A plant that is often used in hanging baskets, as a bedding plant, or in containers Bacopa is a gorgeous plant to have in your garden. Native to South Africa this plant has an extended flowering period that will through summer into the autumn.  

What is the botanical name for Bacopa?

Chaenostoma | Sutera


What are the common names for Bacopa?

Bacopa; Trailing phlox; Great Violet, Water Hyssop

Where is Bacopa native to?

South Africa


What does it look like?

Bacopa can be an annual, evergreen perennial, and small shrubs/sub-shrubs. They have small, slightly serrated edge ovate leaves. Bacopa when in flower is covered in lots of tiny flowers for weeks on end.


What colours do they come in?

White, pale mauve or blue.

What growing conditions are best for Bacopa?

Bacopa tends to be grown mainly in containers and hanging baskets. They like to be planted into a free-draining multi-purpose, peat-free compost and placed in full sun or part shade.

Avoid planting in heavy, or waterlogged soil.  Most will not survive a frost and so should be kept under cover over winter.

Bacopa in a hanging basket

How to grow Bacopa

  • Bacopa tend to have a trailing habit with a height of around 10cm and spread of up to 65cm
  • Most flower from mid-summer into the autumn
  • Easy to grow and generally pest and disease-free if given the right conditions
  • If given protection over winter most plants will live for many years

Do pollinators like Bacopa?

There is some evidence that bumblebees and hoverflies may be attracted to the white-flowered forms early in the summer. Other pollinating insects appear to be attracted to the pink and blue forms later in the summer.

Where will Bacopa do best in your garden

Best for hanging baskets, containers and ground cover.


How big will Bacopa get?

Bacopa are low-growing and can scramble for distances of up to around 65cm.

How to plant Bacopa successfully

  • Water when the compost surface is dry
  • Feed with a liquid, balanced fertiliser every two to three weeks for plants in the ground and one to two weeks for plants in containers and hanging baskets
  • Dig up plants grown in borders before first frosts and overwinter in pots in frost-free greenhouse or conservatory.  Plants in containers and hanging baskets should be moved to a frost-free spot under cover

Deadhead regularly to keep plants looking good and this will help replenish flowers.

How to care for Bacopa and keep it look good

Plant outside in early summer once all risk of frost has passed. They need to go into a free-draining, fertile planting mix, with the base of the plant level with the soil.

Bacopa is ideally suited to be planted into a hanging basket due to its long, trailing habit. They will also look good planted at the edge of containers or a raised bed. In this location, the flower-laden stems can trail down unhindered.  Their spreading low-growing habit makes them good for ground cover in an informal flower border.

How to propagate Bacopa

The easiest way to propagate Bacopa is by way of stem cuttings.  Cut stems around 10-15cm long (5”) from healthy-looking, established plants in late spring.

Remove lower leaves and either place them in a jar of water or a pot filled with cutting compost in an indirect light and frost-free environment.  Pot up either method once roots are established.

How to problems can they have?

Bacopa is remarkably trouble-free but can suffer from powdery mildew if not given adequate ventilation, where the leaves develop white spots.  Pick off affected leaves.  Young leaves close to the ground are usually the first to show signs of infection.

Varieties of Bacopa to consider

Sutera grandiflora ‘Snowflake’ is the original Bacopa hailing from South Africa and producing pure white flowers on long, trailing stems from June to October.  Ideal for hanging baskets

Bacopa Megacopa varieties include ‘Blue’, ‘Pink Shine’ and ‘Purple’


When is the best time to buy Bacopa?

Bacopa is available in UK garden centres and nurseries from late spring, to early summer.

Which garden style is best for Bacopa?

Bacopa could be used in a contemporary planting scheme, planted in rows of containers.  They also look good planted on the edge of banks and raised beds or as ground cover in informal planting schemes, and are ideally suited to hanging baskets.

Give your plants the nutrients they need by feeding with the right fertiliser at the right time. Your plants will appreciate it and reward you with flurries of flowers, fantastic foliage, and great harvests.

Find out more about growing Borage at home:

How to grow Borage feature image

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas: