1245 Sutera cordataCommon Names: bacopa,ornamental bacopa Family: Scrophulariaceae (snapdragon Family)
Bacopa is an evergreen perennial ground hugger that grows only around 3-6 in (7-15 cm) in height. It quickly colonizes the bare ground however, and the width of an individual plant can be as much as10-20 in (25-50 cm) across. The little dark green leaves are opposite, more or less heart shaped, and only a half to an inch and a half (1-3 cm) across. Top and bottom are hairy and the leaf margins are toothed. The star shaped flowers, borne in the leaf axils, are tubular, expanding to five lobes about an inch (25 mm) across. Tube and lobes are white with a yellow pistil and four yellow stamens coloring the center. The fruit is a capsule with tiny brown seeds.
There are several named selections. ‘Snowflake’ has smaller flowers and ‘Snowstorm’ has larger flowers than the species. ‘Lavender Storm’ and ‘Lavender Showers’ have purple flowers. There are blue and pink cultivars as well.
Sutera cordata is native to the Cape Region of South Africa where it grows in open woodlands, scrub, savanna and in coastal habitats.
Light: Bacopa loves the sun, but it grows well in partial shade. It blooms more profusely in full sun, though. Moisture: Bacopa likes a moderately moist but well drained soil. It tolerates occasional dry soil but cannot be considered “drought tolerant.” When bacopa does get stressed by drought, it simply drops its flowers and buds until conditions improve. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11 . Bacopa is a tender perennial that cannot withstand freezing temperatures. It thrives in the heat of summer. Bacopa is grown as an annual bedding plant in frosty climes. Propagation: Bacopa can be propagated from cuttings and from seeds. Harvest stems that have already rooted where it has spread across the ground.
The low growing bacopa makes a fine ground cover and is suitable for bedding and edging. It spreads rapidly and flowers profusely all spring, summer and fall. As a ground cover, bacopa in full bloom can give the appearance of a snow covered landscape. Where real snow actually happens, bacopa must be replanted each spring. The compact habit and profusion of pretty white flowers make bacopa ideally suited for hanging containers, baskets and window boxes.
Bacopa is apparently salt tolerant and a good choice for coastal landscapes.
The genus Sutera contains some 130 species of annuals, perennials and small shrubs native mainly to South Africa. The congener, Sutera grandiflora (purple glory plant) is a semi-woody subshrub to three feet (1 m) tall with inch (2.5 cm) long slender tubular flowers that are deep purple with white throats.
Don’t confuse this member of the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae) with the genus, Bacopa, which are unrelated aquatic and wetland plants in the plantain family (Plantaginaceae).
Steve Christman 11/4/15