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What Is a September Bush?

B. Chisholm
B. Chisholm

The September bush is an evergreen shrub originally from South Africa. Its botanical name is Polygala myrtifolia, and it belongs to the family Polygalaceae. It gets its name from the fact that it flowers most profusely in spring, which is September in the Southern Hemisphere, to which it is indigenous.

The bush may grow up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) high and is densely covered in leaves with a couple of hardy upright stems and more delicate horizontal branches. The leaves resemble those of myrtle, thus the myrtifolia part of its botanical name. They are oval and range in color from light to dark green and may be slightly grey. The dense leaf coverage, and the fact that it is evergreen, makes the September bush highly suitable as a privacy-ensuring hedge.

Woman posing
Woman posing

While the plant flowers throughout the year, its most profuse flowering season is spring. The colloquial Afrikaans name for the September bush is Augustusbossie, which translates to August bush, the flowers often beginning in that region's early spring, August. The flowers slightly resemble sweet peas, which explains the other name by which it goes, the sweet pea bush.

The beautiful flowers are most commonly mauve, but may range from white to deep purple. When in full flower the bushes can be spectacular in their profusion. The flowers consist of two wings and a keel, with a brushy tuft at the keel. The petals are often finely veined in a deep color, and they attract many insects, bees and birds. The fruit of the September bush is a light-brown, small, winged capsule.

The September bush is relatively hardy and can withstand wind and salty sea air. It requires well-drained soil and grows in full sun or semi-shade, although its growth may not be as prolific when not in the sun. It does not require much water and can also be grown in containers. To ensure that the bush is well covered in dense leaves, pruning is necessary.

In general the September bush is highly adaptable and can grow as happily in a windy, coastal habitat as in a drier, inland one. It tends to grow relatively fast, making it ideal for people looking to grow a hedge quickly. Due to its beautiful purple flowers, it can also make a very attractive entrance into any home. With regular maintenance and pruning, its size may be maintained as a smallish shrub, if so desired.

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