Bacopa (Sutera cordata syn. Chaenostoma cordatum) is a member of the snapdragon family that is native to South Africa. Although it is commonly called Bacopa, this plant should not be confused with the genus of the same name, which are aquatic plants known as water hyssops (Bacopa spp.). Ornamental Bacopa is a fast-growing perennial ground cover sometimes grown in hanging baskets and containers for its cascading effect. Several varieties are available that produce different colored flowers, depending on species or cultivar.
When looking for plants in nurseries and catalogs, expect to find them listed under names other than “Bacopa.” For example, “Sutera” is commonly given as a genus name for these plants, which is also synonymous with “Suteranova.” In addition, the Copia series is now more commonly referred to as “Scopia” and other varieties are labeled as “Mecardonia.”
“Giant Snowflake” (Sutera cordata "Danova906"), also known as “Snowstorm,” is a compact, white-blossomed variety of Bacopa grown as a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 and as an annual in colder regions. Its trailing habit makes it a popular choice for window boxes and hanging baskets and blooms last all summer. “Trailing White” (Sutera cabana “Trailing White”) has similar characteristics and climate requirements but flowers into fall, while “Golden Leaves White” (Bacopa scopia "Golden Leaves White") features yellow-tinged foliage.
Giant purple Bacopa (Bacopa sutera "Copia Great Purple"), a broadleaf perennial in USDA zones 10 and 11, produces fragrant, lilac-colored flowers from spring through summer that attract butterflies. Some of the Gulliver varieties, such as "Gulliver Lavender" (Sutera scopia "Gulliver Lavender"), "Gulliver Lilac" (Sutera scopia "Gulliver Lilac") and "Great Deep Violet" (Sutera scopia "Great Deep Violet") yield flowers of varying shades of purple and are hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11.
"Great Regal Blue" (Bacopa scopia "Great Regal Blue") produces large, deep-blue flowers, while “Great Blue Lake” (Bacopa scopia “Great Blue Lake”), a newer form, features bright blue blossoms. Like other varieties in the Scopia series, these plants are grown as perennials in USDA zones 9 through 11. “Trailing Blue” (Bacopa cabana “Trailing Blue”) has ice-blue flowers and is a perennial trailing plant suitable for USDA zones 9a through 11b.
In addition to flower diversity, certain Bacopa varieties have interesting foliage. "African Sunset" (Sutera scopia "African Sunset"), for example, has reddish flowers with yellow “eyes” and dark leaves, while "Olympic Gold" (Sutera cordata "Olympic Gold") has white flowers and green and yellow variegated leaves. Hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11, they are used as annuals elsewhere.