The Q&A Archives: Duranta

Question: I recently purchased a shurb called Duranta. I live in S. GA. I need information as to planting and location for this shrub. What type of watering does it need.

Answer: Duranta erecta goes by the common names golden dewdrop, pigeonberry, and skyflower. It is a sprawling, sometimes vinelike tender evergreen shrub or small tree that can get up to 18 ft (5.5 m) tall and just as wide. It usually forms a multi-stemmed clump with branches that droop and trail. The ovate leaves are 1-3 in (2.5-7.6 cm) long and arranged on the stem in pairs opposite each other, or in whorls of three. Some bushes are quite spiny, and some have no spines at all. The showy flowers bloom almost all year long in terminal or lateral clusters (racemes, actually) up to 6 in (15.2 cm) long. The individual flowers are tubular with five petals, light blue to violet or purple, and flare out at the mouth about 0.5 in (1.3 cm) across. The fruit is a spherical yellow drupe about 0.5 in (1.3 cm) in diameter borne in showy hanging bunches.

The cultivar, 'Alba' has white flowers, 'Grandiflora' has larger flowers, about 3/4 in (1.9 cm), and 'Variegata' has variegated leaves.

Duranta is easy to grow and requires little care. It tends to sprawl and will need regular thinning and pruning to keep it under control. It does best in full sun but tolerates partial shade. Duranta needs regular watering as it is only moderately drought tolerant.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. In Zone 8 the shrub dies to ground after hard freezes but resprouts in spring. It typically recovers quickly enough to bloom, but probably not set berries, by the following season's first frost.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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