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Native Creeper Handy in Garden

This article was first published on 08 Sep 2011.



If you want a delicate groundcover for a shady spot in your garden you may like to grow a native Jovellana.

A free flowering creeper, J. repens one of two species of Jovellana native to New Zealand. The other species, J. sinclairii, is similar in appearance but forms a small shrub in habit.

Soft, pale green foliage is complemented by small bell shaped flowers that look like little white beanies. They are speckled with purple markings on the inside giving them further appeal.

Jovellana naturally grows in damp forest margins and on shady streamsides and seepages. In your home garden plant Jovellana in a frost free area in full or partial shade. Humus rich soil that won’t dry out is ideal but once established it will withstand dry periods.

In Dunedin Botanic Garden native Jovellana is used as under-plantings in a number of the sub-collection beds of the New Zealand Native Plant Collection. See it in the Divaricating Plants Border – this is across Lovelock Avenue from the Botanic Garden Centre, on the other side of the path from the flaxes.

Known commonly as New Zealand calceolaria, our Jovellana are closely related to the genus Calceolaria. This genus predominantly occurs in South America and has been in cultivation for a long time. South American species of Jovellana and Calceolaria are growing in the South American border of the Geographic Plant Collection.

Shirley Stuart is curator of the New Zealand Native Plant Collection at Dunedin Botanic Garden.