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Aspalathus linearis – Rooibos (seed)


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Aspalathus linearis is a member of the Fabaceae family, small yellow pea type. It is native to South Africa, specifically the western parts of the Western Cape Province where commercial cultivation is still centred.

The leaves and small stems are harvested, cut into small pieces, bruised and fermented before drying. Tea made from Rooibos has many health benefits, being caffeine free with a low tannin content, high mineral content and having antioxidant effects from phenolic compounds. The name Rooibos comes from the Dutch words meaning ‘red bush’, referring to the bright red colour of the tea.

Care and Cultivation of Aspalathus linearis

Seeds of Aspalathus linearis can be sown in spring/summer in full sun, just under the surface of a quality seed raising mix (see below for the mix we use). Plants are kept in greenhouse conditions until winter when they are planted out. They prefer a Mediterranean climate with a winter rainfall between 200 mm and 450 mm per year. This is quite an arid landscape that they are originally from, so keep watering to a minimum if possible and remember their rainfall occurs in winter.

Germination may be increased by pouring just boiled water over the seeds (just like with our native Acacia species) and letting them soak overnight before planting. From treatments we have tried, the hot water treatment worked the best, even the seeds that had not swollen germinated well.

The trick to successfully growing Aspalathus linearis will no doubt be some type of bacterial association, and minimal watering.

Acidic sandy soil in full sun. They prefer a very deep and well drained soil. Pinch out tips to encourage bushy growth.

Our soil blend is high in inorganic material (such as sand, pumice, gravel and perlite) and low in organic materials (such as coco peat, pine bark, compost, etc). Typical ratios are 70-90% inorganics to 30-10% organics. This encourages good root development and sharp, quick drainage.

5 seeds per packet


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