Diosmas are a very hardy plant that can provide a stunning feature in any garden and which also seem to tolerate climate extremes very well. Diosma is the common name for the Coleonema Pulchrum plant. Diosmas are not often talked about but I believe the diosma plant was very fashionable in the 1980’s. However, in recent years it has lost its appeal somewhat.
I am surprised that the diosma plant is not used more often because it is an evergreen shrub that provides colour and texture to the garden all year round. It also provides a gorgeous display of small white or pink flowers in spring. In particular the golden diosma (Coleonema Pulchrum Aurea) provides wonderful colour all year round with its yellow/green foliage.
I have a garden that is mainly made up of gravel and clay but the diosmas still seem to flourish. They tolerate very hot conditions in summer and are also frost tolerant in winter. I garden in a temperate region of Australia where winter temperatures can drop to -4°C and in summer temperatures can reach 40°C. While my garden already contained many diosma plants when I moved here most are still performing well despite being subjected to a 10 year drought not so long ago.
One tip that I want to share is that older diosma plants that look like they are starting to fade can be revived with a severe pruning. After the recent drought some of the diosma plants in my garden were looking very poor. Many of the branches were dying back and they looked as if they would soon die and need replacing. I decided that if they were going to die anyway I would try and revive them by cutting them back hard and hope for new growth to appear. I cut them back so hard that they actually looked just like a clump of sticks for some time!
I did this in autumn and was pleasantly surprised that by spring they were sprouting lots of new growth and they have just continued to thrive since then. That was a couple of years ago now and I am pleased to say that the diosma, while shorter than before, are almost as bushy as they were before the drought.
There is not a lot of information available online about diosma plants but the following links provide some basic information including propagation from semi-hardwood cuttings:
Diosmas are such lovely plants that are very easy to care for while still providing colour and texture to the garden. I hope when you are buying new plants for your garden that you consider getting a diosma plant.