These are followed by inflated, oval, yellow-green seedpods covered with soft green hairs that pop to release silky seeds that are carried off by the wind.
It is the host for the African Monarch butterfly and is thus a good element for a butterfly garden.
Grewia flava is a hardy, medium sized, drought resistant, deciduous shrub with blue green foliage with an asymmetrical base.
It bears abundant, yellow, scented, star-shaped flowers from October to March. When this compact shrub is in full flower it is a sight to behold.
The flowers are followed by 2 lobed, edible fruit that are irresistible to birds.
Hypoestes aristata little pink is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized, rounded shrub with grey-green leaves that have lighter veins giving them a variegated look.
It bears abundant spikes that are densely packed with 2-lipped pink flowers with purple spots in the middle of winter, from March to August.,
Melianthus comosus is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant fast growing shrub with attractive divided, strongly aromatic leaves.
The sprays of scarlet flowers are sweet smelling and have abundant nectar which attracts insects, bees, butterflies, Sunbirds and Cape White eyes.
It is a really beautiful sight when in flower from October to December.
It also has attractive papery pods.
Pelargonium fragrans is a hardy, evergreen, compact natural hybrid Pelargonium with delicate leaves that have a distinct nutmeg scent.
It flowers profusely with clusters of dainty, small white flowers from May to August but has some flowers all year round.
Pelargonium gibbosum is a hardy bushy shrublet with attractive slightly succulent blue-green leaves that is dormant in summer.
It flowers profusely in winter with umbels of yellow flowers, which is an unusual flower colour for Pelargonium species.
The flowers are strongly scented at night.
This unusual plant develops a thick swollen base which is attractive particularly when planted in containers, but because of the root system needs to be a fairly large container.
It is called Gouty Pelargonium because of the swollen nodes along the stems.
Plant in well drained, sandy soil and take care not to overwater in summer as it is from the Western Cape and therefore winter growing.
Size 30 to 50cm
Phygelius capensis is a hardy, evergreen small shrub with glossy, dark green leaves. It bears spikes of beautiful, red, drooping, tubular flowers in summer.
Plant in sun or semi shade.
Plectranthus ambiguous is a hardy shrublet with large thinly hairy olive green leaves.
The flower spikes have densely congested long narrow tubular flowers in a beautiful shade of pale purple in March and April.
Plant in shade or semi-shade and prune back hard before the new seasons growth to keep it looking neat and encourage flowering the following season.
Plectranthus ecklonii is a fairly hardy, erect, shrubby Plectranthus with attractive, large, quilted leaves.
Plentranthus fruticosus is a softly branching, fairly hardy, evergreen, upright Plectranthus has attractive olive green foliage tinged with purple beneath.
The spikes of pink to mauve flowers are borne in profusion in autumn.
Plectroniella armata is a hardy multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub or small tree with smooth grey bark and straight hard spines.
The attractive glossy leaves are dark green on top and pale green below.
Plumbago auriculata white is a hardy, scrambling, much branched, evergreen shrub.
It bears masses of edible, white Phlox-like flowers on and off all year round.
It is an important butterfly host plant and attracts both butterflies and birds to the garden.
A popular garden and hedging plant that is also suitable for covering banks.
Prune regularly to keep smaller and in shape as it can get quite wild.
Plumbago auriculata blue is a hardy, scrambling, much branched, evergreen shrub.
It bears masses of edible, sky-blue Phlox-like flowers on and off all year round.
It is an important butterfly host plant and attracts both butterflies and birds to the garden.
Polygala myrtifolia is a hardy, large, evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves.
It bears abundant, mauve pea-like flowers almost all year round with a flush in late winter.
It makes a decorative small tree if pruned into a standard and makes a beautiful floriferous screening plant. It can also be pruned into a formal hedge.
Attracts Carpenter Bees to the garden.
The seeds are relished by laughing doves and other seed-eating birds.
Grows in sun or semi-shade but flowers best in full sun and makes an excellent container plant.
Size 1 to 4m
Portulacaria afra is a hardy, evergreen, neatly shaped, small tree or shrub with pretty round, succulent leaves and ruby red branches.
The leaves have a pleasant acid flavour and can be used in salads.
From October to January, after rain, it is covered in clear pink to rosy mauve, nectar rich flowers - a wonderful sight. The papery 3-winged ornamental fruits resemble pinkish lanterns.
Plant in well-drained soil in sun or shade.
Useful for binding soil.
Psychotria capensis is a fairly hardy, evergreen shrub or small tree that is nicely shaped with leathery, glossy leaves.
It is a great foliage plant.
Rhamnus prinoides is a very hardy, evergreen, very fast growing, large shrub with beautiful glossy almost mirror-like leaves.
The small inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers are borne all year round and attract insects.
The black berries which follow provide food for fruit eating birds almost all year round.
Salvia africana caerulea is a very hardy, evergreen small to medium sized shrub with aromatic grey leaves that have many medicinal properties and can be used in cooking.
It bears spikes of attractive, blue to purple flowers from August to December that have copious nectar and attract birds and bees, (for which the flower is specially adapted), to the garden.
This plant is attractive and easy to grow.
It will add both texture and colour to the garden.
Scabiosa africana is a hardy, evergreen shrubby perennial with large rosettes of light green soft-textured leaves with ruffled edges.
Pretty pale blueish-mauve or white flowers on long stems, are borne above the leaves from July to November.
They make a long lasting cut flower.
Schrebera alata is a fairly hardy, evergreen, scrambling shrub or small tree that branches low and has a sparse narrow crown.
Sclerochiton harveyanus is a hardy, evergreen, shade loving, small to medium sized scandent shrub.
It has attractive, slightly variegated, small, almost heart-shaped leaves that add texture to the garden.
Sclerochiton kirkii is a hardy, upright, evergreen shrub with bright green, glossy foliage.
It bears clusters of beautiful large sky-blue flowers which look like a hand in summer and autumn.
Plant in semi shade or shade in compost rich soil.
Sclerochiton odoratissimun is a hardy, evergreen, small, shrub with attractive, glossy, small dark green leaves.
It bears masses of pretty white flowers that are streaked with red or purple lines and are wonderfully fragrant in late summer and autumn.
The flowers are like little hands facing the sun.
Scutia myrtina is a hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, thorny shrub with beautiful glossy, tiny leaves.
The new growth of leaves is a pretty bronze colour.
Bauhinia tomentosa is a hardy, fast growing, drought resistant, deciduous, scandent shrub with deeply lobed leaves, like butterfly wings.
It bears masses of lemon yellow, bell-like flowers with a purple blotch at the base of one petal and flowers throughout summer.
Plant in full sun or partial shade.
Rotheca myricoides (= Clerodendrum myricoides) is a fairly hardy, medium sized, evergreen, very decorative shrub with beautiful foliage.
It has massed spikes of purple flowers in spring and summer which attract the beautiful Carpenter Bees.
The edible fruit attracts birds to the garden.
Dracaena aletriformis is a fairly hardy, evergreen, shade loving, Yucca-like accent plant.
Acacia hebeclada (=Vachellia hebeclada) is a hardy, small to medium-sized, spreading, deciduous tree or large shrub with paired, sharp spines. The dark brown to grey bark is fissured and flaking.Birds, such as the Red-billed Wood Hoopoe, enjoy probing under the bark for insects.
The blue-green leaves are hairy and catch the sun. Mostly creamy-white, but sometimes pale-yellow, large, round puffball flowers, are scented and borne in large attractive clusters at the nodes of the leaves.
They adorn the tree from July to September and offer up a bounty of pollen and nectar to the numerous small pollinating insects and insectivorous birds that visit them. As the shoots age their colour changes giving the crown a lovely mottled look.
The large, distinctive pods stand upright and persist on the plant for a few seasons, hence the common name ‘Candle Thorn’. An ideal addition to a security hedge because of its height and ferocious thorns.
It is often referred to as ‘The House of the Lion’ as lions often shelter under it in the hot dry areas where this tree occurs.
Size: 4 to 7m
Volkameria glabra (=Clerodendrum glabrum) is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, fast-growing, small tree or large shrub with a dense crown. It has shiny, dark-green leaves that are pungent when crushed.
From December to June it bears profuse, dense clusters of white to pinkish flowers that have long stamens. In some specimens the flowers are wonderfully scented, whilst in others the scent can be pungent.These are followed by tightly packed yellowish-white berries that attract birds to the garden.
An important host plant of moths and butterflies – an absolute must for a butterfly garden. The flowers also attract a whole host of pollinating insects and the nectar in the flowers is an important food source for bees.
It is extensively used for medicinal and traditional purposes.
Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-composted soil.
Size: 2 to 6m
Helichrysum petiolare is a hardy, evergreen, dense, very fast growing perennial with beautiful, silvery-grey velvety, rounded, aromatic leaves. A lovely foliage and textural plant.
It has cream flowers from November to January which can be used in dry arrangements.
The lovely grey colour of the foliage adds colour and texture to a mixed border.
It can also be pruned into a small hedge.
The leaves are used as bedding hence the common name. Campers believe the smell aids a peaceful nights sleep.
Needs to be pruned regularly to keep in shape.
A good plant in sun or semi-shade in larger gardens in well-drained soil.
Size 30 to 50cm
Carissa edulis is a hardy, much-branched, evergreen, fast growing shrub or climber that has glossy, leathery leaves, which are sometimes hairy and have red growing tips. The hard rigid spines are almost always single.
Masses of beautiful, white flowers tinged with pink appear from September to December. These are followed by edible fruit that turns purplish-black when ripe, and because it is so sweet and juicy, makes a good jam or jelly.
The fruits attract birds to the garden.
It makes a good hedging plant, whether pruned to keep compact or left to grow freely. It needs to be controlled in a smaller garden but can be allowed to grow wild if you have the space where it will scramble through the trees.
Can be grown in semi-shade, but prefers full sun and flowers more profusely in the sun.
Size 1 to 3m
Acacia brevispica (=Senegalia brevispica) is a hardy, semi-deciduous, robust, prickly, scrambling Acacia that can be trained into a large beautiful shrub.
It has feathery, large, soft, bipinnate leaves with small hook thorns along the ribs on the underside.
Hypoestes aristata white is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized, rounded shrub with grey-green leaves that have lighter veins giving them a variegated look.
It bears abundant spikes of 2-lipped white flowers in the middle of winter, from March to August, when very little else is in flower.
The flowers attract butterflies and other insects to the garden which is a boon to the insect eating birds.
Metarungia pubinervia is a hardy, deciduous to semi-deciduous, fast growing, medium or large sized shrub with attractive, large, almost quilted, dark green leaves.
The beautiful, bright red flowers that resemble snap-dragons, are borne along the tops of the stems from April to June. Their nectar attracts Sunbirds, which are their pollinators, as well as a whole host of insects that find it irresistible.
It makes a lovely understory shrub.
Plant in semi-shade or shade, in compost rich soil.
Size: up to 4m
Syncolostemon densiflorus is a hardy, evergreen, medium-sized, herbaceous, multi-stemmed shrub. It has velvety, white stems with bright-green leaves.
Erythrina humeana is a hardy, deciduous, fairly fast-growing shrub or small tree with dark olive-green, trifoliate leaves.
The long-lasting, gorgeous, brilliant red, long flower spikes are carried above the leaves on slender stalks.
Polygala virgata is a very hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, slender shrub with long, narrow, dark-green leaves.
From October to July it bears tall terminal spikes of massed purple to mauve pea-like flowers that attract insects.
Although not particularly long-lived, they readily seed themselves around the garden. The flower spikes last well as cut flowers. Used medicinally.
For the best effect, plant 3 or more of these slender shrubs together, in sun or semi-shade, in compost-rich soil. Prune from when they are young to encourage them to bush out; this will help create an amazing display of flowers.
Sutherlandia frutescens (=Lessertia frutescens) is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, sun-loving shrub with lovely silver-grey foliage. The striking, large, luminous orange pea-like flowers are borne from September to December.
They attract Sunbirds and insects to the garden. These are followed by inflated green to pink, papery pods that are so light they are dispersed by wind. The pods and flowers are decorative in a vase. It is an important medicinal plant and has traditional uses as well.
This beautiful slender shrub is a must for any garden. Plant several together for effect and use as a textural plant. It makes a beautiful container plant. It is both wind and drought resistant. This is a short-lived plant but it seeds itself freely.
Prune regularly to encourage it to bush out. This unfussy plant tolerates many different soil types and tolerates dry conditions but thrives with sufficient water (do not overwater). Plant in full sun.
Size: to 50cm to 1m
Pelargonium cucullatum is a hardy, evergreen fast growing shrub and is the parent of many of the modern hybrid Pelargoniums. It has attractive round to kidney shape quilted leaves that are sweetly scented when crushed.
The large pink, purple and sometimes even white flowers with dark markings on the petals are borne en masse from August to February, and have a faint perfume.
Metalasia muricata is a hardy, evergreen medium-sized shrub that is very variable in appearance and frost hardiness, depending on the region in which it occurs. This rounded, robust, sturdy shrub has fine silvery grey-green, needle-like foliage. The leaves can be smooth or woolly.
In winter, the shrub is covered in honey-scented clusters of tiny white to pinky-purple flowers.
The flowers attract many pollinating insects, and the seeds are eaten by birds.
Dried leaves are used as tea in Lesotho.
It is useful as a tall filler in flower beds, providing grey-green foliage for colour and textural contrast. In some coastal areas, this species is used with other plants to stabilise sand dunes. As it is drought and wind tolerant, it can be used to screen lower plant beds from the wind.
Plant in sunny areas, in sandy, well drained soils. It can also tolerate acidic soils.
Size to 4m
Buddleja auriculata is a very hardy, beautiful, evergreen, fast growing shrub with a weeping habit and beautiful black-green glossy leaves that are white on the underside.
From July to August, it bears beautifully fragrant creamy white flowers with an orange centre. The flowers of the Weeping Sage are borne profusely in small rounded clusters that are densely packed along the stems towards the ends of gracefully arching branches.
When planted close together or with other shrubs it makes an effective windbreak. It also makes a beautiful, large informal hedge.
It can be planted as a specimen but prune fairly regularly to keep it in shape. It attracts insect-eating birds and many pollinating insects including butterflies to the garden.
Planted in conjunction with B. saligna and B. salviifolia it ensures a long fragrant blooming season.
Plant in sun or semi-shade, in well composted, well drained soil.
Size 2 to 4m
Othonna dentata is a hardy, evergreen, succulent shrublet with round, flattened, grey leaves that have fine- to coarsely-toothed, red margins.
From June to December it bears pretty, daisy-like, golden-yellow flowers that are carried on the tip of a long stalk above the shrub.The flowers attract tiny pollinating insects to the garden.
Plant in amongst other succulents in a rockery or on slopes.It also makes a beautiful container plant with its shortened thick stem.
Requires a sunny to light semi-shade position in well-drained soil.
Size: up to 70cm
Diospyros lycioides is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, fast growing shrub or small tree.
It bears sweetly scented, white, bell-shaped flowers from September to December that attract butterflies and other insects.
The edible berries are large, red and decorative and also attract birds. As with all Diospyros spp. sexes are on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit.
Plant in sun or semi-shade.
Makes a beautiful small tree when pruned as a standard.
Dodonaea viscosa var angustifolia is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, fast growing, multi-branched shrub with attractive light green leaves.
It flowers from May to September with insignificant greenish-white flowers.
Vangueria infausta is a hardy, deciduous, drought-resistant, large shrub or small tree with big, velvety leaves that have prominent veins on the under-surface.
Clusters of small, greenish-white, sweetly-scented flowers are borne from September to November, usually before the leaves appear.
Justicia capensis is fairly hardy, evergreen medium to large shrub with small, glossy, velvety leaves and scented, magenta flowers with white markings all year.
Flowers attract numerous pollinating insects including butterflies.
Used in traditional medicine to attract customers to a business or to improve the chances of employment.
Good garden plant for forest gardens or shady gardens.
Prune to encourage a denser growth habit. Plant in sun or shade, in well-drained, loamy soil.
Size to 2m
Thorncroftia succulenta is a very hardy, evergreen, much-branched shrub with succulent stems and leaves. The many grey green leaves are covered in dense short hairs.
From February to June, the plant bears many spikes of long, tubular magenta pink flowers.
Rock sage makes an interesting, medium to large shrub for rockeries. As it is extremely drought hardy, this is a good addition to a waterwise garden.
Plant in well-drained soil in sunny areas of the garden.
Size up to 1.5m
Salvia radula is a hardy, evergreen perennial with large, quilted, aromatic, grey-green leaves that have woolly, white undersides and are crowded at the base of the plant. The leaves are an attractive feature of the plant.
Luminescent, white flower spikes are borne during summer. These are showy and held well above the plant.
Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers. It has many medicinal uses.
Plant in groups to add texture and colour to a garden bed. Makes a great addition to a cottage-style garden and rockery.
Prune quite severely after flowering to keep in shape.
This drought-tolerant plant requires full sun and well-drained soil.
Size: 30 to 40cm
Greyia radlkoferi is a small, gnarled, hardy, deciduous tree that has a crooked main stem and rough fissured bark.
The bright green leaves are velvety and turn red in autumn.
The striking orange red flowers that adorn the tree from July to November are laden with nectar and attract insects and birds.
Remove the dead leaves to keep looking neat and show off the flowers.
A very decorative garden subject for a sunny or semi-shade position. Protect from frost when young.
Size: 3 to 6m
Helichrysum crispum is a hardy, evergreen, dense, very fast-growing, compact perennial with beautiful, small, dainty, silvery-grey velvety, rounded, aromatic leaves.
Noltea africana is a very hardy, evergreen, very fast growing, small to medium sized tree.
The glossy leaves are darker above and paler underneath, and have purple petioles. The branchlets are also purplish-red.
The flowers are pretty, small, white sprays borne in the axils of the leaves from August to September. The black seeds are encased in a three-lobed, brown woody capsule that splits to release them when ripe.
A decorative tree that is ideal for the smaller garden but should be kept as a single stem.
Grows well in sun and semi-shade.
Xerophyta retinervis is a hardy, deciduous, slow growing, perennial plant that has blackened, hairy stems. In the winter months they look as if they have been burnt and in a lot of cases have actually been burnt. They are totally transformed in the early summer (September to November), when they sprout long, strap-shaped leaves that look like grass growing in tufts at the tips of stems, resembling a fountain. They are then covered with masses of big, white to mauve, lily-like scented, flowers on slender stems. They flower in profusion after fire. Probably best grown as a specimen plant in wide, shallow containers, it also provides the ideal base for many species of indigenous epiphytic orchids and ferns. This is not an easy plant to grow as it is classed as a resurrection plant and the roots should never be broken or disturbed. Prefers full sun, or light shade from surrounding rock or grasses
Size: Up to 1.5m
Rothmannia globosa is a hardy, evergreen (sometimes briefly deciduous) well-shaped, small tree with attractive bark that becomes neatly squared with age.
It has dark green glossy leaves.
Clusters of magnificent, white, bell-shaped, sweetly scented flowers adorn the tree from August to November. The large, round, leathery green fruits are sweet and juicy, but become hard and woody when dry.
The juice of the fruits, that stains blue, is used to heal wounds and burns.
Plant as an understory shrub under larger trees with light shade, such as Acacia species.
Plant in semi-shade in compost-rich, well-drained soil.
Size: 4 to 7m
Mundulea serica is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, decorative, large shrub that always stands out in its natural habitat of grassland and rock.
The fissured corky bark is a protection against fires which are frequent in its habitat.
Dovyalis longispina is a hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous shrub or small to medium-sized tree with glossy, dark-green, roundish, shiny leaves. The new growth is red.
The small whitish-yellow flowers appear in clusters from August to October Male and female flowers are on separate plants, therefore only female plants will bear fruit. The leaves drop during flowering but new leaves re-appear immediately.
The delicious, edible fruit is a beautiful pale red with white spots (they look a lot like strawberries).
The long, thin spines make this an ideal plant for a security hedge, but it is also an attractive garden plant. Attracts birds to the garden.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade in sandy or well-drained soil.
Size: 5 to 8m
Cassinopsis ilicifolia is a hardy, evergreen, decorative large shrub with glossy, bright green leaves and green stems.
The branchlets have a zigzag pattern and single spines.
Sesamothanmus lugardii is a fairly hardy, misshapen, small tree or shrub that resembles a miniature baobab. It has tiny leaves that cluster along the long elegant stems and mottled bark.
It bears beautiful white frilly flowers with a long tube from November to February. It has attractive heart-shaped seeds capsules that all pop open together to release their papery seeds in just a few days. This is why the seeds are so hard to come by.
Plant in full sun in a hot dry area in a rockery or it also makes a lovely container plant.
Size: Up to 4m
Warburgia salutaris is a fairly hardy, medium sized tree or large shrub with brown bark that has slightly raised, yellowish lenticels and a peppery smell. The attractive glossy green leaves also smell strongly of pepper when crushed. The young leaves are blue green and resemble the Silver Cluster Leaf (Terminalia sericea).
The greenish-yellow flowers are borne in the axils of the leaves from July to December and are inconspicuous. They are followed by large green berries.
The bark of this tree is collected extensively for medicinal purposes and the over harvesting of the bark has killed off the majority of these trees making it highly endangered.
This beautiful, neatly shaped tree with a non-aggressive root system makes a great garden plant. It makes a dense and effective hedge and grows exceptionally well in containers.
Plant in sun or semi-shade, in well-composted, well-drained soil
Size 3 – 8M
Leonotis cf. leonurus ‘Simba’ is a hardy, evergreen drought- and frost-resistant, evergreen, perennial shrub that looks just like ordinary Leonotis leonurus, but the height remains about 60 cm.
The beautiful, velvety, tawny, yellow-orange flowers are repeated in circles up the length of every long stalk, mostly in autumn, however, ‘Simba’ is known for having flushes out of season. An important food and nectar plant for Sunbirds, bees and butterflies during autumn and winter.
Makes a great container plant.
Prune back hard after flowering to retain the neat shape.
Plant in full sun and in well-drained, compost- rich soil.
Size: up to 60cm
Brachylaena rotundata is a hardy, semi-deciduous to deciduous, medium sized, drought resistant tree or large shrub with slender, drooping branches and corky bark. The attractive, leathery, silver-grey foliage is covered with cobwebby hairs especially when the leaves are young.
In autumn the leaves get a reddish tinge.
The tree is covered in yellow thistle-like flowers from August to September (the male and female flowers are on separate trees).
It is host to the moth Phyllonorycter brachylaenae.
Excellent garden subject.
Plant in sun or semi-shade, in well drained soil.
Size: 4 to 5m S.A. No. 730
Sclerochiton apiculatus is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, scrambling shrub for sun or semi-shade.
It takes well to pruning, so Blue Lips is useful for smaller gardens, and can be used as a backdrop to a bed, a screening plant or in a mixed herbaceous border.
It also makes an attractive container plant.
From November to April it bears beautiful, scented, blue flowers with silvery undersides.
Size: Up to 2 metres
Strychnos madagascariensis is a hardy, deciduous, large shrub or shrubby, multi-stemmed small tree with pale grey bark and quite thick, shiny leaves that are blue-grey-green below.
The small greenish-yellow flowers are borne on the old wood from October to December. These are followed by large (80 to 100mm diameter), spectacular, bluish-grey fruits with a hard, woody shell. These fruits adorn the tree for up to a year before they fall. They will keep for up to 5 years, and during this time, the seed will turn dark brown.
The fruits can be polished and used as decorations. The pulp is edible but the seeds are said to be poisonous. All parts of the plant are utilised by game and cattle.
A good tree for a small garden.
Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil.
Size: 3 to 6m
Sparrmannia africana is a hardy, mostly evergreen, fast growing large shrub that branches fairly low down. Although a fairly scraggly shrub, it has dense foliage of heart-shaped, light green, very hairy leaves.
The lovely white flowers with a crown of tufted yellowish orange stamens are borne in heads throughout spring (August to October). The stamens are sensitive to touch – spreading out when they sense being touched / landed on. Seeds are released when the spiky small fruit dries and splits open.
The fibres from the stems are used to make rope. It is well known as a house and container plant overseas, and can be used as an interesting tall backdrop to a flower bed.
Plant in shade or semi-shade, in well-composted soil. Water regularly.
Size to 4m
Ruspolia hypocrateriformis is a fairly hardy, evergreen, scrambling woody shrub with bright green foliage. The spikes of showy pink to red flowers with darker spots on their lower petals are borne at the tips of new growth throughout summer and into autumn.
Butterflies are attracted to the garden by the large amount of nectar that these flowers produce. The flowers are followed by a dry capsule which splits with a loud crack to release the seed within.
Makes an interesting garden subject as a shrub and can be trained up as a climber. It is not readily available in nurseries.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade, in fertile, well-drained, loamy soil.
Size: 1m but can climb to about 4m
Grewia lasiocarpa is a hardy, evergreen, large shrub or small tree with smooth, grey bark and dense foliage. The leaves are large, almost circular, rough-haired above, and densely covered with soft hairs below.
The attractive, large star-shaped pale pink flowers occur from January to March, followed by 4-lobed, furry, reddish fruit from March to July.
The fruit attracts birds and, in the wild, warthogs and baboons. These fruits may often remain on the tree for long periods, eventually turning black.
Although this plant tolerates most climates, it does best in areas of high rainfall. Plant in sun or semi-shade.
Size up to 3.5m
Cyphostemma juttae is a hardy, deciduous, short, thickset, succulent shrub.
It has a huge swollen trunk with yellow-green bark that peels off in whitish sheets. This is a strategy to reflect the heat away from the plant and keep it cool, as it grows naturally in very hot exposed positions. It has very attractive large, succulent, blue-green leaves.
Inconspicuous small greenish cream flowers are followed by bunches of decorative fruits that turn from bright red to purplish-black and resemble grapes from December to January.
It makes an unusual and stunning container plant – a real talking point.
This magnificent ornamental plant needs a warm sunny position in the rockery, where it should receive very little water in winter and not too much in summer. The soil should be light and loamy with sand added to improve drainage.
Size: Up to 2m
Diospyros austro-africana is a very hardy, attractive, evergreen, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree whose mature, medium- to dark-brown bark, blisters and peals into long, narrow flaky-strips. The reddish-brown branches are finely-haired, similar to the fine hairs on the attractive, small obovate leaves which give this shrub/tree a dusty-silvery appearance.
From August to September it bears pendulous, creamy-white, cerise-pink or red lantern-like flowers which attract birds, butterflies and other insects to the garden. The berries that follow turn red then black and are much sought after by birds. Male and female flowers on separate plants therefore only females bear seed.
This tough, water-wise plant grows in full sun or semi-shade.
Size: 6 to 10m
Euryops tysonii is a very hardy, evergreen shrub with small, densely packed, small, leathery leaves are arranged close to the stems. These make it a particularly decorative small shrub which is dense and has an upright, and at the same time sprawling, growth habit.
The relatively large, sweetly scented, bright yellow, daisy-like flowers are clustered at the end of the stems and are borne from September to May.
The flowers attract many pollinating insects to the garden and if you watch carefully you may be lucky enough to see a perfectly camouflaged Crab Spider living in the centre of the flower.
It requires full sun and looks beautiful in the rock garden, shrubbery, mixed border, on terraced slopes, in retaining walls and also makes a lovely container plant.
Euclea natalensis subsp. capensis is a hardy, evergreen, very attractive shrub or small to medium sized tree (depending on where in grows). It has a dark, spreading crown of shiny, hard and leathery leaves with red undersides.
The strongly scented small, creamy white flowers are borne from August to March and are followed by edible round red to black fruit from March to December.
It attracts birds and insects to the garden. With its dense crown it makes a good screening plant and can be planted singly as a beautiful specimen tree.
It has many traditional, medicinal and magical uses. Twigs are used as toothbrushes.
It is a little slow growing and should be planted in sun or semi-shade.
Size: 3 to 10m
Pelargonium tomentosum is a hardy, evergreen shrubby perennial with spreading branches. The attractive rounded peppermint-scented leaves are velvety to the touch. The minute hairs on the leaves trap dew which glitters like diamonds, a wonderful foliage plant.
The umbels of tiny white flowers have purple markings and are borne from October to January.
Use in moist semi-shade areas and on banks in well-drained soil. It also makes a good container plant.
Remove old leaves regularly to create the best effect of silvery, sparkling foliage.
Use as a culinary herb.
Size: up to 30cm
Buddleja glomerata is a very hardy, evergreen, large shrub or small tree with light brown, bark that peels in strings.
Searsia [=Rhus] burchellii is a very hardy, evergreen, large shrub with dark-brown bark and small, glossy, waxy leaves. The foliage is beautiful and adds texture to the garden.
It flowers from February to April, with sprays of inconspicuous flowers. Male and female flowers are on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit.
The flowers attract pollinating insects and therefore insectivorous birds to the garden. The flowers are followed by bunches of reddish-brown fruit. The flowers and fruit attract birds to the garden.
Use in an informal hedge, as a screen or as an element of a bush clump.If pruned into a standard it makes a lovely small tree.
This is a really tough, drought-resistant plant for full sun or semi-shade areas.
Size: up to 3m
Gymnosporia harveyana is a hardy, evergreen, spiny shrub that is densely leafy and has long, slender, straight spines. The beautiful, glossy, dark-green foliage is a distinctive feature of this plant.
From October to May it bears clusters of small, white flowers that attract insects. These are followed by white berries on slender stalks. From November to June the berries turn ruby-red and adorn the tree. When these split, birds are attracted to the food source.
As it is either in flower or fruit all year round it is a great addition to a wildlife garden.
It has many uses – it can be pruned to form a small tree, trimmed into a formal hedge, left as an informal hedge or planted in a security barrier. It also makes a beautiful container and accent plant.
This stunning plant grows in deep or filtered shade. Plant in shade to semi-shade, in compost-rich, well-drained soil and give it moderate water.
Size: 1 to 4m
Acacia ataxacantha (=Senegalia ataxacantha) is a hardy, deciduous Acacia that can grow as a scrambling shrub or medium sized tree with many hooked prickles. It is drought resistant and fairly fast-growing.
The fine leaves are either bright green or blue green and are densely hairy.
It bears spikes of creamy flowers from November to February. These are followed by attractive, flattened deep red to maroon pods.
The Satyr Charaxes butterfly uses it as a host plant. It is used in traditional medicine, and the wood is split to weave baskets.
This tree is ideal to plant as a security hedge, as its tangled thorny branches will climb through other plants and create an impenetrable barrier.
It requires well drained soil and full sun, but can tolerate light, dappled shade to semi-shade.
Size: 5 to 10m
Salvia africana-lutea is a very hardy, evergreen, small- to medium-sized shrub with aromatic, grey leaves.
Clusters of unusual brown, funnel shaped flowers are borne from June to December, and when the flowers fall off a decorative, purplish calyx remains. The copious nectar offered by the flowers attracts insects and Sunbirds to the garden.
It is an attractive, easy plant to grow and forms beautiful silvery clumps.
Plant in well-drained soil in full sun or semi-shade and water in winter. This tough plant tolerates very dry conditions and should not be overwatered.
Prune regularly to keep it in shape.
Size: 50 to 75cm
Pachypodium saundersiae is a semi hardy, deciduous succulent shrub that has a large, irregularly swollen stem with thick branches and a silvery-grey bark with hard white spines.
From April to June it bears large, attractive, frilly, white, tubular flowers that are suffused with reddish-purple. The fruit is a grey, two-lobed pod that resembles horns.
A lovely garden or container plant for full sun and well-drained soil.
Size: Up to 1m
Argyrolobium tomentosum is a hardy, evergreen shrub that can be scrambling or upright. The trifoliate leaves are an attractive feature of this shrub.
The bright, yellow pea-like flowers are orange or red as they age and are borne profusely in spring and summer although there are a few flowers all year round.
It attracts insects and birds to the garden.
It is used extensively as a medicinal plant.
Use as a screen or a small bushy shrub in a mixed border or allow to scramble up trees where its bright-yellow flowers will brighten up a shady bed.
Plant in semi-shade and prune once a year to keep in shape. It only requires moderate watering once established.
Barleria rotundifolia is a hardy, evergreen, fairly fast growing, rambling shrub that has a rounded shape. The spiny branches produce small, shiny green leaves. From December to March it produces yellow tubular flowers, with the four upper lobes of the flower separated from the lower lobe to form an open tube from which 2 stamens and the style protrude. The fruit is a small exploding capsule.
The nectar rich flowers attract pollinating insects (including many butterfly species) and therefore many insectivorous birds to the garden. The many spines make it an effective barrier plant for a security hedge. Plant in clumps in a shady flower bed under trees or in a sunny rockery. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun to semi-shade.
Size up to 1m
The Trumpet thorn, Cactophractes alexandri, is a hardy, semi-deciduous, much-branched succulent shrub, or small tree with long slender spines. The small, pale grey leaves are quite wooly and clustered around and sometimes, even on the spines. They give the plant a silvery look. It bears beautiful large, showy, trumpet-shaped flowers that are white and at times tinged with pink. They are sweetly scented and, as they grow in arid areas, bloom after rain from September to November. The flowers are followed by a thick woody capsule which splits to release winged, papery seeds. The empty, woody pods click together in the slightest breeze adding sound to the beauty of this plant.
Plant in a succulent garden, on banks, in containers or in small groups for a stunning display.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 3m
Barleria prionitis subsp. delagoense is a fairly hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, drought resistant shrublet or groundcover with opposite pairs of bright green leaves. It bears beautiful, clear apricot flowers in the axils of the leaves.
These make a lovely show in the garden from as early as December, but mainly January to March. The flowers attract many pollinating insects, including butterflies to the garden.
Makes a lovely container plant or small shrub for the open garden. Prune back after flowering to encourage compact growth. Plant in well drained, compost rich soil and water regularly. Grows well in frost-free areas, in semi shade or sun.
Size: up to 1m
Barleria obtusa is a hardy, evergreen, small, drought resistant, herbaceous shrublet that tends to sprawl.
It blooms profusely with violet flowers in autumn and has a few flowers most of the year round.
It grows well in sun or semi-shade but blooms more profusely in the sun. Prune back hard after flowering to keep it in shape and encourage flowering the next season.
It is a butterfly host plant, as well as being heavily browsed by both stock and game animals.
Size 30 to 75cm
Barleria greenii is a very hardy, deciduous, spiny, small shrub. It has masses of gorgeous, huge pink, Petunia-like flowers in summer.
They are sweet smelling at night which suggests that they are moth pollinated and have copious nectar that attracts Carpenter Bees and other insects to the garden.
A beautiful garden plant that is stunning when planted in groups. Rare in cultivation.
Plant in full sun but it can also tolerate partial shade. Prune back in winter to ensure masses of flowers in summer.
Size 30 to 80cm
Baphia racemosa is a hardy, evergreen, quite slow growing shrub or small tree with a dense, rounded crown of dark green, glossy leaves.
It bears sprays of pure white pea-like flowers with a yellow honey-guide spot on the upper petal from August to November. The flowers fill the air with a strong violet scent and attract bees and a whole host of insects to the garden.
It is also the host plant of the Blue-spotted Charaxes and Orange-barred playboy butterflies.
It is an ideal tree for a small garden and should be planted in well-composted soil in shade or semi-shade.
Size 3 to 6m
Azanza garckeana is a fairly hardy, deciduous, small to medium-sized tree with greyish-black, fibrous bark. This drought-resistant little tree has palmate-shaped attractive foliage.
From December to May it bears large, showy, solitary bell-shaped yellow flowers with a purplish brown centre. The large round fruits are sweet and edible but quite glutinous.
This tree makes a beautiful container plant. Although it is drought-resistant it will thrive with adequate water. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun.
Size: 3 to 13m
Asparagus virgatus is an extremely hardy, evergreen, erect, stiff shrublet with long slender stems. This drought-resistant, attractive plant forms quite large and attractive clumps. The dark-green leaves are fine and almost threadlike.
It bears tiny white flowers that hang below the foliage in summer. These are followed by red berries that look as if they are floating in mid-air. Birds love these berries.
The foliage is useful for flower arrangements and lasts for ages in a vase. It is used for medicinal and magical purposes, and is also as a protective charm.
It grows in deep shade, semi-shade or sun and requires very little attention. A useful plant in those dark difficult areas under trees.
Rhigozum obovatum is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, drought-resistant, twiggy, spiny shrub with small blue-green leaves. It bears brilliant, golden, trumpet-shaped flowers in spring or early summer, especially after rain. Depending on the rain it can flush on and off throughout summer.
Although the bush is quite dull-looking, it has an interesting structural shape and is spectacular when in flower during the summer months. It attracts bees and other insects to the garden when in flower and is browsed by cattle and game.
Plant in very well-drained soil in a sunny position. Although it can stand any amount of drought and neglect, water well in winter to achieve its maximum potential.
Size: 1 to 3m
Acacia luederitzii var. luederitzii is a very hardy, deciduous, quite slow-growing Acacia that can tolerate harsh conditions as it grows in desert and semi-desert areas. It develops a flat crown, typical of African Acacias, with age. It has fine, feathery, grey-green foliage.
A combination of straight and hooked thorns make this Acacia a formidable security barrier when allowed to branch low and individual plants are planted close together.
The creamy-white puffball flowers are borne from October to February and attract a whole host of insects. The nutritional, elongated, purple-brown pods will split and persist on the tree - another interesting feature.
A perfect Acacia for smaller gardens. Once established it requires very little attention.
Plant in well-drained soil in sun.
Note: in Acacia luederitzii var. retinens, which occurs in Kwazulu Natal, Swaziland and Mozambique, the inflated, paired spines look like miniature buffalo horns and are an interesting feature of this tree. These do not occur in var. luederitzii.
Freylinia lanceolata is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, graceful shrub with a lovely weeping shape. The long, drooping lanceolate leaves add to the shape. Bunches of creamy-yellow, fragrant, tubular flowers, appear in profusion from May to August when little else is flowering.
A few flowers will appear sporadically during the rest of the year. The flowers smell of honey and their nectar attracts a myriad of butterflies and other insects. It can be clipped into a formal hedge but does need a lot of maintenance. Prune regularly to keep looking neat.
It grows well in a sunny garden although it does tolerate partial shade. It grows naturally along streams and enjoys wet conditions, but also grows well in a normally irrigated garden.
Carissa macrocarpa is a hardy, drought resistant, dense, spiny shrub to small tree with large leathery, dark green, glossy leaves.
It has large, beautiful, scented, white flowers that are followed by large edible red fruits on and off throughout the year.
It attracts butterflies and fruit eating birds to the garden.
Allophylus dregeanus is an attractive small tree or large shrub with beautiful dark, glossy leaves and greyish bark which wrinkles with age.
In autumn and winter, it bears spikes of sweetly scented white flowers followed by profuse, edible shiny red berries.
These features seem to glow in the shade where it thrives.
Up to 6 metres
Duvernoia aconitiflora is a fast growing, hardy, evergreen shrub with glossy, light green leaves.
Greyia sutherlandii is a hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, rugged looking shrub or small tree with attractive round leaves that turn bright red in autumn. The tree is often still leafless when it starts to bear densely packed spikes of magnificent, brilliant red flowers at the tips of the branches from August to October. When blooming en masse they are a sight never to be forgotten.
The flowers are rich in nectar, which attracts sunbirds and insects to the garden. The dead leaves often persist on the tree and should be removed to gain the full benefit of the flowers.
Makes a good container plant and a wonderful tree for a small garden. The soft pale pink wood is used for household items.
Plant in a sunny or semi-shade position, in well-drained soil. Thrives in rocky soils.
Size: Up to 7m