A deciduous sprawling shrub with swollen large roots and basal stems bearing semi-succulent medium green heart shaped leaves that often have a bronze or reddish tinge when newly emerging. The flowers buds (the edible caper) begin to appear in late spring and often continue to late summer. The buds open as delicately scented pinkish-white flowers, adorned with long lavender stamens, that open at dawn and close late in the afternoon.
Caper bushes thrive when planted in lean well drained soil in a hot sunny location with it little or no water. Although appreciative of some summer irrigation in well drained soil, a sure way to kill a caper bush is to over water it. Tip growth can be damaged by temperatures in the mid 20's° F but plants are root hardy down to at least 18 °F.
A simple rule of thumb is that the caper bush can be planted where the olive tree grows. As an ornamental plant caper bushes can be an attractive loose groundcover, a specimen small shrub or can be used as an espalier, which presents the flower buds well for picking. The caper bush is salt-tolerant and will flourish along shores within sea-spray zones. As flowers are born on first-year branches, one can cut back plants back annually without sacrificing flowering and have a healthier and bushier plant.
Genus - Capparis
Species - Spinosa
Common name - Caper Bush
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 8 - 11
Height - 3' / 0.30 m
Spread - 6' / 1.80 m
Plant type - Shrub
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acid, neutral, alkaline. Can grow in very alkaline soils
Soil type - Light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay), well drained
Water requirements - Average Water
Bloom season - Summer
Leaf / Flower color - Green / White - pink
1. Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours.
2. Cold/moist stratify for 30 days.
3. Sow on the surface of the soil, cover with clear plastic and keep in bright warm room.
4. Germination can take time, be patient. Keep the soil moist.
Grow on the young plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer.
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