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Acacia covenyi, Blue Bush

Acacia covenyi is a hardy large shrub/small tree growing 3 to 6 metres with blue/green foliage and heads of ball shaped yellow flowers during August to September. They prefer full sun to dappled shade and well drained soils.  

In my northern Sydney garden, I planted three Acacia covenyi plants about 5 years ago as I love their attractive foliage colour, flowers and hardiness. I have found that one of the plants, the one that receives more sun and a bit more moisture than the others, flowers best. 

My three plants of Acacia covenyi are all now growing well although they were all a bit slow to get going. They are, after all, planted them in thin, dry loam over heavy clay. 

When researching this article, I was a little dismayed to learn that they can grow to 6 metres.  I hope not, as some severe pruning will need to be undertaken when they exceed 4 metres (one is close to that now).

Acacia covenyi grows naturally in the Bendethera to Bega districts in the south coast of NSW and is classified as rare, given its range is less than 100kms and there are less than about 1,000 plants in the population.  

However, this plant is available from nurseries and seed suppliers, so if you are after a hardy, large shrub or maybe small tree that has an attractive contrast of soft greyish foliage and yellow flowers, then this is the plant for you.

It requires little maintenance once established and will tolerate drought and some frost.   

Derivation of the name:  Acacia –from Greek acis, a thorn, is a reference to the thorny stems of the type species. Covenyi is named after Robert 'Bob' George Coveny, a botanical collector at Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

Jeff Howes

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