A good addition to your bird garden

2008-04-23 00:00

Leonotus leonurus, better known as Wild Dagga (no relation to Cannabis sativa, known as Dagga) is a very useful addition to your bird garden. This fast-growing shrub (up to two metres) has long, soft and hairy dull-green leaves and produces beautiful velvety orange flowers in the autumn months. The Wild Dagga is mostly evergreen; however, in the colder areas it will lose its leaves.

The nectar-rich flowers attract butterflies, bees and birds, such as the Black, Olive and Collard Sunbirds. Insects are also attracted to the flowers and insectivorous birds will often visit these plants in search of food.

Wild Dagga species grow naturally in the summer rainfall regions of South Africa, found mostly in open grasslands and rocky areas. Traditionally this shrub is used for many different remedies: to heal colds, flu, coughs, bronchitis, headaches, asthma and high blood pressure. A leaf and root remedy is used to treat snake bites. A flower and leaf treatment is used to treat tapeworm and the earliest dwellers in South Africa chewed and smoked this plant instead of tobacco.

Wild Dagga can be propagated by seed, cuttings or dividing up large clumps. This shrub is relatively easy to grow and not particularly fussy about soil, but it will do best in a compost-rich, well-drained soil.

Plant the Wild Dagga as part of an informal mixed border or in a rockery. Remember to water well in the summer months and prune back in the winter to keep the shrub tidy.

This shrub is very drought and frost resistant. If your garden gets a lot of frost in the winter months, it is best to cut the shrub back completely in the winter. During spring it will quickly send up new shoots.

Because the Wild Dagga grows so easily it is often planted and then left neglected in a corner of the garden. This is when it can become very untidy.

However, with a small amount of attention and pruning, this will form a very attractive garden shrub. A creamy-white flowering form of the Wild Dagga is now available as well.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.