ACAENA New Zealand Burr

A low-growing carpeting perennial, useful for growing in the cracks between paving stones or as ground cover in the rockery. It will succeed in dry or poor soil, but Acaena soon dies out if the ground is waterlogged. The dense mat of evergreen leaves spreads quite rapidly and you must take care that it doesn’t swamp choice miniature plants growing nearby. The flowers are tiny and insignificant, but they are followed by bristly seeds borne in a burr-like head which is showy and colourful in some species.

VARIETIES: The most popular species is A. microphylla – height 2 in., spread 2 ft.

Flowering period: July-September with burrs appearing from August onwards. The leaves are bronzy green and the burrs are deep red. A. buchananii has a similar growth habit, but the leaves are silvery green and the burrs are orange. The most vigorous Acaena is A. novae-zealandiae – attractive and colourful but very invasive.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil – thrives in sun or light shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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