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Forest Bell Bush, River Bell
Scientific Name: Mackaya bella Harv.
Synonym: Asystasia bella
Family: Acanthaceae
Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 15-24
USDA: 9b-11

Frost Tolerance: Frost tender, hardy to 25F (-4C) without major damage.

Sun Exposure: Shade to part sun

Origin: South Africa (Eastern Cape, Kwazulu Natal, Swaziland and Northern Province)

Growth Habits: Tree or shrub, 6 feet to 10 feet tall (1.8 m-3 m), up to 5 feet in spread (1.5 m); glossy, dark green, opposite leaves, 4 inches to 5 inches long (10 cm-12.5 cm)

Watering Needs: Moderate water to regular water, prefers acidic soil conditions

Propagation: Semi-hardwood cuttings in spring and autumn, seeds.


The genus Mackaya is named after the botanist James Townsend Mackay, author of Flora Hibernica.

Blooming Habits:
Light blue flowers, up to 2 inches long (5 cm), in early spring to late spring.


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