Ruby Saltbush - Enchylaena tomentosa - Care Guide
Enchylaena tomentosa! More commonly going by the name Ruby Saltbush, it grows in a range of habitats throughout Australia. You'll often find this small shrub occurring through most semi-arid areas, on a variety of land and soil types such as sand plains, hill slopes, creek lines, sand dunes and salt lake shores. All year round this native produces delicious yellow and red coloured edible berries.
These little edible berries generally have a crisp, salty-sweet flavour. You can eat them raw on their own, straight from the shrub but as they’re rich in oxalates, they should be cooked before eating, or consumed sparingly.
You can expect this spectacular native to blossom with its fruits and flowers year round.
Once the fruits have turned a ruby or yellow colour, that's when they're ready for harvest. Waiting until this stage will guarantee the most flavour!
|Size Plant:||Seedling pot, min 20 cm tall|
|Drought Tolerance:||Drought Tolerant|
Dry, Well-drained, Moist moderate drainage
|Pots:||Does well in pots|
|Feeding:||Feed a high-quality native plant food every 6 months.|
For best results, plant your Ruby Saltbush in dry, well-drained to moist with moderate drainage soil and place your plant in full sun. You can also grow in part shade for reasonable results. This dense, succulent can attain a height of up to 1m. It's the perfect succulent to use as a ground cover in your garden.
Ruby Saltbush is an exceptionally hardy species and is able to tolerate heavy frost. If you live in a cooler climate like Melbourne keeping your plant well protected is super important, however this species will be able to handle the frosty conditions.
This lovely species does well in full sun but it can thrive in part sun but with lower fruiting amounts.
Watering & Drought Tolerance
Water your Ruby Saltbush regularly when first planted. Once established, it is highly tolerant of hot, dry periods and can survive with little water. In fact, it can be quite sensitive to over watering, so you'll want to be wary of this. As mentioned, Ruby Saltbush is an exceptionally hardy species and is able to tolerate hot and dry conditions.
Fertilising your Ruby Saltbush
Being a plant that generates large volumes of fruit, it's important to ensure continued fruiting that you feed well. We recommend feeding your plant every spring and autumn with a complete organic-based fertiliser formulated for native plants.
Harvesting should be done when the fruits have turned a ruby or yellow colour, that's when they're ready for harvest. Waiting until this stage will guarantee the most flavour!
Growing Ruby Saltbush in pots
Ruby Saltbush does well in pots. Be sure to keep it in a sunny spot on a balcony or backyard. Use a high-quality potting mix without fillers or additives and add your own plant food for the highest success.