Ochna mossambicensis, or Birdseye Bush, is an evergreen shrub native to Mozambique. The bushy shrub will reach 10 feet (3 m) tall in nature, but its size can be controlled in containers. Leaves are very stiff, obovate to oblanceolate to 9 inches (22.5 cm) long to 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide. They are densely serrulate and rounded at the apex. Bark is light brown and smooth in the younger growth and shallowly furrowed and grayish brown in the older growth. These are interesting plants to grow and make excellent container plants. Plants are hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 10-11.
Blooming: Bright yellow flowers are in open panicles on short lateral branches. Flower petals are ~5/8 inches (1.6 cm) long.
Culture: Ochna mossambicensis need at least 4 hour of direct sun a day and a rich moist soil mix. In the greenhouse we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand or perlite. To this mix we add 14-14-14 Osmocote slow release fertilizer to each 0.01 cu. yards of soil mix. The plants like to be moist at all times and we supplemental fertilize on a weekly basis with a balanced fertilizer. They are fairly fast growing and may need some selective pruning during the year to help with controlling their size. During the winter months in the greenhouse we somewhat restrict the watering, plants are watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. We never let the nighttime temperature fall below 65°F (18.3°C) during the winter months.
Propagation: Ochna mossambicensis are propagated by cutting of half ripened wood in the summer or from seed.
Ochna mossambicensis was featured as Plant of the Week December 26, 2008-January 8, 2009.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.