Dampiera is a genus of 60-70 species, all of which occur only in Australia. They are generally small herbs or shrubs having blue to purple flowers with a yellow centre. Only a few species are seen in cultivation, the most widely available being D.diversifolia, a Western Australian species which has become well established in the nursery trade.
Dampiera purpurea is one of the larger members of the genus. It usually forms a shrub up to a metre high with a suckering habit and hairy stems and foliage. The leaves are a grey-green colour, oval or elliptical in shape and about 20 mm long. The bluish-purple flowers are seen in spring. They are about 20-25mm diameter with a yellow centre.
In cultivation, D.purpurea seems to be hardy in a range of climates. It prefers well drained soils in full sun or partial shade. Once established it will tolerate at least moderate frosts and appears to have few problems with insect pests. The suckering habit of the species is never invasive and it is an excellent plant to fill in bare areas of the garden.
Propagation from seed is unreliable but cuttings taken from the suckering stems usually strike reliably. Because of the hairy stems and foliage, rotting of cuttings can occur if misting is used.
Photo: Brian Walters