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Looking for gray? Cushion bush.

Aptly named, cushion bush (Calocephalus brownii) has a rounded shape when fully mature. But the two things you'll notice first about this unthirsty native of Australia and Tasmania are its unusual color and its tiny leaves.

In mild-winter coastal areas, these virtues make cushion bush a valuable addition to flower beds and borders, where its thread-like foliage combines handsomely with blue-flowered and gray-leafed plants. Good companions include similarly drought-tolerant lavender, Mexican bush sage, and blue salvia (Salvia farinacea 'Victoria'), as well as thirstier ageratum, aster, felicia, and society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea).

Planted as a ground cover, cushion bush provides contrast against dark green plants. Cut stems--fresh or dried--last well in arrangements.

Cushion bush eventually grows into a mound 3 feet high and 3 feet in diameter. Because plants are short-lived, you will probably need to replace them every two to three years.

Plant in full sun in fast-draining soil. Once established, cushion bush needs little water. It is tender to cold but thrives near the ocean, where it stands up well to salty winds and sea spray.

At the nursery, plants in 1-gallon cans cost about $3.50.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1985
Words:188
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