Parrot’s Beak (Lotus berthelotii)
The parrot’s Beak Lotus berthelotii is endemic to the beautiful Canary Islands; however these beautiful plants are thought to be almost extinct in the wild. They have now been officially classified as in danger of extinction; and listed in the National Catalogue of Endangered Species. Fortunately this species will survive due to cultivation and they are obtainable in Nurseries and Garden Centres countrywide.
Lotus berthelotii is an evergreen, trailing perennial that has slender branches covered in fine, silvery-grey, needle-like leaves. Its ‘carpet like’ habit makes it the perfect groundcover in a garden.
This Lotus can grow to a height of 20cm and needs to be planted in a sunny spot .It loves a well-drained composted soil, avoid soggy, clogged up soils which can lead to a very unhappy plant and root rot. They are remarkably forgiving plants and will be quiet content to only receive water when the soil is dry!
Lotus is extremely drought and heat tolerant and I have witnessed them personally in a coastal “holiday garden” where they only get annual attention, yet look beautiful.
Parrot’s Beak do not like long periods of rainfall as it can cause their foliage to drop however do not panic if this happens , if they have been planted in a well drained soil the water will soon dissipate and allow the plant to recover and dry out.
During late spring and early summer these Lotus explode in a mat of bright orange/red or yellow flowers amongst their contrasting foliage. These striking, unusual flowers are sickle-shaped with a prominent beak and look very much like a parrot’s beak or lobster’s claws… hence their name. They are supposedly shaped this way to aid pollination by birds.
When the new shoots appear on the plant, pinch out the tips, this will encourage Lotus berthelotii to send out side shoots and make an even thicker silvery carpet. Lotus plants are quiet happy to have a trim when they start looking scraggly.
Look out for:
Lotus berthelotii Orange: Orange flowers
Lotus berthelotii Red Flash: Red flowers
Lotus berthelotii Yellow Flash: Yellow flowers (See image attached)
With its cascading habit, Lotus berthelotii is ideal for window boxes, rockeries and hanging baskets. This tough and hardy plant will bring endless easy gardening pleasure to gardeners and by planting one you are sure to be doing your bit to keep the species alive.
Eastern Cape Stockists:
Floradale Nursery – Port Elizabeth
Floradale Nursery – East London
Red Leaf Nursery – Port Alfred
Builders Express East London
Builders Express – Jeffreys Bay
Builders Express – Newton Park
Builders Express – Queenstown
Builders Express – Uitenhage
Builders Express – Walmer
Builders Express – Walker drive
Builders Warehouse – Port Elizabeth
Free State Stockists:
Alma Kwekery – Welkom
Bruwer Kwekery – Bloemfontein
Builders Warehouse Bloemfontein
Greenside Kwekery – Bloemfontein
Plants@Preller – Bloemfontein
Pretty Garden Tuinsentrum – Bloemfontein
Urth Garden Centre – Bloemfontein
4 Seasons Nursery – Heidelberg
Colourful Splendour – Craighall Park
Garden Pavilion – Brandmullers
Garden Pavilion – Eckards
Garden Pavilion – Sunkist
Lifestyle Home Garden – Randburg
Plant Paradise Garden Centre – Pretoria
Schaffler’s Nursery – Johannesburg
North West Stockists:
Western Cape Stockists:
Starke Ayres Garden Centre – West Coast Village
Stodels – Bellville
Stodels – Constantia
Stodels – Kenilworth
Stodels – Milnerton
Stodels – Somerset West
Builders Express – Knysna
Builders Warehouse – Cape Gate
Builders Warehouse – City
Builders Warehouse – Constantiaberg
Builders Warehouse – Table View
Builders Warehouse – Tygerberg
**Please note that not all stockists will have every plant featured**