Indigenous Nursery News Blog

Recommended Indigenous Trees for Pools - Part Two

Imagine a peaceful poolside retreat, where indigenous trees effortlessly blend with the landscape, infusing your outdoor oasis with natural charm and distinct character. In this article, our team of indigenous plant experts from Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery will be your trusted guides, unveiling the perfect trees to enhance your poolside paradise.

Recommended Indigenous Trees for Pools - Part Two

Apodytes dimidiata - indigenous trees South Africa

Apodytes dimidiata

White Pear (E); Witpeer (A); umDakane (Z;X)

Hardy, beautifully shaped, evergreen, fairly fast growing tree with glossy, dark green foliage and masses of strongly scented, snow-white flowers that are borne from September to April.

They are followed by very decorative bunches of black berries with a fleshy red ‘cap’ that attract birds to the garden. 

The trunk is white and in older specimens becomes patched with lichen.  This makes a wonderful garden subject.

Can be used as a small avenue tree, as a specimen in a small garden or create a forest effect by planting close together.  

Size: 5 to 15m
(in Gauteng 4 to 7m)

S.A. No. 422

The flower petals are tiny and fragile and will not cause problems.

The leaves are quite leathery and would need to be removed from the pool.


Berchemia zeyheri

Red Ivory (E); Rooi Ivoor (A); umNeyi (Z), umNini (X); Monee (NS); Nybuabe (V)

Hardy, neatly shaped, deciduous tree with attractive grey-green foliage with distinct veins. 

The inconspicuous, yellow-green flowers are borne from September to December.  They are followed by delicious, edible fruit that resemble cherries and attract birds to the garden.

Plant in well-drained soil.  It makes a good container and bonsai plant.

Size: up to 6m

S.A. No. 450

Although it has non-aggressive roots it is quite a big tree and should be kept at least 3 to 4m from the pool. When in fruit all the birds in the area will be attracted to this tree.

Bolusanthus speciosus - indigenous trees South Africa

Bolusanthus speciosus

Tree Wisteria (E); van Wykshout (A); umhohlo (Z)

Hardy, graceful, deciduous to semi-deciduous, drought resistant tree with huge, pendulous bunches of beautiful mauve pea-like flowers in September and October.

Its wonderful weeping shape and attractive glistening foliage make it an ideal avenue tree. Initially it may be a little slow growing but is very worthwhile.

An excellent choice for smaller gardens.  Protect from frost when young.

Size: 4 to 7m : in Gauteng 4 to 5m


A beautiful deciduous tree. This medium sized graceful tree will reward you with gorgeous flowers in the height of the swimming season.

You can lounge under it and watch the coming and goings of the birds and the insects that visit the flowers and let the cares of the world slip away.

Buddleja saligna - indigenous trees South Africa

Buddleja saligna

False Olive (E); Witolienhout (A); umNceba (Z)

Very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, drought resistant tree with silver-grey leaves.  It bears a profusion of sweetly scented, white flowers from August to January

It has an attractive shape and when standardised it makes one of the most attractive trees for a small garden in sun or semi-shade.

This versatile plant also makes a magnificent formal trimmed hedge.  It thrives in even the most inhospitable conditions.  It attracts birds, moths and bees.

Size: 2 to 7m : in Gauteng 2 to 7m

S.A. No. 636

An ideal tree for near swimming pools, it has small flowers and seeds and fairly thinly textured leaves. This tree gives light shade all year round./p>

Calpurnea aurea - indigenous trees South Africa

Calpurnea aurea

Geelkeur (A); Calpurnia (E); muhalika (V); idywadi (X); umkhiphampethu (Z)

Hardy, evergreen, fast growing, graceful shrub or small tree with bunches of pendulous, brilliant yellow, pea-like flowers from November to March, although there are a few flowers throughout the year.

The foliage is bright emerald green.  Pruning back the tips of branches also helps to induce flowering and ensure a compact shape.

This is an ideal tree for small gardens in sun or semi-shade.  It starts flowering at a young age.

Size: up to 4m: in Gauteng 2 to 4m

S.A. No.:636

Calpurnea aurea is another evergreen with thinly textured leaves.  This is particularly good in a small pool-side area.

The pendulous bunches of flowers will grace the tree all summer.  Prune the tips of the branches lightly to encourage a dense crown.

Clerodendrum glabrum - indigenous trees South Africa

Clerodendrum glabrum

Smooth tinderwood (E);  Tontelhout (A); moswaapêba (Tsw); munukha-tshilongwe (V); inunkisiqaqa (X); umqaqongo (Z)

Hardy, deciduous, fast growing, small tree with shiny, dark leaves that are pungent when crushed.  It has profuse, flat-topped clusters of white to pinkish scented flowers from December to June.

These are followed by white berries that attract birds to the garden.  Many butterfly species are attracted to this plant for the nectar it provides as well as for being a larval food plant.

Plant in sun or semi-shade.  It is extensively used for medicinal purposes.

Size: 2 to 6m  : in Gauteng 2 to 5m

S.A. No.: 667

The Tinderwood (Clerodendrum glabrum) is a lovely small deciduous tree.  The beautiful flower heads attract a myriad of butterflies.  You could lounge in the pool and butterfly watch.


Combretum hereroense

Combretum hereroense

Kierieklapper (A); Mouse-eared bushwillow (E); mokabi (Tsw); mugavhi (V); umhlalavane (Z)

Hardy, semi-deciduous, drought resistant, small, graceful tree with small, creamy white, faintly scented flowers in dense spikes from September to November.

The beautiful wavy edged foliage is a lovely olive-green colour in summer and then turns purple in autumn.

It bears clusters of rusty coloured, small, four winged fruits.  The thick corky bark flakes attractively and creates habitat for insects that the Wood Hoopoes enjoy probing for under the bark.  A beautiful tree for small spaces.

Size: 3 to 5m

S.A. Tree No. 538

The Russet Bushwillow (Combretum herreroense) is deciduous and will give your pool area a distinctive bushveld feel.

Croton gratissimus

Lavender Fever Berry (E); Laventelkoorsbessie (A); mufhorola (V); moologa (Tsw); umahlabekufeni (Z)

Fairly hardy, deciduous, small, drought resistant tree with lovely pale grey bark.  It has beautiful silvery-green leaves with red spotted undersides and a few bright orange leaves in the crown at most times.  They are fragrant when crushed and turn dark yellow in autumn.

It has masses of tiny star-like, yellow flowers which peak from July to September, although there are flowers throughout summer.  The seedpods explode to disperse the seeds, which in turn attract seed eating birds.

This makes a beautiful garden subject but is not freely available.  The leaves are used as perfume and it also has many other medicinal and traditional uses.

Size: 2 to 10m

S.A. No. 328.1

Lavender Fever Berry (Croton gratissimus) is one of our most beautiful trees with silver undersides to the leaves.  When the wind blows it sends ripples of silver through the tree.  It is not easy to get seeds and therefore is not common in cultivation.


Dais cotinifolia - indigenous trees South Africa

Dais cotinifolia

Pompon Tree (E), Kannabas (A), inTozane-emnyama (A)

Hardy, fast growing, deciduous, small tree bears masses of very showy, fragrant pink, pom-pom like flowers from Nov. to Feb. It begins flowering whilst still young.

The slightly blue-green foliage is attractive in spring when it has scattered pink leaves in the crown.  Popular garden subject for sun or semi-shade.  Ideal for small gardens and containers.  The bark is used to make rope.

Size: 2 to 7m
in Gauteng 2 to 7m

S.A. No. 521

The Pom-pom tree (Dais cotinifolia) is totally deciduous but the flowers may cause a problem for a short time.  Avoid the tree hanging over the pool to minimise the problem.  This needs to be weighed up against the beauty of the flowers.

Deinbollia oblongifolia - indigenous trees South Africa

Deinbollia oblongifolia

Dune Soapberry (E); Duineseepbessie (A); iqinisamasimu (Z); umasibele (X)

Fairly hardy, briefly deciduous, shrub or small tree with large decorative, dark green leaves crowded at the ends of the branches.  The pyramids of white flowers, that stand out above the leaves, are borne from March to June and are followed by edible fruit that is much favoured by birds.

Lichens readily grow on the bark giving it a lovely mottled effect. One of the best plants for attracting butterflies, moths, other insects and birds to the garden.

An attractive garden plant for shady areas and it also makes a good container plant for indoors.  Traditionally the seeds are used to make soap, the leaves eaten as spinach and the roots used medicinally.

Size: 1,5 to 5m

S.A. No. 430

This is a fairly slow growing tree but if you have an area that gets shade this is a good tree to plant.  The leaves are a bit leathery but they do not drop a lot.


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