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.
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.
Plectranthus ecklonii is a fairly hardy, erect, shrubby Plectranthus with attractive, large, quilted leaves.
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.
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.
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.
Strelitzia reginae is a hardy, evergreen shrub with large, ornamental, banana-like leaves.
The brilliant orange and shimmering peacock-blue flowers have an interesting structure resembling an exotic bird and flower from May to Dec. The nectar attracts sunbirds while the black seeds with an orange aril attracts many seed eating birds to the garden.
The blade-shaped leaves and flowers are widely used for flower arranging. This beautiful shrub makes a stunning accent and container plant.
On the Highveld and in other dry regions it grows best in partial shade.
Size 1 to 1.75m
Arctotis arctoides is a hardy, mat forming ground cover with lovely matt green leaves with wavy margins that have white felted undersides.
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.
Asystasia gangetica is a fairly hardy, evergreen, vigorous, creeping ground cover with dark green leaves. The large fragrant Foxglove-like flowers are borne from March to October. and are white with purple streaks.
These streaks are like landing lights for the insects to follow and pollinate the plant. Attractive planted in sun or semi-shade en masse or in a hanging basket. As it is an important butterfly host plant it attracts many species of butterfly to the garden.
Size 15 to 20cm
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
Eriocephalus africanus is a hardy, attractive, fast growing evergreen, aromatic, small shrub, with fine, soft, grey, heavily scented leaves.
It flowers from autumn to winter with white, daisy-like flowers that have a purple centre and are followed by attractive, white, woolly seed heads.
Plant in a well-drained, sunny position and ensure it is well watered.
Falkia repens is a hardy, evergreen, flat, mat-forming, perennial groundcover with lovely rounded leaves.
It bear large, white to pinkish paper-like flowers (like miniature poppies) from September. to December.
Geranium incanum is a hardy, fast growing, evergreen groundcover has beautiful, fine, feathery foliage.
It bears masses of purple flowers nearly all year round that attract insects to the garden.
It is a very versatile plant that does well planted on banks, in hanging baskets and containers.
Gerbera jamesonni is a well-known and well-loved hardy indigenous groundcover.
This hardy, semi-deciduous perennial has a basal rosette of leaves and large daisy-like flowers carried on long stems above the plant with a broad spectrum of colour from yellow through orange and red variations.
It blooms almost all year round but flushes from September. to April.
Hermannia pinnata is a hardy, evergreen, drought resistant-flat growing groundcover with finely textured, light green foliage.
It bears masses of beautiful, nodding, apricot coloured, bell-like flowers that are carried on relatively long stalks above the plant in early summer. Unusually for a groundcover, the flowers are wonderfully fragrant.
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.,
Hypoestes aristata 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 deep purple flowers with darker purple spots 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.
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
Pelargonium peltatum is a hardy, evergreen rambling pelargonium with smooth, fleshy leaves that have five points.
The flowers are a beautiful pale pink to mauve with darker streaks in the middle and bloom for most of the year.
The rambling, zig-zag stems make it ideal for hanging baskets, cascading over walls or used as an edging plant in a bed or even supported as a climber.
Prune to keep in shape, Plant in well-drained soil in full sun or semi-shade.
The many hybrid ‘Ivy Geraniums were developed from this rewarding and popular garden plant.
Size Up to 2m
Portulacaria afra prostrata is a fairly hardy, pretty, succulent groundcover is a variety of P. afra but instead of being a large upright shrub it has a creeping habit and stays low.
It has attractive round, glossy leaves on long arching succulent branches.
Scabiosa columbaria blue is a hardy, evergreen, soft, clump-forming, herbaceous perennial with attractive, deeply lobed, grey green foliage.
This hybrid, free flowering perennial has large, showy flowers that are carried on slender erect stems all year round.
A lovely plant for mass planting in full sun.
Sutera cordata (=Chaenostoma cordatum) is a hardy, evergreen, flat, creeping groundcover with attractive, round, bright little leaves.
It bears masses of small, starry white flowers that have an unmistakable yellows centre almost all year round.
A useful garden plant as it grows in sun or shade. Use it as a groundcover or between stepping stones.
It also makes a stunning hanging basket and container plant but does need regular watering especially when growing in full sun.
Size 10 to 15cm
Eucomis autumnalis is a very hardy, bulbous, deciduous plant with a rosette of attractive, broad strap-like leaves.
The spikes of greenish-white flowers have a tuft of green bracts on top which gives the flower the look of a pineapple or - with a bit of imagination - little green men from Mars.
Eucomis comosa is a very hardy, deciduous, bulbous plant with a rosette of attractive, broad, strap-like leaves with a maroon cast.
The spikes of sweetly scented, pink or maroon star-shaped flowers with attractive purple ovaries are borne from October. to February.
It grows best in full sun in either damp or dry spots.
Hypoxis rigidula is a hardy, deciduous tuberous plant has attractive, graceful slightly twisted grey green, hairy leaves.
The spikes of beautiful, golden star-shaped flowers are borne from August. to March.
They attract insects to the garden and in the wild are utilised by many different creatures.
Aloe fosteri is a hardy, stemless Aloe with leaves that have a grey, powdery surface and white, almost “H-shaped” markings on the upper surface.
The blue-grey, branched flowering stalk bears brightly-coloured flowers, varying from yellow to orange and even scarlet.
Jasminum stenolobum is a hardy, evergreen, scandent, bushy shrub or climber, with glossy, dark-green leaves.
Masses of large, fragrant, white, star-shaped flowers with a pink underside are borne from August to January.
Pelargonium ionidiflorum is a very hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant perennial with beautiful, incised leaves.
It bears clusters of gorgeous, violet-pink flowers with wine-red markings all year round.
Cotula sericea is a hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, flat, sprawling groundcover with really beautiful, grey-green leaves that have fine hairs that give this plant a soft silky texture.
The single, bright-yellow, button-like flowers are carried on long stems above the leaves.
Aloe ferox is a hardy, drought-resistant, single stemmed Aloe with a crown rosette of large, fleshy, succulent bluish-green leaves that have thorny margins.
Gomphostigma virgatum is an extremely hardy, evergreen, water-loving, graceful perennial or shrub with small, elongated, attractive grey leaves.
It blooms profusely almost all year round with spikes of white flowers.
Euphorbia mauritanica very hardy, evergreen, quick-growing, well-rounded shrub with thin, cylindrical, grey-green stems.The many stems that sway beautifully in the wind arise from a thick rootstock.
Each stem produces a small, yellow flower at the tip, and the entire bush appears butter-yellow for 2 or 3 months from August to October.Attracts pollinating insects.
Excellent feature plant for rockeries and mixed succulent beds.It makes a particularly attractive container plant.It is very tolerant of a wide range of conditions and is particularly useful for difficult gardens which have low rainfall and harsh, cold conditions.
Plant in well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade.Water moderately.
Size: up to 1.5m
Euphorbia tirucalli 'Firesticks' is a hardy, evergreen, tough, drought-resistant, succulent shrub or small tree with rarely-seen, tiny leaves that fall very early as this plant uses its green stems to photosynthesise.In this form the tips of the branches turn yellow, red and orange giving the impression that the tips of the plant are on fire.
Tiny, yellow flowers appear from September to December at the end of the new growth.These flowers attract masses of insects and butterflies.
The seed capsules that follow are prized by everything from ants to birds and even monkeys.The dense branches make ideal nesting sites for birds.Traditionally it is utilised as a living hedge to provide a nocturnal kraal for livestock.The plant is reputedly an effective banisher of moles. Although it is thornless, the dense, angular structure of the branchlets makes it fairly impenetrable, especially in older specimens.
Rhoicissus tomentose is a hardy, evergreen, robust, woody climber with rough, greyish-brown bark. The ornamental, almost circular to kidney-shaped, dark-green leaves are interspersed with velvety tendrils.
The young leaves are hairy and a rich copper or purple colour while the old leaves turn crimson before falling. Dense heads of greenish flowers are borne from October to January. These are followed by large, purple, grape-like berries with white spots, which are another great feature of this climber.
The fruit is edible and much sought after by birds and other wildlife. It is the host plant of the Silver Striped Hawkmoth. This robust climber will cover a pergola, can be trained up and over walls or planted in a container and pruned regularly to keep it bushy and show off its wonderful foliage.
Plant in compost-rich soil in sun, semi-shade or shade.
Size: up to 20m in canopy
Rhoicissus tridentata is a very hardy, deciduous, fast-growing, drought-resistant, vigorous climber or scrambling shrub with attractive, dark-green foliage that turns red in autumn.
The small, greenish-yellow flowers are borne in tight clusters on a densely-hairy inflorescence from November to April. The decorative clusters of edible, red, grape-like berries become black and attract birds to the garden.
It has many medicinal and traditional uses. The trailing stems are lovely in flower arrangements. Ideal for screening on a fence or cascading down a bank. It also makes a good subject for a large hanging basket.
Plant in well-drained soil in sun, semi-shade or shade.
Size: 1 to 3m
Kniphofia praecox is a very hardy, herbaceous perennial which is thought to be a garden hybrid.
Mentha longifolia is a hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, perennial herb which grows in damp areas and has long, thin, bright-green leaves with slightly serrated margins. When crushed they are strongly mint-scented.
It has slender spikes of white to pale-mauve flowers from December to February. It is an essential element of a butterfly garden and also attracts other pollinating insects and thus insectiverous birds to the garden.
Makes a delicious herbal tea and can be added to cordials and other cold drinks.
Excellent for moist areas of the garden or wetland features. It spreads rapidly, so cut off excess shoots and prune regularly to keep in shape. Although it does best in full sun it tolerates a little light shade.
Size: up to 1m
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
Elegia capensis is a hardy, evergreen restio is a large, ornamental form plant for water features.It produces tall stems with soft-feathery leaves at regular intervals along its length.
The golden-brown flowers are carried at the tip of the tall stems in Octocber and November.It is a beautiful form plant that whispers in the wind.Prune back old stems regularly and thin out if it gets too large.
Plant in ponds or beside water features or streams.If not in a pond, plant in rich but well-drained soil (as standing water can become stagnant) and water well in winter.
It will grow in sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 2m
Anchusa capensis is a drought hardy annual or bi-annual that grows vigorously, is upright, and has bright green, rough leaves and stems. It has a fairly weedy appearance.
The stems of brilliant blue flowers are borne throughout Spring and Summer and into Autumn. Each little blue flower is beautiful when looked at closely. They have a white feathery centre (these are actually scales that protect the reproductive parts of the flower).
Strelitzia juncea is a lovely addition to the garden. This hardy, evergreen plant forms a bushy clump of tough, cylindrical leaves. The interesting leaves and shape make this a stunning accent and container plant.
The brilliant orange and shimmering peacock-blue flowers have an interesting structure resembling an exotic bird, and flower from May to October.
The beautiful, flowers attract a number of different bird species to the garden. The nectar attracts sunbirds while the black seeds with an orange aril attracts many seed eating birds to the garden. Use both the long lasting flowers and leaves for flower arranging.
Plant in well-drained, rich soil in full sun or partial shade.
Size up to 1.5m
Gazania gazoo Citrus Mix is a hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, sun loving groundcover with glossy leaves.
This vigorous Gazania produces large flowers on strong stems in spring and summer. They are free flowering with a long flowering season.
This hybrid mixture of orange and yellow flowers even open under low light conditions. Needs well-drained soil and moderate water.
Ideal for a rockery and for stabilizing soil on banks as well as for mass planting and containers.
Size 15 to 30cm
Hibiscus pedunculatus is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium-sized shrub whose delicate, dainty look belies the fact that it is hardy and easy to grow. The lobed leaves feel like sandpaper.
From October to May the delightful, large, pale pink, hibiscus-like flowers are borne on long stalks.
The abundant pollen offered by the flowers attracts insects while Charaxes butterflies use it as a host plant. It is used in traditional medicine.
Group a few together for a gorgeous display or plant in amongst other shrubs as a border or screen where the flowers peeping through the other shrubs give the border a whimsical look.
Zanthoxylum capense is a hardy, deciduous to semi-deciduous small to medium-sized tree, with smooth, dark grey bark and broad, cone-shaped knobs that are topped with a short spine. The leaves are divided into leaflets, that are shiny and dark green above, and paler beneath. When crushed they are somewhat brittle and have a strong Citrus scent.
From October to February, the tiny, white, scented flowers are clustered at the ends of the branches. The male and female flowers are borne on separate trees. Female trees develop clusters of tiny orange-red fruits that split to release oil-rich black seeds. The fruit is edible but cause a burning sensation in the mouth.
Both flowers and fruit attract many insects and birds to the garden. It is a host plant to the Citrus Swallowtail and other Swallowtail Butterflies. This tree is widely used in traditional medicine remedies, and the wood is used for implements.
It makes an excellent container plant, or part of a forest garden or plant singly as a specimen tree to prune up and expose the interesting, knobbly stem.
Plant in semi-shade or full sun, in well-drained, compost rich soil.
Size: 2 to 15m
Calodendrum capense is a hardy, semi-deciduous, large tree.
Nymphoides indica is a semi-deciduous, floating plant with rhizomes and long, slender stems ending in almost circular leaves floating flat on the surface of the water.
From October to May it has abundant, small, fluffy, yellow flowers at the edge of each leaf and is a pretty sight floating on the surface of a pond.
It is also suitable for a very small pond.
Aloe striata is a hardy, stemless, smooth-leaved Aloe with a rosette of fleshy, blue green leaves. Each leaf is edged with a thin orange line that glows when the sun shines through it.
During the winter months, dense, compact inflorescences of brilliant orange flowers top a grey-green flowering stalk that stands about 50cm above the leaves.
Eragrostis superba is a hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, perennial grass that has attractive, bright-green leaves, mostly concentrated at the base of the tuft.
It flowers from September to May and has a spikelet of beautiful, large, golden, heart-shaped seeds.
An attractive garden subject.
As with all grasses, to keep it healthy, it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. Plant in sun or semi-shade. It grows in moist areas and will tolerate most soil types.
Size: 35 to 40cm
Aristida congesta subsp. barbicollisis a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, delicate, perennial, tufted grass with long, white hairs where the leaf meets the stem.
It bears delicate, twisted spikelets at the tips of branches from October to May.
This tough, pioneer grass can be used to stabilise soil or cover bare patches to protect the soil. It is pretty planted amongst flowering plants in a meadow garden or in a grassland garden.
As with all grasses it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. It is unfussy about the soil type it is planted in, and will thrive in all but waterlogged soils in sun or semi-shade.
Size: Flowering stem up to 80cm
Miscanthus capensisis a very hardy, evergreen, clump-forming, large grass that has beautiful autumn colours.
The flowering stalks are topped with plumes of pink seed-heads in late summer and early autumn. The clumps of leaves are about 1m tall and the flowering stalks are up to 2m tall.
Weavers choose this grass above other plants for nesting material. They use the leaves to weave the nest and the seed to line it.
Use as a backdrop to a garden bed or as a screening plant in narrow beds. It is effective planted as a single, sculptural, feature plant in a garden. Plant into window-box type containers where they can be used as a screen on a balcony. This tall grass is beautiful moving in the lightest of breezes in the garden.
As with all grasses, to keep it healthy, it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. Plant in sun or semi-shade in damp or normal garden conditions.
Size: Flowering stem up to 2m
Crassula swaziensis is a hardy, semi prostrate succulent perennial plant with attractive grey-green, round leaves that are arranged in rosettes.
The dense flat-topped inflorescences of masses of small white flowers that are tinged pink are borne from January to April. They attract a whole host of tiny insects.
Plant in well-drained soil in a rockery in the shade of other plants and grasses.
Podocarpus latifolius is a very hardy, evergreen, large, beautifully-shaped tree. It is slow growing, but makes an outstanding shade or specimen tree for bigger gardens. The yellowish to greyish-brown bark flakes off in thin, vertical strips. It has beautiful dark-green leaves that are carried more or less horizontally.
The sweet, edible, fleshy, reddish-purple, female cones carry 1 or 2 seeds that ripen from green to pink to red during December and February.
Podocarpus henkelii is a very hardy, evergreen, large decorative, beautifully-shaped tree and is one of our best-known indigenous trees. The bark is khaki brown that, when it matures, flakes into long, thin strips which expose the attractive reddish underbark. It has long, drooping, narrow, dark-green leaves.
The female cones develop into olive-green seed that ripens in May.
Although it is quite slow-growing it does develop into a huge forest tree that is only suitable for large gardens. For small gardens plant it in a large container to limit its size. In a container, it makes a great Christmas tree when decked out in its finery.
Plant in either east- or south-facing areas as it prefers damp, cool and shady conditions. If planted as a single specimen in the middle of lawn, remove at least 1.5m diameter of lawn around the tree, as its roots cannot compete with lawn. Mulch and water well or it will not grow properly. Always mulch the soil around the trees as this it keeps the roots cool.
Size: 20 to 30m
Stachys aethiopica ‘Pink’ is a hardy, evergreen, spreading groundcover, with beautiful pale-green, almost quilted leaves.
It bears spikes of small, pink, tubular flowers mainly in spring but with a few flowers almost all year round.
Delosperma cooperi is a hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, prostrate, succulent groundcover.
Vallisneria spiralis [= aethiopica] is a hardy, evergreen plant that grows completely submerged in water and cannot tolerate being above water.
It has long, linear leaves that can range in colour from light-green to dark-green and can grow up to 1m tall depending on the depth of the pond.
Its insignificant flowers are carried on spiral stems and often break off and float on the surface.
This plant propagates mainly by runners.
It helps oxygenate and clean the water as well as providing habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms.
Plant in a pot in a sunny to semi-shaded part of a pond, where water is no deeper than 1m.
Size: up to 1m
Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri' is a hardy, evergreen, drought- resistant, scrambling, perennial. This cultivar of Asparagus densiflorus has long, delicate, gracefully arching stems with short needle-like leaves.
Fragrant, small, white, star-like flowers are borne from November to April and are followed by beautiful, red berries, which attract birds to the garden.
A beautiful plant for a dense border in shady areas and makes a good container plant. With its feathery foliage and arching habit, it makes a great hanging basket. It also grows well indoors.
Grows well in light shade, semi-shade or sun. Cut the older bare stems off to keep it looking neat. It has many medicinal and traditional uses.
Size 25 to 30cm