only three years they will be blooming! Thank you for this information.

Oh wow! We, the new gardeners are always getting new surprises and patience is a growing virtue too 🙂 How gorgeous this will be when its in full bloom.

The Makhaya looks a little like my Duranta the way the flowers grow. And the Duranta is always filled with bees and wasps too. But I would not be so happy if the caterpillars munched on it.

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