Great Design Plant: Hop Bush
PROFILE TEXT There’s nothing flashy about hop bush – no showy flowers or fall color. What you get is a fast-growing small evergreen tree with no particular pests or other problems. And it’s one of the few plants that grow well in dry shady conditions. Versatile enough to serve as a standalone background shrub, a tall screen, a small –round-topped tree.
Botanical name: Dodonaea viscosa Common name: Hop bush USDA zones: 9-11 Water requirement: Light Sun requirement: Full sun to part shade Mature size: 12-15’ h x 10-12’ spread Tolerances: Tolerant of wide range of soil and light conditions. No particular problems Distinguishing traits: Varieties such as ‘Purpurea” have pronounced purplish foliage, especially in winter and when grown in sun. Narrow leaves give a delicate, wispy look. How to use it: For a patio tree, choose a plant trained with single trunk and rounded top. (On its own, hop bush grows into a bushy, multistemmed shrub.) To create a privacy screen, space plants 6 feet apart, and let lower branches develop; cut side branches back a few inches in spring to maintain bushiness. Before you plant it: Train it into a single-trunk small tree by pruning off side branches from the main trunk, and nip off top to keep rounded shape. You may notice dry brownish seed capsules following tiny flowers; shear them off if you don’t like the look.