Acacia covenyi, the Blue Bush, is a tall hardy shrub that grows 3 to 6 metres with blue/green foliage and heads of ball shaped yellow flowers during August to September. In cooler climates, it only grows to about 4 metres.
The phyllodes are blue-green, narrow elliptic, slightly curved and up to 45 millimetres long. There is a gland, on the margin, about two centimetres above the base. The bright yellow flowers are held in globular clusters with five to eight individual blooms in each cluster. There are 5-16 heads in axillary racemes. Spring is said to be the flowering period.
They prefer full sun to dappled shade and well drained soils.
Acacia covenyi grows naturally in the Bendethera to Bega districts in the south coast of NSW and is classified as rare, given its range is less than 100kms and there are less than about 1,000 plants in the population.
Acacia covenyi has proved to be very hardy and free flowering in both cool climate and more temperate gardens. Acacia covenyi, even without the flowers, rates as an attractive foliage plant.
It requires little maintenance once established and will tolerate drought and some frost.
Jeff Howes: In a northern Sydney garden, three Acacia covenyi were planted about 5 years ago due to their attractive foliage colour, flowers and hardiness. I have found that one of the plants, the one that receives more sun and a bit more moisture than the others, flowers best. My three plants of Acacia covenyi are all now growing well although they were all a bit slow to get going. They are, after all, planted them in thin, dry loam over heavy clay.
Warren and Gloria Sheather: In our cold climate garden (Armidale), it blooms usually start to burst in early August. The foliage and flowers make a stunning combination. Light pruning after flowering will keep plants dense and bushy.
This plant is available from nurseries and seed suppliers, so if you are after a hardy, large shrub or maybe small tree that has an attractive contrast of soft greyish foliage and yellow flowers, then this is the plant for you.
Acacia covenyi propagates rapidly and willingly from cuttings.
Jeff: The Blue Bush has proved to be rather promiscuous and will freely hybridise with other wattles. We do not grow the species from seed collected from our plants because the resultant plants have close affinities with A. vestita and A. cultriformis. These two wattles are prominent in our garden. We now rely on cutting propagation to produce pure plants for further planting.
Derivation of the name: Acacia –from Greek acis, a thorn, is a reference to the thorny stems of the type species. Covenyi is named after Robert ‘Bob’ George Coveny, a botanical collector at Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
The type specimen was collected near Bendethera Caves, in 1966.