Introduction

Ballota, or Horehound, is a low growing shrub that produces 30-40cm long stems covered in rosettes of small round silver-grey leaves. These are approximately 2cm across and covered with soft hairs. The stems stand up to shipping reasonably well and last a week or so in a vase before starting to deteriorate. The plant is easy to care for with an annual application of a general NPK based fertiliser and a cut back in winter.

Like many of the foliage plants, a market does exist but the end users (florists) are not prepared to pay enough for it to justify the costs of growing, picking, packing and shipping it outside of New Zealand. This means local market sales are about the only option.

Growing Ballota

Propagation: Plants can be grown from seed, cutting or root pieces.
First harvest: Foliage can be cut from year 2 onwards.
Training/Pruning: Cut back the plants in winter.
Soil type: Friable, free draining soils preferred.
Fertilisers: General fertilisers only.
Weed control: Needed during establishment. After that general maintenance weeding only.
Pest/Diseases: Nothing obvious observed so far.
Harvesting: Local market harvests can be done by cutting the stems into 50cm lengths. No experience with export harvesting or packing.
Marketing: Local only prices range from 15-40c per piece.