Gomphocarpus physocarpus Fur Balls and other such nonsense


Gomphocarpus physocarpus Fur Balls

Gomphocarpus physocarpus Fur Balls

What a nice surprise in my garden this year is a plant called Fur Balls by Thompson and Morgan from their Kew Collection. There is a lovely caterpillar making his home there just now. What kind of butterfly is he going to be? If no one knows, then I’ll look it up. More fun if you tell me.

Gomphocarpus physocarpus Fur Balls

The blooms on my Fur Ball bush are so elegant that it’s a surprise to see this shrub produce wacky lime green fur balls. My header is dedicated to the whole event. I was inspired by this bit of Dr Seuss mentality and created a whole new design. I’ll add fur balls to my sidebar later. These sorts of unusual plants are just down right fun to grow in the garden. This would be a good time to have grandkids.

Gomphocarpus physocarpus Fur Balls

The package says they make a good border plant and grow to 48″. Mine are well over 6 feet tall?? How did that happen. That is a far stretch don’t you think? All I can say is mushroom compost and maybe a new organic soy mix I’m testing for a company here in NC. That Fur Ball plant did have a gang of red aphids camping out on it but after one dose of the soy spray they are gone. I know that soy can directly affect a plants hormones so I wonder if the spray gave my plant the ok to keep growing cause—it’s still growing. Pretty soon there will be fur balls for everyone.

Gomphocarpus physocarpus Fur Balls

The fur balls make an excellent addition to flower arrangements. Wouldn’t they be pretty in an Autumn wedding? I found them easy to grow. I started them in Dixie cups way back in Spring and then transplanted to the garden. They get sun to about 2 o’clock and then shade after that. The soil is well drained but moist. I also grew them in a very dry spot and they did well too.

Gomphocarpus physocarpus Fur Balls

If you google Gomphocarpus physocarpus, you’ll only get one source and that is Thompson and Morgan Seeds. I was trying to find their hardiness zone.  I will be growing these again next year as I doubt they are hardy in my zone 7 garden. The growth habit reminds me of bamboo. Sounds cool rustling in the breeze.

Gomphocarpus physocarpus Fur Balls

Gomphocarpus physocarpus seeds: Fur Balls

1 packet (30 seeds) @ $2.65

Catalog Code: 4230

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Gomphocarpus physocarpus

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Jason says:

    Watch out for the sap. It’s poisonous. The plant is from Africa and is a noxious weed here in Australia, but Monarch caterpillars eat it. I’m looking for info on the best growing conditions for it.


  2. fran says:

    our farmers market sells these as “hairy balls” which is a pretty accurate/ hilarious name…I buy them every year and they last well for a month indoors. The pods will burst -just like their relative the milkweed plant – so you need a high tolerance for fur indoors 🙂
    I’ve not put them in arrangements yet but can see where that would add lots of interest. Send me a picture sometime.


  3. Trish says:

    It’s a monarch caterpillar- ‘Fur balls’ or what we call ‘monkey balls’ are part of the asclepias family.
    Thank you and I’ve learned more about this plant since posting this article. I’m going to do a post on it soon. I’m so glad I planted it cause the Monarchs do love it. I signed up for the Monarch sighting trek. It’s so exciting and they love Fur Balls!


  4. Well ain’t that just neat!!!!!!!!!!! Furr balls….huh!
    And very inexpensive to boot.


  5. cindee says:

    What a fun plant to grow. The name is a riot too! I am still laughing!
    It doesn’t take much to crack me up(-: Thanks for sharing!
    I planted lots of them and kinda glad they didn’t all make it.


  6. What a wonderful plant! I’ve never heard of it before, but perhaps I’ll check it out.
    It’s very funky and seems like something you’d love.


  7. Gail says:

    Pretty neat plant! I saw them at a botanical garden but didn’t think to search the internet for a source…thanks;-) gail
    I found them while browsing the T&M site last Spring. What a fun plant.


  8. Beth says:

    I have to have some fur balls ….they will look great against my fence!
    Thanks for the paint formula!
    They would look especially grand against your fence. You can order them in the Spring. I would say that I would share them but not sure what Kew has to say about that. I’ll check. Can’t you just see a vase of them!

    You are welcome for the paint formula.


  9. Sunita says:

    What a fun plant! I can just imagine little kids being fascinated by it. Heck! I’m fascinated and I’m not small by any stretch of imagination 😛
    If it looks great and sounds great then its definitely a plant to hang on to.
    Do they have any fragrance?
    I don’t think they have a frangrance but then again my nose is stuffed up and allergies are giving me a fit of sneezes. I love these fur balls the plant produces. They look whimsical and I hope they will dry true to color. It’s going to be perfect in my living room.


  10. Jen says:

    Furballs all around! Much prettier than the kind the cats produce.
    I’ve never seen a cat barf up a furball and not interested either. I have a stray cat that hangs around and chases my chimpmunks and voles away. He’s welcome to stay.


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