Alyogyne Huegelii

Alyogyne Huegelii, aka the Native Hibiscus, is a shrub that you see from time to time in nurseries but rarely see in home gardens. I’ve often found this quite surprising though as it’s has so many great things going for it.

Alyogyne Huegelii in Flower

Alyogyne Huegelii in Flower

It grows naturally in sandy and gravelly soils in arid areas of Western Australia. This is obviously is why Alyogyne Huegelii is so drought tolerant. The one that I’ve got growing in my front yard amazed me last summer when we had five consecutive days where the temperature was 45°C. I never water the plants in my front garden as I’ve decided that they have to survive on just rainfall so my Alyogyne Huegelii hadn’t received any water for about a month before we got that hot weather. During those five days every afternoon as it baked in the hot afternoon sun the ends of the branches drooped toward the ground as if the it was about to die. Late in the afternoon though as the sun went behind the house it would then recover and look as good as if it wasn’t ever affected. This went on for five days and each afternoon I wondered if it would survive.

Now about 7 months later it is in full flower and looking a million dollars. The flowers are purple but you can also get one’s that have white flowers as well. The flowers themselves though don’t last very long but it just keeps setting new flowers which are profuse so the flowering season does last for a few months from late winter right throughout spring.

Alyogyne Huegelii Flower

Alyogyne Huegelii Flower

Other things you need to know about Alyogyne Huegelii are that it does require reasonable drainage, it doesn’t like fertilizer with phosphorus and it grows really, really fast. After it flowers it’s best to prune it back fairly hard as it will then set vigorous new branches from old wood that will grow over summer (without much water). This will ensure that your shrub will be more compact and will also reward you with lots and lots of flowers the following season. Pruning will also make it less susceptible to wind damage that can sometimes be a problem as the branches are fairly brittle. So it’s also best to plant it in a sheltered area.

Another interesting thing about my Alyogyne Huegelii was that the trunk actually split about a year ago. As you can see I’ve tied it up and it doesn’t seem to have gotten any worse. It will be interesting to see how it goes long term. The other option for me would be to just cut it back to a stump and then let it regrow.

Alyogyne Huegelii with split trunk. "I doesn't appear to has gotten any worse. So I'll leave it for now."

Alyogyne Huegelii with split trunk. "I doesn't appear to have gotten any worse. So I'll leave it for now."

Alyogyne Huegelii is also fairly easy to strike from cuttings. The plant in my garden was actually propagated by my mother using the propagating method described elsewhere in my blog.

So here you have it Alyogyne Huegelii is very drought tolerant, doesn’t need or like fertiliser as it will grow fast anyway, puts on a spectacular flowering display over spring and is really easy to grow. Just make sure you give it reasonable drainage, prune it after flowering, plant in full sun it possible and keep away from strong winds.

So next time you’re at the garden centre keep an eye out for Alyogyne Huegelii.

Read an Update on how to Prune Alyogyne Huegelii.

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13 Responses to Alyogyne Huegelii

  • Noelle says:

    Hello. We grow this as well in Arizona. The flowers are so striking. Thank you for the great information.

  • Nicolette says:

    Thanks for your article. Mine is in a pot with regular potting mix. In shade 2-3 hours during day, sunny the rest of the time. Fertilised with native fertiliser (before reading your article). Problem is a tendency to get yellow leaves, especially new leaves go yellow.
    Any ideas? Thanks.

  • Rebel Gardener says:

    I’m not a big fan of fertilizing natives that are in the ground but those that are in a pot will benefit from some native fertilizer. The first thing I’d do is check how well the potting mix is draining. Alyogynes don’t like wet feet so make sure you have a potting mix that isn’t soggy. Also when planting plants in pots make sure the size of the pot is the next size larger that one you took it out of. Quite often plants are potted up into pots that are way too large. You’ll find that you may be able to pot many plants up into pots several sizes larger but you’ll also find that you probably won’t get away with it with plants that require good drainage. Generally speakin the worst thing you can do with alot of Aus Natives is water them too much. Quite often when they do look unwell the first reaction of the gardener is to water them some more which just makes it worse.

  • Jenny says:

    I live in Adelaide, where the temperature throughout summer is often in the high 30’s-low 40’s. I have a fairly young plant in a pot with regular potting mix and an initial dose of native fertiliser about 6mths ago when I transplanted it from a smaller pot. It has grown quickly and flowered through spring but now, although growing well, has a lot of yellow leaves that look a little like they might if suffering from red spider but there is no evidence of this. Spraying with pyrethrum had no effect. Despite the yellow leaves, it continues to grow well and appears otherwise ok. I have probably been watering it a bit too much given the weather but after reading this article will discontinue this practice. Any suggestions as to how to eliminate the yellowing?

  • Rebel Gardener says:

    Hi Jenny Mine has a few yellow leaves as well but probably only 1 or 2 % the rest of the leaves are a vibrant green. The first thing I would check is the potting mix. How well does it drain, does it sit in a saucer where the water collects, how much of the pot do the roots occupy, does you think it may be over potted?
    Honestly most problems start for Aust Natives with too much water, bad drainage and too much fertilizer.
    Pot plants will need some Native fertilizer and maybe some Seasol but my bet is your problem might be drainage.
    Also when most people place a plant in a pot they use a large decorative pot of some description to turn it into a feature. Whenever I do this I keep the plant in a smaller plastic pot that is the right size for the rootball and then place this pot inside the larger feature pot. This will ensure better drainage. Please let me know how you go.

  • Charles says:

    I planted a Alyogyne Huegelii last year and am surprised by it’s size this spring. It’s too large now for where I put it and I want to move it further back in the garden. Is there a better time to transplant it? I live in southern California and the summer’s are hot. Would I be smart to wait until fall or just do it now and prune it aggressively? Thanks for any help!

    • Rebel Gardener says:

      You could try it but there are no guarantees any time you transplant any plant that it will be successful. The more preparation you do before hand and selecting favorable weather conditions greatly increase your likelihood of success. Pruning the plant before hand will help if it is large as it will make it easier to lift and shift. I wouldn’t prune it the night before you shift it though. Give some time to recover from being pruned. Alygoynes can also be pruned quite severely as well but how much you decide to prune it though will depend on your judgment.
      If you do decide to precede it may be best to transplant it into a pot/container and keep it in the shade and away from any hot drying wind and then plant it in the ground once it’s recovered in the pot and the weather is not too hot. I’m not sure if you have “Seasol” in California but I’d water it well, at least the night before, with a water and seaweed extract solution and also for a few days after you’ve transplanted it as well.
      So if you do decide to proceed just remember there are no guarantees and there is a chance it you may not be successful. Remember this Alyogyne does grow fairly quickly so if you did transplant it into a pot one option you have is to plant a new one in the new location and then in the Autumn/Fall you could then relocate the one you’ve transplanted into the pot, into another location (if you have one).
      All the best with it all and please feel free to let me know how it goes.

  • Veronika says:

    Hi, My Alyogyne heugelii is doing poorly- its leaves are yellow, it doesn’t appear to be growing and there are no flowers whereas bushes around our area in other gardens, are flowering profusely. We live in Altona by the beach and the soil is fairly sandy. I have just checked the PH and the soil is tending to be more alkaline than acidic. I pruned it quite heavily last year in the hope it would become bushier – can you over prune? Currently it is about a metre high and quite straggly. I would appreciate advice as to whether my plant is saveable or should I start again with a new one and if so, how would l prepare the soil.

    • Rebel Gardener says:

      Alyogyne heugelii should tolerate the alkaline soil ok despite the yellow leaves indicating that it is the most likely culprit. There are two things that Alyogyne heugelii doesn’t like and that’s badly draining soil and ferlilzers with phosphorus. Despite the fact that you have sandy soil (which does often mean good drainage) you may have clay subsoil? I’d dig down near the plant and check to see if the soil is wet under the ground. Fill the hole with water and see if it soaks into the subsoil or not.
      If you have given it fertilizer then this could be the problem. If you have, then treat the plant with Powerfeed as this is high in the nitrogen and low in phosphorus. The nitrogen should counter the effects of the phosphorus. Also I have found the Eremophila Maculata is good at removing phosphorus from the soil as well but the is a longer term option.
      Alyogyne heugelii usually responds quite well to pruning and a healthy shrub should regenerate quite well. I don’t think the way you’ve pruned it has caused your problem.
      Therefore if you know it hasn’t been fertilized then I’d I’d check the drainage. I would say that 90% of problems with Australian Native Plants are cause by the use of fertilizer and planting in badly draining soil (and then over watering).

  • Marie says:

    From HOT Perth! My two alyogyne hybrids ( ‘Delightfully Double ‘) have grown like mad but have very few flowers . The same with my hakeafolia var. “Shelby Ann’ . Any suggestions?

    • admin says:

      These plants usually flower quite well. The things I’ve noticed with Alyogynes is they don’t like fertilser, the need reasonable drainage and they always seem to flower better when pruned after flowering.

      • Anne says:

        I have just found a hakeifolia in a local nursery, Melissa Anne. Hooray! I’ve been hunting for so long for the ‘mystery’ Native Hibiscus my parents grew in the ground in Naracoorte [limestone ridges/sandy soil] in SA so many years ago.
        I came on-line to check it out as the tag says little and my mother, although proud of her magnificently showy plant, did not even seem to know where it had come from, it just arrived in a spot by the rainwater tank and took up residence.. This is 45/50 odd years ago now & finding it was like being transported back – wonderful.
        Glad I read this though before I planted my treasure as I am in the sub tropics of SE Qld and I now think my best option may be a sheltered pot of gritty, sandy loam rather than the spot in the garden I had picked out. Thank you for having the information for me!

        • admin says:

          Thanks for your story Anne. Yes it’s a beautiful plant. It’s more common down south as it’s more suited to drier climates so I can understand the search in QLD. Make sure you place it in an area where the air can circulate. I usually suggest frequent pruning with this plant to keep it compact and bushy to put on it’s best flowering display. In your case it may pay to keep it a little sparse for air circulation though.
          There is another variety of Alyogyne though that comes from the tropics. It has pale pink flowers similar to yours with leaves more like Alyogyne Huegelii. This one might be a better option for you. Best of luck with it.

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