This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum Durable Delights, 30 can’t-fail, easy-care plants well adapted to our region.
Small cape rush
Size: Under 3 feet tall.
Bloom season: Summer and fall.
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
Pruning needs: Little or none; prune back in winter to renew.
Water needs: Once established, water deeply twice a month; cape rush appreciates a little extra water in spring.
Snapshot: Cape rush is an unusual plant from South Africa with evergreen stems and chocolate-colored grasslike flower spikes. Adding movement to the dry garden, it creates a fountain 2 to 3 feet tall that sways in the wind. Small cape rush grows to half the size of standard cape rush ( Chondropetalum elephantinum), which can reach 6 feet tall. This perennial contrasts nicely with silver-leaved plants and colorful flowers. You can see specimens in several locations on the UC Davis campus, such as near the Arboretum’s Gazebo. Small cape rush also is a popular addition to new water-efficient landscaping near the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
• For more on Durable Delights, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.
See photo galleries of the arboretum’s Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars at sacbee.com/home_garden.