Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Kay Runyon
Posted on: November 17, 1998

Could you tell me how big Iboza riparia is likely to get? Both height and spread would be useful.

In its native South Africa, Iboza gets 90 to 180 centimeters tall and by producing shoots from the base will get about 50 to 100 centimeters wide. However we have found that the plant cannot tolerate any frost, so you will have to overwinter it in the house or treat it as an annual in any but a tropical climate. As a potgrown plant the plant will not get as large as when planted in the ground, because the confinement of the roots more or less "bonsais" it!

Also, what growing conditions does it like? How much shade will it tolerate? What about water?

It likes hot sunny summers and cool winters. In a northern greenhouse or house environment it will produce the sturdiest growth in as much sun as you can give it. In the tropics it will probably be perfectly happy in half shade.

Keep the plant slightly moist but never soggy with more water in the spring when the plant is growing quickly.

I seldom fertilize my herbs - does iboza need to be "fed?’ I have clay soil. What does it prefer?

If the soil is rich to start with, iboza won’t need any fertilizer. However after a while the soil nutrients get used up and leached out and then light occasional fertilization will produce a much lusher and attractive plant.

Mix sharp building sand or plenty of perlite and some humus into the clay soil you use for your plants to improve drainage. Plain clay might rot the roots.

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