Diosma was the landscaping perennial of choice during the 80’s. Actually, if you could find a garden that didn’t grow it in that era, you were doing well as everyone seemed to be planting it. Landscaped and non-landscaped gardens alike bore them in abundance.
The attraction to the Diosma was its neat, compact growing style. The 80’s heralded the move away from time-consuming bitsy gardens and began to exhibit a neatness and uniformity that many gardeners had never experienced before.
As if overnight gardens transformed into conifer and palm plantations while flowers and plants requiring maintenance fell by the wayside. It’s not surprising then that the humble Diosma, mostly the golden Diosma, has since lost its appeal.
Getting to Know Diosma
Relegated to the “so-yesterday” pile, Diosmas rarely feature in gardens today. Unfortunately, it’s not because home gardeners have seen the light and turned from their wicked maintenance-free ways, instead it’s just that more plants are available that offer the same, or similar features.
In fact, the plant of choice that has since usurped the Diosma family is Acacia cognata 'Limelight' – don’t expect to see them on the nursery best-seller list in the next decade.
So, the Diosma has a special place in the annals of gardening history. It signifies a paradigm shift away from an era where plants and gardens brimming with life were the objective. Instead, these were all replaced with low-maintenance “keep-it-neat” gardens that never looked awkward.
Is Diosma a Landscaping Relic?
The question you’re now wondering is, “Do Diosmas have a place in the current garden?” Or more to the point, “should they have a place?” Well, I like to forgive and forget and honestly, it wasn’t the plant’s fault.
We, as a society, collectively sold our gardening souls so it should be us that hangs our shameful heads rather than the humble Diosma. I still believe that Diosmas have a place in our gardens but not for the reason they became so popular in the 80’s.
Diosma is a wonderful shrub that sports an abundance of tiny pink or white blooms at the end of winter and through into early spring. But the main factor going in Diosma’s favour is its foliage colour – especially the Golden Diosma.
While most gardeners seek out silver foliage plants to break up the hum-drum greens, Diosma’s golden-lime colour can do exactly the same thing.
How To Grow Diosma in Australia
Growing Diosma is as easy as growing tomatoes – maybe even easier – hence their popularity in bygone eras. Provided the soil is free-draining, they get bundles of sun and water is never too far away the Diosma will flourish with apparent ease.
Fertilising is a task that won’t be suitably missed but if you must, then a liquid fish emulsion once per year is all they need.
How to Propagate Diosma
Propagating a Diosma is a cinch. Take some semi-hardwood cuttings in spring or autumn and grow in containers covered with soft-drink bottles or plastic bags. If you have trouble striking them then apply some rooting hormone and keep them semi-moist.
So, before you pass Diosma as a “yesterday” plant try and consider how it can be used in a modern garden setting. You’ll be surprised with what you come up with.