Indigenous Nursery News Blog

Recommended Indigenous Trees for Pools - Part Four

In this article, our expert team at Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery, delve into the world of indigenous trees perfect for planting around pools. Explore the beauty and practicality of these native species as we guide you through creating a poolside landscape that thrives with authenticity and sustainability.

Halleria lucida - indigenous plant nursery

Halleria lucida - indigneous plant nursery

Halleria lucida

Tree-Fuchia (E); Notsung (A); Murevhe(V); Leloetsi (S)

Hardy, evergreen, small tree or large shrub with red-orange or creamy yellow, tubular flowers, which are laden with nectar, from April to Aug. It has a lovely drooping habit, attractive, wavy leaves and makes an excellent garden subject.

This is a widespread tree that grows in many different habitats. Usually a small tree or large shrub in colder areas but can reach 12m in forest situations.

Generally speaking, the smaller the leaves the hardier the plant. It is an excellent tree for a wildlife garden and attracts birds, especially sunbirds, and insects to the garden.

The fruits are edible. Plant in sun or semi-shade. It has many medicinal and magical uses.

Size: 2 to 12m
in Gauteng 3 to 5m

S.A. No. 670

An almost perfect small evergreen tree that attracts a host of wildlife. The flowers and leaves are thinly textured and the birds are guaranteed to take all the seeds.

Heteromorpha trifoliata - indigenous plant nursery

Heteromorpha trifoliata

Common Parsleytree (E); Gewone Pietersielieboom (A); muthatha-vhanna (V); Serethe (Tsw); umbangandlala (Z)

Slender, very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, fast growing tree with glossy, waxy, coppery coloured, peeling bark and small, yellowish flowers from Jan. to April.

All parts of the tree are aromatic.

This tree is considered to bring good luck and is used for a variety of medicinal and magical purposes. Ideal tree for a small garden. Attracts a whole host of birds to the garden.

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

S.A. No. 568

For those who choose to have a Highveld indigenous garden the Parsley Tree (Heteromorpha trifoliata) would be a really good choice.

Heteropyxis canescens - indigenous plant nursery

Heteropyxis canescens

Forest Lavender Tree (E); Boslaventelboom (A); Inkunzana (Sw)

Hardy, rare, semi-deciduous, small tree that occurs in forested ravines and riverine forests in a restricted area of Mpumalanga and Swaziland. The quite large leaves have interesting venation and are magnificent in autumn when they turn purple, red and maroon.

They persist on the tree for most of the winter making a lovely show in the garden.

The crushed leaves smell strongly of lavender. This Heteropyxis looks particularly attractive planted in groups with their stems pruned up to reveal the beautiful light coloured bark.

The small yellow-greenish flowers, which attract butterflies and other insects, are borne in clusters at the end of branches from Sept. to March. It grows best in moist conditions and tolerates seasonal inundation of water.

Size: 3 to 5m

S.A. No. 454

The leaves are quite large but they are thinly textured. This gorgeous small tree is ideal for the pool area, especially if planted in small groups for maximum impact.

Heteropyxis natalensis - indigenous plant nursery

Heteropyxis natalensis

Lavender Tree (E); Laventelboom (A); mudedede(V); inkhuza (Z)

Slender, upright, fairly hardy, semi-deciduous tree with shiny, waxy leaves that smell strongly of lavender when crushed, and have lovely autumn colours.

It has small clusters of yellowish, sweetly scented flowers, from Sept. to March, which attract butterflies and other insects. The bark that starts off grey and matures to a creamy colour with apricot coloured patches is truly beautiful.

Ideal tree for small gardens, planted in groves and for containers. The leaves can be used for herbal tea and potpourri and most parts of the tree are used medicinally.

Size: 4 to 6m

S.A. No. 455

The most useful of small trees, the Lavender Tree (Heteropyxis natalensis) is also perfect around a pool over and above all its other uses.

Ilex mitis - indigenous plant nursery

Ilex mitis

Cape Holly (E); Without (A); mutanzwa-khamelo (V); iPhuphuma (Z)

Hardy, medium to large, evergreen tree with almost white bark and glossy, dark green foliage that is purplish-red when it first flushes.

Small, sweetly scented, white flowers are borne from Oct. to Feb. (male and female flowers on separate trees, therefore only female plants bear fruit) and are followed by masses of decorative red berries that are much sought after by birds.

It does better in damp spots near water but can withstand dry conditions.

Although this beautiful rounded tree can grow to huge proportions in forest conditions, it is normally a small to medium sized tree. The leaves are used as a soap substitute.

Size: 3 to 18m
in Gauteng 3 to 7m

S.A. No. 397

This neat tree can grow quite large in ideal conditions so keep it 4 - 5m away from the pool.

Indigofera frutescens - indigenous plant nursery

Indigofera frutescens

River Indigo, Rivierverfbos (a)

Hardy, semi-deciduous, graceful small tree which blooms with sprays of showy pink flowers for an exceptionally long time in summer (Oct. to March).

An excellent garden subject that is ideal for smaller gardens and is really beautiful planted in groves. It also makes an exceptional container plant. Plant in full sun or semi-shade.

Size: 1 to 4m

S.A. Tree Number 226.3

Thinly textured leaves and flowers make this an ideal tree. If branches hang over the pool the seeds pods could be an issue although I have never had a problem with my pool.

Millettia grandis - indigenous plant nursery

Millettia grandis

Umzimbeet (E,A); Umsimbithi (Z); umSimbithi (X)

Fairly hardy, decorative, deciduous tree that has a spreading crown. It has large magnificent spikes of purple pea-like flowers that stand out above the leaves from Nov. to March, followed by attractive, velvety, brown pods.

The new growth of leaves is a beautiful bronze colour and then turns almost lime green. It is reasonably fast growing and makes an excellent garden subject planted in sun or semi-shade.

It is the host plant to the orange barred playboy butterfly. It has many medicinal and magical uses.

Size: 10 to 25m
in Gauteng 5 to 8m

S.A. No. 534

Although it does have large leaves and very robust pods it is not a messy tree but should be planted 4 - 5m from the pool to ensure it does not hang over the pool.

Mundulea sericea - indigeous plant nursery

Mundulea sericea

Cork Bush (E), Kurkbos (A), umaMentabeni (Z), mukunda-ndou (V)

Very hardy, semi-deciduous, decorative, large shrub with blue-grey leaves covered in silvery hairs. It has dense pendulous bunches of deep mauve, pea-shaped flowers from Oct. to Feb.

Clusters of velvety grey or yellow-brown pods follow the flowers. With its robust, neat shape and corky bark, it makes a good accent plant but needs well-drained soil.

It is host plant to two butterfly species. Plant in well-drained soil. Traditionally used as a fish poison.

The bark and roots have medicinal and magical qualities and crushed leaves are used to bleach hair. Lovely tree for a small, sunny garden.

Size: 2 to 3m

SA Tree

Another beautiful small tree for those interested in planting locally indigenous plants. The flowers and the pods a quite thinly textured and should not cause problems.

Nuxia floribunda - indigenous plant nursery

Nuxia floribunda

Forest Elder (E); Bosvlier (A); mula-notshi (V); Ithambo (Z); Mothlabare (S)

Fairly hardy, evergreen, moisture loving, fast growing, small tree with glossy, dark green leaves that turn purple in winter.

Huge heads of showy, sweet smelling, white flowers cover the tree from May to Sept.

A neat and attractive small tree that also grows well in a container in either full sun or semi-shade.

It has many magical and medicinal uses.

Size: 3 to 10m

S.A. No 634

Has large but not leathery leaves. This beautiful tree with grace the pool area all year round. It is a particularly good choice if the pool is the focal area of the garden.


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