Ilex mitis is a hardy, small to medium sized, evergreen tree with almost white bark. It has a graceful rounded crown of glossy, dark green leaves that are purplish-red when they first flush.
Bersama lucens is a fairly hardy, evergreen, small, compact tree with a well-developed crown and beautiful blotchy, wrinkled, grey bark.
The young leaves are a brilliant glossy russet brown, turning dark green when mature.
The small greenish white flowers, in long narrow heads, appear from September to June and are followed by green capsules that split to reveal scarlet seeds that attract birds.
The bark is sought after in traditional medicine and this species is becoming increasingly rare.
It is a beautiful, decorative tree for a shady to semi-shady part of the garden.
Chionanthus foveolatus is a fairly hardy, evergreen, forest tree that varies hugely in size depending on where it grows.
In forests it is huge but in gardens in Gauteng will probably not grow more than 10m tall.
Combretum krausii is a hardy, fast growing, semi-deciduous tree with glossy dark green leaves that turn vivid red and purple in autumn.
Cryptocarya transvaalensis is a hardy, evergreen tree with beautiful glossy dark green foliage.
Cunonia capensis is a hardy, evergreen, fast growing, small to medium sized tree.
The beautiful compound leaves have red petioles and large, red, spoon-shaped stipules that give the tree an overall reddish look and make this a beautiful foliage plant.
It blooms profusely with white, sweetly scented, upright ‘bottlebrush’ flowers from February to May that attract a myriad of insects and butterflies. The fruit attracts birds to the garden.
A handsome tree and good garden subject, which needs a cool, moist area.
Curtisia dentata is a medium-sized, hardy, evergreen tree that can grow quite large in moist forested areas.
Diospyros whyteana is a large, hardy, very decorative, evergreen shrub or small tree with glossy, almost mirror-like, dark green leaves.
The clusters of small, fragrant, bell-like white flowers are borne from July to October The fruits are red when ripe, enclosed by bladder-like structures.
Ekebergia capensis is a fairly hardy, semi-deciduous, lush, medium sized, good shade tree with decorative berries that are much favoured by birds.
The small, scented greenish-white flowers appear from August to December.
Gonioma kamassii is a species that is endemic to South Africa.
It is a fairly hardy, evergreen shrub or small tree with a dense crown of leathery, shiny, dark green leaves. The bark is smooth at first, aging to scale-like fissures.
Clusters of small, white, wonderfully scented flowers are borne throughout the year but with a peak in October.
Harpephyllum caffrum is a fairly hardy, large evergreen tree. It has attractive dark foliage with the odd red leaf in the crown.
The small yellowish-green flowers are borne in terminal sprays from October to February. Male and female flowers are on separate trees, therefore only female plants bear fruit
Fleshy red berries follow the flowers and attract many fruit eating birds to the garden.
Apodytes dimidiata is a hardy, evergreen, beautifully shaped, fairly fast growing tree with dense, glossy, dark green foliage.
Densely clustered spikes of strongly scented, snow-white flowers that are borne from September to April, especially after good rains.
Olinia emarginata is a very frost-hardy, evergreen small to medium sized tree that can grow into a huge tree in forest situations.
Pittosporum viridiflorum is a very hardy, evergreen, small to medium-sized, well-shaped tree with glossy leaves that have a resinous smell when crushed.
The bark has small pits in it and is an attractive feature of this tree. It is grey in young trees and becomes darker, rough and slightly fissured in mature specimens, and smells slightly of liquorice.
The dense clusters of sweetly scented, cream flowers are borne from September to November and are followed by brilliant red, sticky fruit in yellow-green capsules, that attracts birds.
A beautiful garden tree, which can be grown in sun or semi-shade, and can be used in forest and bush clumps as well as being used as a hedge plant. Wonderful shade tree, and with its non-aggressive root system is ideal for small gardens and containers.
Size 3 to 10m
Podocarpus falcatus is a large, very hardy, evergreen forest tree. It is the fastest growing of the Yellowwoods.
The small leathery, narrow, dark green leaves are sometimes slightly sickle-shaped.They often have a greyish bloom to them, making this a beautiful foliage tree, particularly when the light catches the leaves and the grey-green forms "highlights" on parts of the canopy.
Mature trees have beautiful, dark purplish-brown and flaking bark.
Rapanea melanophloes is a hardy, small to medium sized, evergreen tree with dark leaves that have a purplish cast to them. It also has really attractive bark.
The small greenish-white flowers from May to July attract insects and bees.
Rhus (Searsia) chirindensis is a hardy, deciduous, fast growing tree that is sometimes multi-stemmed and has a spreading rounded crown. The bark is rough and darker on the mature main stems, and smooth and somewhat shiny on the young stems. Both sometimes have woody spines, but particularly the young stems.
The large glossy, dark green leaves are tri-foliate and reddish when young and turn beautiful red autumn colours.
Sprays of small flowers are borne from August to March. (male and female flowers on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit).
Rothmannia capensis is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized tree.
Mackaya bella is a hardy, evergreen shrub with dark green, glossy leaves.
It bears, magnificent long bunches of lilac or white, trumpet-shaped flowers from early spring to November.
It grows in deep shade where the flowers seem to glow in the dark. The beautiful flowers have purple streaks in them that act as landing lights to guide insects to the nectar and in the process pollinate the flower.
It can tolerate a bit of morning sun provided it is watered well.
Grewia occidentalis is a very hardy, fast growing, evergreen shrub with attractive, rough, glossy, quite dark green leaves and trailing stems.
It bears gorgeous star-like pink flowers with a cluster of prominent, bright yellow stamens from October to January
It also bears distinctive, edible fruits that are clustered together in a square or cross shape.
Ipomoea albivenia is a fairly hardy, deciduous climber with thick, glossy, grey-green, heart-shaped leaves that are velvety white when young.
It has large solitary, trumpet-shaped, scented, white flowers in February and March.
The flowers open at night which means it is probably moth pollinated. The fruit is a woody capsule that bursts open to release the beautiful cotton wool-covered seeds giving it a second ‘flowering’ season.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade in very well-drained soil. Beware of over-watering.
Size climbs up to 4m
Anthericum saundersiae is a hardy, evergreen, clump forming, grass-like perennial that bears sprays of white flowers and seeds all year round.
It grows in sun or shade and this makes it a good plant for the difficult areas that are in shade for part of the year.
Tinnea barbata is a pretty but little-known shrub that deserves a lot more attention as a great garden subject.
It is evergreen with dark bluish-green leaves that are slightly hairy, and paler underneath. Tinnea is considered semi-hardy (probably frost tolerant due to it's high altitude natural habitat). It bears many blueish purple flowers that hang from the branches like little jewels.
Tinnea should be pruned to keep a neat shape, as its natural growth habit is to climb or scramble over other plants.
semi-shade in well composted soil.
Streptocarpus formosus is a hardy, evergreen perennial with clumps of long, quilted, strap shaped leaves that are arranged in a basal rosette.
It bears one or two large, purple, trumpet-shaped flowers that have dark purple streaks and are carried at the tips of long, delicate flowering stems from late spring to early autumn. The name "Streptocarpus" refers the the twisted fruiting bodies / seed capsules ("Strepto" meaning twisted and "karpos" meaning fruit). As they mature and dry out, they twist to realease the tiny seeds.
This beautiful plant grows naturally in forest that are hot and humid in summer and warm and dry in winter. Water thoroughly only when the plants are dry. Water less during winter. Streptocarpus should rather be under watered than over watered.
Plant in a well-composted medium with good drainage in a shady position, where the soil is moist, rather than wet.
Looks beautiful planted alongside a shady pond or in containers.
Size: up to 15cm tall
Chlorophytum modestum is a hardy, small, evergreen, perennial with short, strap-like leaves that form a tiny rosette.
Plectranthus ciliatus is an outstanding fairly hardy, evergreen groundcover with attractive quilted leaves that have purple undersides and purple stems.
It has spikes of white or mauve flowers from September to May, that attract insects and butterflies to the garden.
Plectranthus oertendahlii is an evergreen, clump forming groundcover that spreads along the forest floor. Wherever its soft stems touch the ground they root.
The leaves are slightly succulent and beautifully variegated green with silvery white markings along their vein and midrib lines. They are reddish maroon underneath.
The delicate white flowers are borne in spikes from February to June, with most flowers appearing in April and May.
A most worthwhile plant for shady areas and makes a spectacular pot plant.
Plant in loamy, well-composted soil and water regularly.
Size up to 20cm
This form of Scadoxus puniceus is much taller, more robust and has larger flowers with a less intense red colour than our Highveld form.
It is a very hardy, deciduous, beautiful, bulbous plant that varies hugely in size, depending on where it comes from.
Setaria megaphylla is a hardy, evergreen, shade- and moisture-loving grass that has beautiful, broad, bright-green, ribbed leaves.
Long spikes of brown seeds follow the dainty flowers that are borne from September to June.
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.
Tulbaghia simmleri is a hardy, fast growing, deciduous, bulbous plant with attractive, grey-green, fleshy, strap-like leaves that die back in winter.
Umbels of deep lilac, sweetly scented flowers are borne on long stems and make an excellent cut flower. It flowers from late summer (May) into early spring (September).
Plant in well-drained, compost rich soil in shade or sun.
Gardenia thunbergia is a hardy, evergreen shrub has glossy green leaves, silvery bark and wonderful branching patterns.
The sweet scent of the magnificent, large, white flowers will permeate the garden from October to February.
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.,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Calodendrum capense is a hardy, semi-deciduous, large tree.
Haemanthus albiflos is a hardy, evergreen, shade-loving, bulbous plant with mainly broad, glossy, green, strap-like leaves, although they are very variable and can sometimes be hairy. The upper half of the bulb is bright-green and is exposed above ground.
The beautiful ‘paintbrush’-type inflorescence is borne from April to September. It has a papery, green calyx encasing a head of many long, thin, white flowers that are yellow-tipped with pollen. The orange-red berries that follow are an attractive feature.
The pollen attracts bees and butterflies to the garden while birds love the succulent berries. It is also used in traditional medicine.
This plant makes a wonderful container plant as it likes to be pot-bound. Use as an indoor plant as well. This is a shade-loving plant and, if left undisturbed, will flower and thrive in those dark, difficult areas of the garden.
Plant in well-drained, compost-rich soil. Remember when planting out to leave the top half of the bulb exposed.
Size: 20 to 25cm
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
Ficus craterostoma is a fairly hardy, semi-decidious, medium sized strangler fig with a rounded, spreading crown and pale grey bark. It has fairly small leaves for a fig, which are dark glossy green, blunt tipped like a fish’s tail, and spirally arranged, making them an exceptionally attractive feature of this plant.
The stalkless, hairless figs, which are inverted flowers, are borne in the axils of the leaves. The small figs turn yellowish red when ripe from May to December.
The figs attract many fruit-eating birds to the garden. Makes a wonderful container plant or bonsai.
Plant in sun or shade.
Figs should not be planted close to walls and paving as they have aggressive root system.
Size: 5 to 10m
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.
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.
Nuxia floribunda is a hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, neat and attractive tree that is quite small in drier conditions, but if its roots find water it can get quite big.
Pale grey, smooth bark contrasts beautifully with the glossy, dark-green leaves that turn quite purple in winter.
Its huge heads of showy, sweetly-scented, white flowers cover the tree from May to September. The flowers attract a whole host of small pollinating insects, moths and butterflies that in turn attract birds.
It has many magical and medicinal uses.
It grows well in a container, and is also a lovely tree with which to create a small forested area in the garden.
Plant in either full sun or semi-shade and water regularly.
Size: 3 to 10m
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
Clivia gardenii is a hardy, fairly slow growing perennial with dark, strap-shaped leaves.
It sends out side shoots to form quite large clumps.
Berula erecta is a hardy, evergreen plant, easy to grow in marshy areas. It has attractive, bright-green, upright, fern-like foliage.
It flowers from December to March and it bears heads of many delicate, white flowers that are approximately 60 to 80mm in diameter that make good cut flowers. The flowers attract a variety of pollinating insects to the garden.
A portion of the plants in a waterside planting will ramble & root their way and 'float' attractively onto the water surface, providing good habitat for fish fry. An excellent plant for filtration of fishpond water and grey water.
Used in traditional medicine where the roots are held in the mouth to relieve toothache.
Cyperus papyrus is a hardy, evergreen sedge. It is the largest sedge in Africa.It forms clumps of tall, green, bare stems, topped by heads of grass-like flower spikelets, giving it a mop-like appearance.
Attracts many birds such as weavers, waders and water birds.A
Aristea ecklonii is hardy, evergreen, clump-forming, perennial bulbous plant with narrow, strap-like, slightly pleated leaves that are carried in a fan.
It bears flowering stems of amazing pale to deep mauve-blue flowers from August to March. There is a white flowered form grown at Random Harvest nursery (see gallery of pictures).
It requires morning sun as the flowers open in succession early in the day and close in the afternoon.
It grows best in moist conditions near ponds or well-watered areas.
Dracaena mannii is a hardy, evergreen small to medium-sized tree with long, linear leaves that are clustered at the tips of the branches. This growth habit makes it a wonderful form plant.
In September and October, it bears spikes of sweetly scented, pure-white to cream flowers at the tips of the branches. The scented flowers open at night implying that they are moth pollinated. These are followed by large brown berries that, as they ripen, become bright-orange and then red.
This is another attractive feature of a stunning plant as is the white papery bark. Birds relish the seeds.They also make beautiful container plants.
Plant in shady areas in the garden to create some form.
Size: up to 5m
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
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.