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A picture of a African Hemp

African Hemp

Sparrmannia africana

Also known as

House Lime, Cape Stock Rose, Cape Hollyhock, Wild Stock Rose

Sparrmannia4 by Martin Bahmann (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Full Shade
Easy care
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








10 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of African Hemp

A photo of African Hemp
A photo of African Hemp
A photo of African Hemp
A photo of African Hemp

African Hemp Overview

This species is an evergreen tree or shrub that originates from Africa, also known as African hemp and house lime. Sparrmannia africana brings a lush, leafy look to the garden, and is ideal for shade gardens, shady courtyards, the south side of the house that does not see much sun, or use it to screen a shady boundary wall. This plant produces showy white flowers which measure approximately 3.5cm in width and have colourful red and yellow stamens. Also grown for their oval-shaped, lobed, rough, evergreen foliage. They prefer a sheltered position in full sun with winter protection as they will not survive frosts. It is fast growing, and a useful plant to fill an empty space, fast. Prune to shape. If left unpruned it can become leggy. Prune back hard once a year, in spring, to encourage a dense, bushy habit.

Common problems with African Hemp

Susceptible to fungi on the leaves, place in a well ventilated position, because free air circulation reduces attacks by fungi on the leaves.

    How to harvest African Hemp

    Generally not harvested.

    How to propagate African Hemp


    Take semi-hardwood or hardwood cuttings in spring or summer, remove at least a third of the leaves and treat with a suitable rooting hormone. Mist sparingly as the leaves don't like too much water.


    Sparrmannia africana is easy to propagate from seed or cuttings. Sow seed in spring or early summer, use a general mix suitable for seedlings and keep warm and moist. Germination takes 14-20 days.

    Special features of African Hemp

    Attracts useful insects

    Attracts bees.

    Pot plant

    Sparrmannia africana does well in pots, water well in summer. Feed generously or repot every year.

    Indoor plant

    Can be grown indoors where it needs a well ventilated position in bright light but not direct sun.

    Wind break

    Hedge plant

    Attractive flowers

    Flowers are white with a mass of yellow and red-purple stamens in the centre

    Other uses of African Hemp

    The timber is soft and spongy and of little value, but the plant yields a good fiber. Some people report minor skin irritation when handling the hairy leaves.

    Other uses

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