Old Man Saltbush
Old Man Saltbush leaves may be treated like a leafy vegetable, enjoyed blanched, sautéed, wrapped around meat or fish, used in salads, or for stuffing poultry. Alternatively, they may be dried and used as a herb or sprinkle.
Harvest Saltbush leaves by simply plucking or cutting, taking only as much as you need. The plant may be left to grow, ensuring a year-round supply.
Though Saltbush tolerates drought, salinity and sandy soil in the wild, young plants will struggle to establish in conditions that are too dry and barren. Choose a rich and loamy, but free-draining soil, and water well in the weeks after first planting. Saltbush is suitable for full sun and part shade, but protect from hard frosts. Leaves are grey-green, small (2-3cm) and irregularly shaped, but will grow larger and more vegetable-like in hothouse conditions.
This plant is a woody shrub that can reach up to 3m in height. It may be grown in the ground or kept smaller in pots, if harvested frequently. With regular pruning, it makes a great gap filler or edible hedge.
Old Man Saltbush grows mostly during the warmer season. Plant growth slows noticeably below temperatures of 10°C, but should pick up again in Spring and Summer. To maintain growth rate throughout the year, move your plant into a heated greenhouse or a sunny spot in the home.
When should I fertilise my Old Man Saltbush, and what should I use?
Apply a slow release fertiliser at the start of Spring.
What is eating my Old Man Saltbush leaves?
Known pests attracted to Old Man Saltbush are red-legged earth mite, lucerne flea and scale. These can be treated with blasts from a water hose, or with applications of a natural soap spray. Follow the instructions on the label. Various species of caterpillar may also be found feeding, but this plant usually recovers quickly once the caterpillars mature.