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A picture of a Bitter Bush

Bitter Bush

Selago canescens

Also known as

Canescent Selago

Selago canescens by Dave U (

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a strong fragrance

More images of Bitter Bush

A photo of Bitter Bush
A photo of Bitter Bush
A photo of Bitter Bush
A photo of Bitter Bush
A photo of Bitter Bush

Bitter Bush Overview

A beautiful, showy addition to any temperate garden, the Bitter bush is a perennial shrub endemic to the Cape area of South Africa, known for blooming early in Spring before most other flowers and also for attracting butterflies. The mass of small purple flowers on long slender branches not only serves ornamental purposes, but the plant is easy to grow and has traditional medicinal applications.

Common problems with Bitter Bush

Generally pest and disease free.

    Bitter Bush Companion Plants

    Selago corymbosa, Scabiosa africana, Vernonia glabra, Polygala fruticosa, Buddleja salviifolia, Pelargonium cucullatum and Geranium multisectum

    How to harvest Bitter Bush

    Whole plant is harvested for traditional medicinal use, more sustainable methods of harvesting is being researched.

    How to propagate Bitter Bush


    Tip cuttings are made from the soft side shoots on the main branches in spring and after flowering.


    Sowing time is in Autumn. Germination time is within a month.

    Special features of Bitter Bush

    Attracts useful insects

    Insects such as butterflies and bees.

    Pot plant

    Makes a good pot plant provided there is good drainage.

    Attracts butterflies

    Attracts bees

    Other uses of Bitter Bush

    An easy to grow garden plant that attracts butterflies and insects.


    Scrophularias | Fynbos

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