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Hopbush confusion

Posted by gallen none (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 26, 12 at 0:48

Hi all,

I'm a bit confused about the hopbush (on 2 fronts). First, in reading many posts over the last few years, hopbush is frequently recommended for hedge-like applications, usually with the comments that it grows fast and isn't subject to some of the disease problems that occur with oleander. Now I'm beginning to read that it's not such a good choice. Opinions?

Second, I picked up several hopbushes at the DesBot sale last Oct (?) and planted them. They seem to be doing fine. But I also noticed that they are different than what appears to be a more native hopbush. They were sold as Australian and have a larger, wider leaf than ones I have seen in the desert (i.e. Tonto Nat Mon).

What varieties do you have? Is one more successful than the other? Where do you find the more "Az native" variety?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Hopbush confusion

There are a few around here, some change colors, some don't. The purple hopseed bush changes to green depending on the sunlight. The Aussie guy at the Botanical Garden sells a slightly different one, I've seen it in his area at the March sale. If you need help with it you can email them from their site (link is below).

The ones that seem to grow like crazy can typically be found at the big box stores. I picked up a couple at Lowes, the tag says 'Dodonaea viscosa'.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aussie Outback Plant Guy

RE: Hopbush confusion

I really like hopseed too and have grown it in both of my Scottsdale gardens since 2000 and have had zero issues. I know dozens of people (in person) here in the Valley with the same experience, so I do think they're a good option. Over the years, I've only seen one post on this forum about trouble with them dying suddenly, but that's definitely something to keep in mind.

I grow Dodonaea viscosa too, same as Sherizona. I think that the truly native type is D. viscosa angustifolia (which means narrow-leaved). The native types you'll see out in the desert certainly usually get less water than garden specimens and that definitely gives them a different look. I love the wild ones at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum east of Phoenix due to their harder look, although they're a bit less effective as a screen than mine which get a little water once or twice a month.

Oh, and like several folks here have mentioned, the green leaf type seems just a bit more vigorous than the purple leaf type. The purple leaf type is green in summer but a sort of bruise-color (LOL) in winter. I accidentally got a couple of purple ones in my hedge of hopseed, and you can't tell in summer but you can in winter. I don't mind too much (just a little, LOL). They did take a couple of years longer than the green ones to get to the desired height. I've had no issues with them in my current, or past garden, and I've seen hundreds of posts on this forum about them thriving, but the one post about them suddenly dying definitely hit my radar, thanks for whoever posted that, by the way (tomato, maybe??).

Take care all,

Here is a link that might be useful: Hopseed bush on AZ Sonora Museum's website

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