Westringia longifolia

Family: Lamiaceae

Westringia longifolia is an open, upright shrub that reaches a height of 2 metres by 1.5 metres.

Leaves are bright green, linear and about three centimetres long. In typical Westringia fashion leaves are held in whorls of three.  Light pruning is appreciated. The singular flowers are mostly white although there is a form with pale blue flowers, which in my opinion (Jeff Howes)  makes for a much more attractive plant when in flower. The flowers are borne prolifically in late winter to early summer (in Sydney), and spring in cooler climates. While the flowers do not attract birds they are attractive to native bees.

In NSW, Westringia longifolia occurs in coastal, tablelands and western slope areas. growing naturally in moist shrub land, creek and river banks of the Georges, Colo and Bargo Rivers. The species is also found in southern Queensland.

In the garden

Westringia longifolia is one of the best white-flowered native shrubs and could be grown in the foreground of garden beds.

Westringia longifolia grows and flowers best in full sun and well-drained soil. They grow well in dappled light but are not as prolific in flower. They are also a good hedge plant as they will take some pruning, but not too severe as they do not always shoot from old wood.

I have found these are a slender shrub that is quick growing, tough, long living (around 20 years in my garden in Sydney), drought tolerant and a little frost hardy.

 

Propagation

Cuttings produce roots readily and rapidly.

Other information

Westringia longifolia was first grown in England in the early 1820’s.

For those interested in botanical art, a hand color print of Westringia longifolia appeared in the 1820s London publication, “The Botanical Cabinet” which was a large paper edition of 2000 coloured plates of rare plants introduced into its hothouses and gardens from around the world by Conrad Loddiges (1786–1846). The Loddiges family managed one of the most notable of the eighteenth and nineteenth century plant and seed nurseries in the village of Hackney, north of London that traded in and introduced exotic plants, trees, shrubs, ferns, palms and orchids into European gardens.

Westringia: Johan Peter Westring (1753-1833) a Swedish writer on Lichens and a Physician to the King of Sweden.

 

By Jeff Howes