Acacia xanthophloea (=Vachellia xanthophloea) is a striking, tall, deciduous, fast growing tree with distinctive greeny-yellow bark.
Albizia versicolor is a fairly hardy, large, (in warm areas), beautifully shaped, deciduous tree.
The large, velvety compound leaves and grey-brown bark that becomes rough with age are also attractive features of this tree.
It bears large half-spherical, puffball flowers that appear from October to December with the new leaves.
Bauhinia bowkeri is a hardy, semi-deciduous, scrambling shrub or small tree with bright green, glossy bi-lobed leaves that look like butterfly wings.
It bears big, frilly white flowers that are sweetly scented from October to December. This plant is spectacular when in flower. Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil.
They look wonderful in an informal hedge, as a backdrop or low screen or climbing up trees giving a real forested feel.
Brachylaena discolor is a hardy, evergreen, fast growing tree or large shrub with beautiful silver and dark green leaves. White, nectar rich flowers are borne from July to September.
Male and female flowers on separate plants. Ideal as a windbreak and screening plant.
Cryptocarya transvaalensis is a hardy, evergreen tree with beautiful glossy dark green foliage.
Curtisia dentata is a medium-sized, hardy, evergreen tree that can grow quite large in moist forested areas.
Cussonia sphaerocephala is a fast-growing, evergreen, fairly hardy tree.It is tall and sparsely branched, with each branch bearing its own small spherical crown of leaves. The large, shiny, leathery, attractive leaves are red when they first appear, darken to bronze and then to dark green. The greenish flowers appear between March and June and are densely packed on thick spikes that form compact umbels. The masses of purplish-black fruit that follow are small and fleshy and attract birds to the garden.
This very decorative tree is suitable for large, sheltered, shady gardens and makes a good container plant.
Do not plant Cussonia near walls, pools, pipes or paving as they have an aggressive root system.
Size 15 to 20m.
Cussonia thyrsiflora is a hardy, evergreen scrambling shrub or small tree that tends to creep along the ground.
It has large dark green glossy leaves.
Dombeya tiliacea is a hardy, deciduous, small tree or multi-stemmed shrub with dark, heart-shaped, thinly textured leaves and dark fissured bark.
Erythrina lysistemon is a hardy, deciduous tree with large trifoliate leaves.
Faidherbia albida is a hardy, drought resistant, fast growing, large thorn tree that is deciduous at various times of the year - sometimes summer and sometimes winter.
This seems to coincide with seasonal flooding.
Ficus abutilifolia is a hardy, deciduous, small to medium sized fig tree that has beautiful, large, heart-shaped leaves.
Ficus ingens is a fairly hardy, drought resistant fig with a grey to yellowish grey bark.
Ficus sycomorus is a fairly hardy, medium to large spreading fig tree with a distinctive yellow stem that is often seen along riverbanks.
Galpinia transvaalica is a hardy, decorative, thickset, small to medium sized, sometimes multi-stemmed, evergreen tree. It has waxy, glossy, wavy-edged leaves that flush an amazing red in spring.
Showy white flowers are borne from December to April which attract insects to the garden.
It is also a butterfly host tree. A quick growing small to medium sized tree that makes a good container plant.
It can also be pruned into an attractive, formal hedge in sun or semi-shade.
Size 3 to 10 m
Halleria lucida is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized tree with attractive foliage and a graceful drooping habit.
Heteropyxis natalensis is a hardy, slender, upright, narrow, semi-deciduous tree with truly beautiful, pale creamy bark that, with age, develops beautiful apricot coloured patches on it.
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.
Kirkia wilmsii is a fairly hardy, deciduous, often multi-stemmed tree with beautiful, fine, feathery foliage.
Loxostylis alata is a fairly hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized decorative tree with corky grey bark.
It bears sprays of pretty white, scented flowers from October to April.
Milletia grandis is a hardy, decorative, medium sized, briefly deciduous tree that has a dense spreading crown.
The new growth of the large leaves is a beautiful bronze colour when they first unfurl in spring and then turn almost lime green, darkening with age.
It has large, magnificent, erect spikes of purple pea-like flowers that stand out well above the leaves from November to March – a sight to behold.
These are followed by attractive, large velvety, brown pods - another striking feature of this beautiful tree.
Mimusops caffra is a hardy, medium-sized to large, evergreen tree with a dense neat crown of attractive grey-green leaves.
This tree tolerates heavy salt spray and this same mechanism allows it to tolerate quite a lot of frost even though it is a plant of the dune forest.
It bears creamy white flowers from September to December which attract, bees, carpenter bees and sunbirds.
Mimusops zeyheri is a semi-hardy, drought resistant, fairly fast growing decorative tree that has a spreading, densely rounded, evergreen crown and deeply grooved bark.
Peltophorum africanum is a hardy, deciduous, drought-resistant, small- to medium-sized tree with brown, rough, longitudinally fissured bark.
The lovely fine, feathery leaves resemble those of Acacia species but the tree is thornless.
Philenoptera violacea is a hardy, small to medium sized, upright, semi-deciduous tree that has beautiful pale lavender-grey bark.
It drops its attractive, large grey-green leaves in spring, at the same time as the new leaves begin to appear. The leaves are palatable to many species of game.
The masses of beautiful large sprays of delicate, pea-like, lilac flowers are borne in October and November (sometimes September to December), and are sweetly scented.
Phoenix reclinata is a very hardy, evergreen, palm with shiny, light to dark green, long arching leaves that become spiny close to the stem.
The Palm Swift glues its nest to the fronds. It bears showy, creamy-white pollen-laden male flowers from August to October. (male and female flowers on separate plants). Female flowers are yellowish.
The luminous orange-brown fruit are borne in large hanging zig-zagged branches during late summer.
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.
Pterocarpus rotundifolius is a fairly hardy, decorative, multi-stemmed small to medium sized, deciduous tree that grows naturally in Bushveld and on rocky hillsides.
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.
Sclerocarya birrea is a fairly hardy, medium to large, deciduous tree with a rounded crown and beautiful mottled bark. It has large compound leaves crowded at the ends of the branches.
It bears inconspicuous red and yellow flowers from September to November. Male and female flowers on separate plants therefore only the females bear fruit.
Syzygium cordatum is a fairly hardy, large, evergreen tree with a dense, spreading, rounded crown.
It has smooth bark with bands and blotches on it - smooth and white whilst young and turning darker grey and rough with age.
It has attractive thick, leathery, round, bluish-green leaves which are red when young.
The scented, creamy-white to pink flowers with conspicuous fluffy stamens are borne in heads at the end of branches throughout summer, and are followed by edible, purple, fleshy fruits, which attract birds, and also make a good wine.
A lovely, decorative shade tree for the larger garden that needs water to grow its best. It has aggressive roots and should be kept away from walls and pools.
The flowers have copious nectar and attract birds, bees, butterflies and other insects. It is said to be an indicator of ground water and is fire resistant. Added to this, it also has many medicinal and magical uses.
Size 8 to 15m
Thespesia acutiloba is a hardy, semi-deciduous small tree or large shrub with pale grey bark that becomes furrowed with age.
Ziziphus rivularis is a hardy, rare, evergreen to semi-deciduous, fast growing small tree with attractive glossy, olive green foliage with interesting but quite variable venation.
It bears small, yellowish, inconspicuous flowers in November.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dracaena aletriformis is a fairly hardy, evergreen, shade loving, Yucca-like accent plant.
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.
Gardenia volkensii is a hardy, drought resistant, semi-deciduous to evergreen tree or large shrub with an interesting, rigid, branching pattern and beautiful silvery bark.
It has attractive shiny, bright green leaves.
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.
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.
Gymnosporia (=Maytenus) bachmannii is a very pretty evergreen shrub with small, narrow leaves that have pink stalks.
It bears abundant, small, white flowers that have pink stalks from January to March and attract insects to the garden. It then bears red berries for most of the year.
This is a well-shaped, excellent garden plant that can be pruned to make a stunning small hedge or topiary. Plant in sun or semi-shade in compost rich soil.
Size 1 to 3m
Plectranthus ecklonii is a fairly hardy, erect, shrubby Plectranthus with attractive, large, quilted leaves.
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.
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.
Ruttya fruticosa is a fairly hardy, evergreen, beautiful rounded shrub with glossy dark green foliage.
It bears unusual, exceptionally attractive two-lipped tubular orange or yellow flowers that have a shiny black in the throat.
It blooms from spring to late summer and attracts bees, birds and butterflies.
Plant in compost rich soil – it also tolerates slightly acidic soil.
Prune back after flowering to keep in shape.
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.
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
Agapanthus inapertus is a very hardy, deciduous Agapanthus has attractive strap-like leaves.
It bears long-stemmed umbels of pendulous, dark blue, tubular flowers from January to March. The colour can vary from white to almost navy blue.
It is tall and erect and will form big clumps.
Arctotheca calendula is a fairly hardy, evergreen groundcover with attractive bright green, deeply lobed leaves that have white undersides. It bears yellow daisy-like flowers all year round. It has a spreading, mat forming growth form and will fill those hot, sunny, well-drained areas with bright colours.
It spreads easily by multiplying as it goes along making it ideal for stabilising areas. Attracts butterflies to the garden.
Size Up to 10cm
Begonia dregei is a hardy, deciduous perennial with glossy, beautiful, small semi- succulent leaves that have white spots at times. It bears masses of white flowers throughout the summer. In winter, when it is leafless, is when the beauty of its golden, swollen stems are seen.
Plant in semi shade or shade in those difficult spots where little else grows and it thrives in marshy areas as well. It also makes a great container plant with something of interest about it all year round.
Size 15 to 25cm
Chlorophytum comosum vitatum is a fairly hardy, evergreen tufted perennial with swollen roots and strap-like, variegated leaves in a basal rosette.
The white and green variegated leaves will lighten up dark areas under trees where these plants thrive although they grow well in sun as well.
White starry flowers adorn an arching flowering stem throughout the year.
Chlorophytum modestum is a hardy, small, evergreen, perennial with short, strap-like leaves that form a tiny rosette.
Diascia genta hybrid is a hardy, bushy, evergreen, drought resistant, perennial groundcover with fine round leaves.
This hybrid has massed spikes of flowers ranging in colour from white, pink, orange through red.
The flowers are borne mainly from August. to March. but it does bear some flowers all year round.
Felicia amelloides is a very hardy, evergreen, perennial groundcover or shrublet with bright green foliage that bears masses of blue, daisy-like flowers almost all year round.
It should be pruned back lightly after each flowering to encourage the next batch of flowers and to keep the plant compact and tidy.
It can be grown in either full sun or semi-shade in well-drained compost rich soil.
Helichrysum argyrophyllum is a hardy, evergreen, mat-forming ground cover or dwarf shrub has beautiful, small, grey leaves with silvery, white hairs.
The clusters of papery, canary yellow flowers are carried well above the plant from December. to May.
Each flower stays fresh on the plant for about two months.
Impatiens hochstetterii is a fairly hardy, semi deciduous, soft herbaceous perennial. It has attractive glossy leaves with a pinkish petiole.
It bears masses of pretty, small, solitary mauve to pink flowers from October. to April.
Lobelia anceps is a hardy, fast growing ground-cover with small bright green leaves.
Monopsis unidentata is a fairly hardy, fast growing, dainty, evergreen groundcover with tiny leaves. It bears masses of delicate, deep purple flowers almost all year round. It prefers sunny damp spots and is pretty growing with smaller grasses such as Eragrostis capensis (Small Heart Seed Grass).
The flowers attract insects to the garden. It grows in sun or semi-shade and is attractive planted around ponds, along borders and in hanging baskets. It is at its best in an irrigated garden and requires regular feeding to keep it looking its best.
Size 10 to 15cm
Pelargonium betulium is a hardy, evergreen, rounded, bushy perennial with attractive, aromatic leaves that have purplish-red edges.
The large, showy, pink to white or purple flowers with dark purple streaks are borne from August to October and are beautifully marked with magenta margins on the upper two petals.
It grows in full sun or semi-shade but requires sandy, well-drained, well-composted soil and adequate water in winter.
Use as a border, an element of a cottage garden, in containers and hanging baskets.
The leaves contain essential oils.
Size 30cm to 1m
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.
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.
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.
Plectranthus madagascariensis aliciae is a fairly hardy, evergreen, semi-succulent, aromatic, herbaceous plant that has attractive, variegated leaves with white margins which are carried on long trailing stems.
It bears white, mauve or purple flowers from February to November. A useful groundcover in semi-shade or shade. It makes an attractive hanging basket.
It attracts insects and butterflies and therefore also birds to the garden.
Prune back after flowering. Plant in semi-shade or shade in well-drained, well composted soil.
Used in traditional medicine.
Size Up to 40cm
Plectranthus verticillatus is a fairly hardy, evergreen, flat, creeping, fast growing groundcover with soft, fleshy, round leaves.
The spikes of white-mauve flowers that are borne from January to May attract a whole host of butterflies and insects.
It is ideal for hanging baskets and prefers to grow in shade or semi-shade in well-drained, well-composted soil in moist conditions.
Prune back after flowering.
Size 15 to 25cm
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.
Talbotia elegans is a hardy, evergreen, groundcover with leathery, narrow leaves that are pleated and lie horizontally to form mats.
Beautiful, white, star-shaped flowers are borne on the tips of delicate stems that are held above the leaves from December to March.
Plant in amongst rocks in shady areas, as an accent plant or mass-plant in moist conditions under trees or in a container. A beautiful and unusual addition to a shade garden.
This plant requires well-drained, compost-rich soil and regular watering as it grows naturally in moist conditions.
Size: up to 25cm
Zantedeschia aethiopica is a very hardy, evergreen, clump-forming perennial with big, heart-shaped leaves.
The Arum Lily inflorescence has one distinctive large, white, cone-shaped petal and a central column which carries the tiny flowers and the yellow pollen.
Albuca nelsonii is a very hardy, robust, evergreen, clump forming bulb with strap-like, bright green leaves.
Clivia gardenii is a hardy, fairly slow growing perennial with dark, strap-shaped leaves.
It sends out side shoots to form quite large clumps.
Clivia robusta is a fairly hardy, evergreen perennial with dark, strap-shaped leaves.
It sends out side shoots to form quite large robust clumps that can reach up to 1.6m tall and produce buttress roots.
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
Aponogeton distachyos is a fast growing aquatic herb with glossy oblong leaves that float on the waters surface.
Sweetly scented, edible flowers stand up out of the water above the leaves, attracting attention. The flower is interesting in that it is a
forked inflorescence bearing tiny, white, one-petalled flowers with
Bees are very
attracted to the flowers and may be one of the main pollinators. Waterblommetjies flower in profusion during winter and
spring. Large areas of water in the Western, Southern and Eastern Cape
are covered with their sweetly scented, white flowers.
An excellent plant for ponds and dams, although where growing conditions are good, it needs cutting back and splitting to keep it from taking over. Rhizomes can be lifted in autumn and divided. Replant them immediately in good soil, in shallow water, and as they begin to grow in summer they can be moved into deeper water.
Plant in pots, in good soil, and place in full sun to partial shade for some of the day.
This is a well known local delicacy for the cold winter months. It has become so popular that many commercial plantings have been made in ponds around the western Cape. Cooked with onions, mutton or lamb and a few leaves of the local sorrel/suring (Oxalis pes-caprae), it makes a delicious stew.
Pelargonium acetosum is a hardy, evergreen, bushy but sometimes straggling ground cover with semi-succulent bright green leaves that are edged in red.
The gorgeous, brilliant, satiny- pink flowers vary from coral pink to almost white. There are two to seven flowers per stalk, and this groundcover bears flowers almost all year round.
The young leaves and buds are edible and have an acidic taste.
Size 20 to 60 cm
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.
Orthosiphon labiatus is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, fast growing shrub. It forms a much branched rounded shrub with aromatic, heart-shaped leaves.
From mid-summer to early winter it is covered in spikes of pinky-mauve tubular flowers that are irresistible to a number of insect pollinators. Butterflies especially enjoy the flowers.
Pruning it back in early spring encourages flowering. Ideal for smaller spaces, plant in sun or semi-shade.
Plant in well-composted soil, and although extremely drought hardy, watering well will keep it at its best.
Size to 1.5m
Plectranthus hereroensis is a hardy, attractive, fast growing, evergreen but short-lived shrub. It's broad, bright green leaves contrast beautifully with darker foliage planted behind it.
It is a particularly floriferous shrub, and if pruned regularly will bush out with many flowering stems. The deep bluish-purple flowers are borne in long tapered spikes from about April through to the end of May.
It is a host plant to a number of butterfly species, and an attractive food plant to bees and other insects.
This shrub will flower and grow best in full sun, which is unusual for most Plectranthus species. Plant in well-drained soil, and add plenty of compost for healthy plants.
If left unpruned, it can grow to 2m.
A most worthwhile addition to any garden, as it's lovely blue flowers contrast beautifully with other colourful plants flowering at this time of the year.
Some examples are Leonotis leonurus and some Aloe species, as well as Syncholostemon densiflorus and Euryops pectinatus. Although very drought hardy, it is suitable for gardens where frost is not too severe.
Plectranthus hereroensis is being investigated further for compounds found in its roots that have shown anti-bacterial activity.
Occurs in hilly terrain in sandy, dry savannah.
Size: up to 2m, but generally about 1m
Pycnostachys urticifolia is a hardy, evergreen, herbaceous perennial with angular pinky-brown stems and bright green, toothed leaves that are roughly triangular. The leaves are aromatic when crushed.
The flowers are borne in autumn (April to June) in spikes at the ends of branches. The beautiful deep blue to mauve flowers attract bees and other pollinating insects to the garden.
Hedgehog Sage is an ideal ingredient to a cottage garden, and contrasts beautifully with other plants flowering at this time of the year (for example: orange flowers of Leonotis leonurus and pink flowers of Hypoestes aristata and Syncolostemon densiflorus)
To make sure that one can benefit from the lovely flowers in late autumn, it needs to be planted in a spot that is protected from frost. It prefers well-drained, well-composted soil in sun or semi-shade.
Size: 1 to 2m tall
Crassula multicava is a hardy, evergreen, mat-forming, broad-leaved succulent plant.
It bears many sprays of dainty, star-shaped, pink flowers from May to November that attract a whole host of tiny insects.
Aloe brevifolia is a fairly hardy, dwarf Aloe with dense rosettes of broad, triangular and distinctly grey-green leaves which form clumps.
It bears cone shaped spikes of flowers in shades of red and yellow during October and November.
It is restricted to the Western Cape which has winter rainfall therefore this Aloe should be kept dry in summer.
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
Karomia speciosa (= Holmskioldia speciosa) is a hardy, deciduous, sparsely-branched shrub or small tree with smooth, pale-grey bark.
Senecio tamoides is a hardy, evergreen, succulent climber that has lovely, glossy, green leaves.
Aloe aristata is a very hardy, dwarf, stemless Aloe.
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.
Andrachne ovalis is a fairly hardy, deciduous shrub or small tree that has smooth, light grey bark and attractive dark-green leaves with bluish undersides.
It bears tiny clusters of white flowers in the axils of the leaves from November to March.
Aloe hybrid ‘Little Easy’ is a hardy, fast-growing, multistemmed, hybrid Aloethat makes an attractive scrambling shrub with dark-green foliage.
It is free-flowering with orange flowers tipped with yellow throughout the year.It is drought-resistant and attracts numerous birds and insects to the garden.
Prune back every few years to keep it looking neat and tidy.
Plant in well-drained soil.It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade during the day.
Size: 1m x 1m
Aloe rupestris is a hardy, drought-resistant, single-stemmed Aloe with spreading, bright-green leaves that are reddish along the edges.
It has a branched raceme of tubular, densely-packed, bright-orange to yellow, cylindrical flowers with protruding dark red stamens.The flowers, which look like bottlebrushes, are borne from July to September.
This is a lovely garden plant that should be positioned in amongst trees and shrubs, as it doesn’t grow too well in harsh sunlight.
Plant in well-drained soil to which a little lime has been added.
Size:up to 8m
Asparagus plumosus (=Asparagus setaceus) is a very hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant climber with twining branches.The branchlets spread on one plane and have small, fine leaves in compressed clusters. Red berries, that attract birds, follow the starry, white flowers that are borne from February to May.
The foliage is extensively used in flower arrangements. Good filler plant for shady areas.It makes a beautiful container plant.
Over time this plant will scramble and cover nearby plants so should be controlled by pruning and removing runners once or twice a year. Plant in shade or semi-shade.
Size: up to 3m
Podranea ricasoliana is a hardy, evergreen scrambler or climber with lush, bright, compound leaves.
The masses of gorgeous, large, scented, lilac-pink flowers are borne in loose clusters on and off throughout the year.The flowers attract insects to the garden.
This fast-growing plant is ideal for covering pergolas, along walls and on embankments.If pruned regularly and kept in shape it makes a great container plant.
Regular pruning will also ensure that it flowers well the following season.Plant in compost-rich soil but do prune regularly to keep it neat and of a reasonable size.
Size: 1m or as tall as its support
Senecio macroglossus is a fairly hardy, evergreen, slender, fast-growing creeper with attractive, glossy, semi-succulent, ivy-shaped foliage.
The lemon-yellow, daisy-like flowers are borne from March to July and attract insects to the garden.
Allow it to climb or use it as a beautiful groundcover.It is also beautiful planted in hanging baskets and containers.
It grows in sun or semi-shade, although doesn't do well in hot, dry areas. Plant in well-composted, well-drained soil.
Size: 20cm as groundcover / 2m as climber
Cyperus prolifer is a hardy, evergreen, small sedge. Each green stem is topped by a cluster of grass-like flower spikelets.
These very decorative stems can be used in flower arrangements. An attractive little plant that is ideal for planting in a small pond or wet area.
Helps to filter and keep water clean and healthy.Will gradually colonise a wet area through the repeated emergence of adventitious shoots.
Plant in sun or semi-shade.
Size: 30 to 40cm
Cyperus textilis is a hardy, evergreen, tall sedge that forms clumps of bare, green stems topped with upright, flat, narrow, spiky bracts that radiate out like the ribs of an umbrella.
Delicate, inconspicuous, green flowers are carried above the bracts in late summer.Attracts many birds such as Weavers, Waders and other water birds.
This tough plant is traditionally used amongst the Nama to weave huts, mats and baskets. It makes an attractive form plant that grows in water or other damp places.
Ideal for wetlands, water edges, bog gardens and the cleaning of grey water. Prune regularly to keep looking neat.
This Cyperus is a fast spreader and the rhizomes will cover an area rapidly.(It may need to be thinned out periodically.)
Plant in sun or semi-shade.
Acacia nigrescens (=Senegalia nigrescens) is a hardy, small to large stately deciduous tree is characterised by its knob-studded grey or yellow trunk and branches. The hooked spine-tipped knobs are prevalent on young trees but are less evident on older specimens.
Sweetly-scented spikes of creamy-white flowers are produced from August to November. When in flower this tree is alive and humming with the multitude of insects and birds that feast on the pollen and nectar offered up.
It is an important browse tree for game and generally indicates good ranching land.The graceful, tall canopy attracts Paradise Flycatchers and hole-nesting birds. It is the host plant of the Demon Emperor Butterfly.The wood is very hard and used extensively.
It makes a good bonsai and container subject.It grows in a wide variety of soil types in full sun.
Size: 5 to 18 metres
Acacia nilotica (=Vachellia nilotica) is a hardy, semi-deciduous, small to medium-sized, mushroom shaped tree with dark blackish-brown, fissured bark when mature and a dense crown.This fissured bark is home to many invertebrates and therefore attracts Woodpeckers and other insectivorous birds.
The masses of yellow puffball flowers adorn the tree on and off from September to April.The fragrant, distinctive ‘string of beads,’ decorative pods have a fruity smell and are excellent fodder.The edible gum makes a good quality glue.
Yellow, red or black dye can be made from the pods.The wood is easily worked for furniture and the whole tree has many medicinal and traditional uses This tree is a little slow-growing but is tough and very drought-resistant.
It grows in both well-drained and clayey soils in sun or semi-shade.
Size: 3 to 10 m
Acacia polyacantha (=Senegalia Polyacantha) is a fairly hardy, deciduous tree adds all-year-round beauty to a garden with its seasonal changes, from the pale, creamy, flaking bark on the stems that glow in the winter sunshine, to the spikes of glistening silver flowers in spring.
Added to this is the coolness of the dense bright-green, soft feathery leaves in summer, which turn dull olive-green in autumn before they drop. A truly spectacular tree that is fast-growing.
Paired hooked thorns vary in colour from brown to black and young branches are covered in hairs. The flowers are borne from September to December. Straight, flat brown pods hang on the tree from March to October.
Plant as a single specimen or as a beautiful avenue tree. It is a host to the larvae of various moth species and wood is believed to have both medicinal and magical properties. Protect young plants against frost.
It thrives in both well-drained and clayey soils in sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 15m
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).
Chironia linoides is a hardy, evergreen, many-branched, semi-succulent, low-growing, rounded, although lax, shrublet with slender, linear, little, blue-green leaves.
This delightful plant bears an abundance of satiny, bright pink flowers with centrally-massed, yellow stamens from December to February.
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.
Calodendrum capense is a hardy, semi-deciduous, large tree.
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.
Crinum moorei is a hardy, evergreen or semi-deciduous, very fast-growing bulb with beautiful broad, flat, bright-green leaves in a rosette on the end of a short stalk.
The long, flowering stalk carries a head of large, tubular flowers that form a beautiful umbel of pink to almost white flowers from October to January.
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
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
Freesia grandiflora is a fairly hardy, deciduous plant with fan of soft, bring green, flat leaves that arise from an underground corm.
The large, scarlet flowers look like bright red stars, with a darker red blotch in the centre of the flower. It blooms from December to April. The seeds that follow are bright orange.
It makes a beautiful garden subject, especially when planted amongst rocks and shorter grasses. It is also a lovely container plant.
Plant in full sun to semi-shade, in well-composted soil that drains well.
Size to 45cm
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
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
Plectranthus chimanimaniensis is a hardy, evergreen shrublet (protect the first winter) with small, semi-succulent, soft-textured and aromatic, dark-green leaves.
The numerous individual flowers are a delicate pink, with soft, pink wings that have a white lip. They are carried on strikingly long pink flower spikes which are borne in such abundance that they ensure that the flower-to-foliage ratio is particularly high. It appears that this gem is never out of flower, but is mainly in flower from spring to early winter.
Attracts butterflies and tiny insects to the garden. This is a useful garden and container plant.
Prune regularly. Tolerates light frost and drought. Plant it in compost-rich soil in full sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 80cm
Steganotaenia araliacea is a fairly hardy, variably deciduous, small tree with a lovely waxy sheen to its grey-green, peeling, papery bark. The pale green leaves with sharply toothed margins have a hair-like point.
The inconspicuous small, tightly bunched greenish white flowers appear from August to October, followed by papery seeds. All parts of the tree smell strongly of carrots. The flowers attract pollinating insects to the garden.
Plant in a rockery or succulent garden in a spot that is protected from the cold wind and in well-drained soil.
While it is most often found in full sun in its natural habitat, it will grow equally well in semi-shade in cultivation.
Size: 2m to 6m
Virgilia oroboides is a hardy, evergreen beautiful tree with smooth, silver-grey bark in young trees that becomes grey and rough with age. It has feathery, grey-green, Acacia-like leaves.
The scented pea-like flowers are pink, and, when the tree is in full flush from January to April, it is a sight to behold. They are rich in nectar and attract many pollinating insects and birds.
It is the host plant for the Lucerne Blue butterfly – Lampides boeticus.
As it is so fast-growing, it is an ideal plant for new gardens.
Plant in sun or light semi-shade, in well-drained soil.
Size: up to 10m
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
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
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
Combretum imberbe is a hardy, slow growing, bulky, deciduous tree which can grow to tremendous old age. The silvery-green leaves are unusually small for a Combretum.
The small, white, puffball flowers, borne from September to March, are very fragrant and attract a myriad of insects and birds.
Plant in sun or semi-shade to give a garden that Bushveld feel. Protect from frost when young.
The wood of this tree is extremely heavy and makes wonderful coals but should never be collected from the wild as it is an important part of the ecology of the bushveld and it is now illegal to collect it.
Size: up to 15m
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
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
Ficus sur is a fairly hardy, semi-deciduous, large tree with smooth grey bark. The thin, leathery leaves are dark almost grey-green and paler green beneath which make the tree shimmer in the wind. In spring the new leaves flush the tree with a beautiful coppery colour.
The figs are borne throughout the year on heavy, long branches off the main stems. The figs are, in fact, inverted flowers which bear tiny seeds on the inside. The sweet, edible, insect-filled fruits attract a myriad of birds to the garden.
It has many traditional and medicinal uses.
Do not plant figs near walls, pools, pipes or paving.
Plant in sum, semi-shade or shade in well-composted soil.
Size: 10 to 35m
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
Croton sylvaticus is a semi-hardy, occasionally deciduous trees with a dense crown of attractive large, bicoloured leaves that smell of almonds when crushed.
The spikes of creamy coloured flowers are carried long stalks are from September to January. Although the flowers are fairly nondescript they are followed by long bunches of apricot-orange coloured fruit that adorn the tree for many months.
Plant in well-drained soil in a protected position.
The seeds attract birds and it is also an important butterfly host plant.
Size: 7 to 13m
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
Markhamia zanzibarica is a fairly hardy, small, evergreen Bushveld tree with smooth or rough grey bark. It has compound, glossy, fresh green leaves. The really attractive feature of this small tree is its beautiful, bell-shaped, yellow and deep maroon flowers that are borne in clusters from September to February. They are followed by long, twisted pods (40cm) that turn dark brown. This is a significant feature of this tree.
Flowers attracts pollinating insects to the garden.
Plant in well-drained, well-composted soil, in sun or semi-shade.
Size: Up to 6m
Delosperma scabripes is a hardy, dainty, yet vigorous flat growing succulent. The thin stems are purple tinged when young, as are portions of the smooth, glossy, otherwise green leaves. The foliage alone of this plant is beautiful, let alone the intense magenta flowers that adorn the plant throughout the year. The typical ‘vygie’ type flowers look like purple ruby’s nestled amongst the foliage.
Being a prostrate grower, this plant lends well to container planting where it will cheerfully spill over the edges of pots or trail down low retaining walls. Should the older portions become a bit woody a light pruning will encourage fresh growth to reappear.
This species does best in a sunny position but can tolerate part sun too.
Size: to 20cm
Euphorbia ingens is a hardy, massive, tree-like succulent with a dense crown and a dark green stem. The branches have 4 wing-like angles with spines on the wing margins. The plant is shaped like a hot-air balloon. The yellow-green flowers are clustered around the spines from April to July and attract bees, butterflies and insects and are followed by reddish to purple fruit, which are relished by birds.
Birds will nest in this tree. Hole-nesting birds will nest in dead sections. This very drought-resistant tree makes a good container plant or accent plant in a succulent garden but must have well-drained soil.
Where the tree is damaged it will exude milky sap which is poisonous and can cause extreme skin irritation. This plant has many traditional and medicinal uses.
Plant in sun to semi-shade, in extremely well drained soil.
Size: up to 7,5m
Lannea discolor is a fairly hardy, deciduous tree with a lovely, rounded crown. The dark grey bark that cracks into blocks and peels off is an attractive feature of this tree. The bicoloured foliage is green above and grey beneath.
From September to October, the translucent, sweetly-scented creamy-yellow flowers are clustered at the tips of the branchlets and attract insects to the garden. The flowers are borne on the leafless tree which is particularly attractive. These are followed by conspicuous green fruits that turn purple when ripe. The fruits are edible and attract birds and other wildlife.
In nature, this tree is often associated with termite mounds. Used in traditional medicine and the wood is used to make fence posts.
Plant in well-drained soil in a protected position. Will do well in sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 15m
Watsonia borbonica ‘Persephone’ is a hardy, tall, summer deciduous, clump forming, bulbous plant with firm glossy sword-shaped leaves that create wonderful form and shape in the winter garden. This selection has magnificent, tall (up to 2m) spikes of finely scented large, delicate-pale-pink, trumpet-shaped flowers that are borne from October to November.
The flowers of this beautiful plant attract solitary bees, other insects and birds that feed on the nectar and seeds.
Beautiful in herbaceous borders, as a container or use as a form plant.
Plant in sun in well-drained composted soil. When the corms become too crowded, they inhibit flowering. Lift and divide them into clumps and transplant about every 3 to 5 years. Although winter growing, they also do well in summer rainfall areas as long as they are not overwatered in summer but water well in winter.