Wa­ter­wise win­ner

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Leono­tis leonu­rus, a mem­ber of the mint fam­ily, is drought­tol­er­ant and frost-hardy once es­tab­lished. Its ev­ery­day name, wild dagga, orig­i­nates from the Khoikhoi who smoked the dried leaves, but the plant is not re­lated to cannabis.

This shrub grows to 3m in height, with herb-scented leaves that are rough on the up­per sur­face and vel­vety on the lower sur­face. Clus­ters of tubu­lar orange to orange-red flow­ers grow in tiered whorls at in­ter­vals along the square stems. There is a white-flow­ered form, as well as cream- and apri­cot-coloured hy­brids. Leono­tis leonu­rus is a must in a wildlife gar­den where the nec­tar-rich flow­ers at­tract sun­birds, bees and but­ter­flies.

Grow this up­right shrub in full sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil and cut it back at the end of win­ter to en­cour­age new growth.

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