Freylinia tropica (Transvaal Honey-bell Bush)
Plant image

Freylinia tropica is a beautiful shrub with slender rather loosely spreading branches. It is fairly fast growing and reaches a height of about 2 metres with a 1 metre spread. It flowers profusely yielding a light mauve to bright blue display.

Name & classification

Botanical name:
Freylinia tropica

Common names:
Transvaal Honey-bell Bush, Blue Freylinia (E)
Inyanga Hedge Plant (Shona)

Plant family:
- Snapdragon and foxglove family

Plant categories:
Shrubs; Non-herbaceous Perennials

Name derivation & history:
This genus was named after Count L. de Freylino, owner of a famous garden at Buttigliera near Marengo, Italy, in the early 19th century.

There are 9 species of Freylinia in South Africa, of which 8 are found in the Cape Province. South African species include F. crispa, F. decurrens, F. densiflora, F. lanceolata, F. tropica, F. undulata, F. visseri and F. vlokii.



Leaf habit:

2 metres

1 metre

Plant shape:
A shrub with slender, upright and rather loosely spreading branches.

Leaf description:
Bright, glossy, green leaves

Flower description:
It flowers profusely yielding a light mauve to bright blue display. A white flowering form is available and is not as upright in its growth form as the blue.

Flower colour:
Normally light mauve to bright blue, but also a white form

Flowering months:
Mainly spring


Natural distribution:
The Blue Freylinia grows naturally in the Northern Province of South Africa and Zimbabwe.

It occurs at a high altitude, in margins of evergreen forest and along streams. Freylinia tropica can also be found growing on exposed misty mountain slopes. Where it occurs, it is frequently a pioneer plant on cleared land.

Water requirements:
- Select -

Frost tolerance:
Hardy only when mature

Light conditions:
Sun; semi-shade

Other Characteristics

Drought resistant
Has non-aggressive roots
Suitable for hedging

Edibility & Toxicity

We have no confirmation that any part of this plant is edible
We have no confirmation that any part of this plant is toxic, however we urge caution as this information may be incorrect.


Attracts insects

Other information

The quickest way of propagating Freylinia tropica is by using cuttings. One may also use seeds as a way of building up genetic variance. Cuttings should be taken during the growing season, unless they are grown in a sophisticated growing structure with artificial heating and a mist bed. For a high percentage of rooting, cuttings should be treated with root stimulating hormones. Root formation can be expected between 10 to 22 days.

Rooted cuttings may be hardened off by exposing them to more light and reducing the supply of water. Strong cuttings can then be planted in nursery planting bags before transplanting into the garden.

Plant Freylinia tropica in sun or semi-shade, with good, well-drained soil and plenty of compost. Freylinia tropica requires a water supply throughout the year, but less in winter. It can withstand cold and frost but young plants must be protected during the first winter. Trimming keeps this plant neat and encourages bushiness.

Freylinia tropica is used often in South African gardens for screening. The plants also do well in containers on the patio. They are highly versatile and decorative shrubs and will work in most garden designs.

South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa.

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