Sutera cordata [SOO-ter-uh kor-DAY-tuh] known as the Bacopa plant [buh-KOH-puh] is an attractive, creeping annual plant hailing from the rainier regions of South Africa and belongs to the family Scrophulariaceae.
The plant is sometimes commonly called Sutera.
Bacopa Plant Care
Size & Growth
Different varieties of Bacopa grow to various heights, most spread readily and are indeterminate (meaning they can spread as far as there is soil to inhabit and room to grow).
Foliage is dark green, and the small (no larger than 1.5” inches across) elongated, heart-shaped green leaves provide a pretty backdrop to the attractive, five-petaled flowers.
Flowering & Fragrance
The cascading or trailing annual Bacopa plant has small, white five-petaled flowers in the springtime and throughout the summer.
There are three different types of the Sutera flowering plant producing white flowers.
- Snowflake grows to be one or 2” inches tall and has very small white flowers.
- Giant Snowflake grows to be 6” – 8” inches tall and has larger flowers.
- Snowstorm is very much like Snowflake, but it is more heat tolerant.
There are some varieties, developed as hybrids, with different flower colors.
They are Snowstorm Pink and Snowstorm Blue.
The blue flowers on the hybrids are so beautiful.
There is another hybrid with white flowers and very attractive green and yellow variegated foliage.
There are also some varieties which produce lavender and even red flowers.
Examples include Blue Showers, Lavender Showers, Lavender Storm, African Sunset and the very cleverly named Bacopa Cabana.
Bacopa blooms from June through October.
Light & Temperature
This plant does best with the part sun in the morning and part shade in the afternoon; however, it can do well in full sun if it is adequately watered.
For easier gardening keep it in partial shade the majority of the time.
The plant may be grown as a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11.
In other areas, it is grown as an annual.
Watering & Feeding
Sutera needs regular watering and should not be allowed to dry out.
Water when the top inch of soil is dry, and provide at least 1” inch of water.
You should be certain the water penetrates through the soil and into the roots, but don’t allow the plant to stand in water.
Feed Bacopa monnieri one time monthly by providing a top dressing of compost.
Alternately, provide a foliar spray consisting of liquid fish emulsion.
Feed this trailing plant a liquid fertilizer once every three weeks during the growing season to promote flowering.
Soil & Transplanting
This plant does best in rich, well-draining soil with a pH level ranging from 5.6 to 6.5.
Grooming & Maintenance
Prune and pinch back Sutera branches to help the plant grow in a dense mat formation.
Be aware if the plant becomes too thick, dead branches will build upon the underside.
These must be cleared away and any dead foliage removed.
It’s a good idea to periodically trim the plant back to 5” – 6” inches to promote fresh, new growth.
If you leave the dead matter in place, poor air circulation will result, and you may have a problem with root and stem rot.
It’s self-cleaning, meaning it doesn’t need deadheading.
How To Propagate Bacopa
It’s easy to propagate Sutera by root division.
The plant has a strong, fibrous, rambling root system.
It may also be sown from seed indoors early in the springtime or outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.
Bacopa Pest or Disease Problems
In ideal conditions, Sutera is not subject to many pest or disease problems.
If the plant is underwatered, it will wither and die.
It is not drought resistant. Drought conditions will cause flower buds to dry up.
It’s important to keep uniformly moist soil for the best blossoming performance.
If the plant is overwatered or left to stand in water, it will develop problems with root rot and stem rot.
Is This Plant Toxic or Poisonous
Sutera cordata is an ornamental plant and should not be considered edible; however, there is no indication it is in any way poisonous to living beings.
Is This Plant Invasive?
Although there is some evidence the plant Bacopa has naturalized in some parts of zones 9-11, there is no indication it has become invasive.
Suggested Bacopa Uses
Bacopa may be used as a groundcover in areas where it is hardy year-round.
Bearing lots of big white flowers, this plant is perfect for container gardens, hanging baskets, and window boxes.
Great companion plants for Bacopa are geraniums and begonias.