Acacia karroo (= Vachellia karroo) is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, fast-growing and drought-resistant tree.
Abundant, fragrant, yellow puffball flowers light up the landscape, and adorn the tree intermittently (in response to rain) throughout summer.
The Acacia sieberiana woodii (=Vachellia sieberiana) is a hardy (protect from frost when young) large, semi-deciduous, flat-topped Acacia is fast growing.
Acacia caffra (=Senegalia caffra) is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, graceful tree with feathery foliage that gives the tree a weeping shape.
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.
Ficus sycomorus is a fairly hardy, medium to large spreading fig tree with a distinctive yellow stem that is often seen along riverbanks.
Kiggelaria africana is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, fast growing, medium to large sized tree which has very variable leaves.
Small, yellow flowers are borne from August to January, sexes are on separate trees, with solitary, larger, pendulous female flowers and smaller male flowers in clusters.
Aloe marlothii is a very hardy, large, upright, single-stemmed Aloe with a rosette of large, fleshy, thorny leaves.
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.
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.
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.
Searsia (Rhus) 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). These are followed by heavy bunches of round fleshy, pink to red-brown fruit that attracts birds.They are said to be edible but are sour.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade for a lovely spreading shade tree. It needs regular pruning to maintain its beautiful mushroom shape. If left un-pruned it makes a good addition to a tall shrubby back-planting or screen.
It is used both for furniture and in traditional medicine.
Size 3 to 20m
Searsia (=Rhus pendulina) is a very hardy, very fast growing, drought resistant, semi-deciduous shade tree with a willow-like habit. The leaves are a dull green and bark is light grey-brown and smooth on young branches, becoming rough and scaly as the branches mature.
The sprays of inconspicuous flowers (male and female flowers on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit) that attract insects are borne from September to January These are followed by bunches of fruit that attract birds.
Do not plant near walls, pools, pipes or paving as it has an aggressive shallow root system.
This is not a particularly long lived tree but is useful as a quick growing screening tree. Interplant with a longer living tree to ensure a permanent screen.
It throws pretty, delicately dappled shade.
Size up to 10m
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.
Vepris lanceolata is a hardy, evergreen, very attractive tree with apple green foliage.
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.
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.
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
Jasminum multipartitum is a very hardy, evergreen, fast-growing creeper or scrambler with small, glossy, dark-green foliage.
It bears masses of fragrant, white (with deep pink undersides), star-shaped flowers, from August to January.
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.
Acokanthera oppositifolia ia a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, medium to large upright, woody, shrub with brown, deeply fissured bark on the old wood.
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.
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
Euryops virgineus is a very hardy, fast growing, evergreen shrub that is both drought and wind resistant.
It has attractive, dense, fine bright green leaves and is covered in masses of small, golden-yellow flowers in winter and early spring.
The sweetly scented flowers attract insects to the garden.
Plant in full sun and prune back at least once a year after flowering and make sure it is watered in winter .
Bauhinia tomentosa is a hardy, fast growing, drought resistant, deciduous, scandent shrub with deeply lobed leaves, like butterfly wings.
It bears masses of lemon yellow, bell-like flowers with a purple blotch at the base of one petal and flowers throughout summer.
Plant in full sun or partial shade.
Rotheca myricoides (= Clerodendrum myricoides) is a fairly hardy, medium sized, evergreen, very decorative shrub with beautiful foliage.
It has massed spikes of purple flowers in spring and summer which attract the beautiful Carpenter Bees.
The edible fruit attracts birds to the garden.
Acacia burkei (=Senegalia burkei) is a hardy, deciduous, medium sized Acacia that has attractive, large round leaflets.
Spikes of white flowers from October to January are followed by bright red seed pods.
This beautiful specimen tree gives dense shade, but is a little slow growing.
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
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
Dovyalis longispina is a hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous shrub or small to medium-sized tree with glossy, dark-green, roundish, shiny leaves. The new growth is red.
The small whitish-yellow flowers appear in clusters from August to October Male and female flowers are on separate plants, therefore only female plants will bear fruit. The leaves drop during flowering but new leaves re-appear immediately.
The delicious, edible fruit is a beautiful pale red with white spots (they look a lot like strawberries).
The long, thin spines make this an ideal plant for a security hedge, but it is also an attractive garden plant. Attracts birds to the garden.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade in sandy or well-drained soil.
Size: 5 to 8m
Cassinopsis ilicifolia is a hardy, evergreen, decorative large shrub with glossy, bright green leaves and green stems.
The branchlets have a zigzag pattern and single spines.
Brachylaena rotundata is a hardy, semi-deciduous to deciduous, medium sized, drought resistant tree or large shrub with slender, drooping branches and corky bark. The attractive, leathery, silver-grey foliage is covered with cobwebby hairs especially when the leaves are young.
In autumn the leaves get a reddish tinge.
The tree is covered in yellow thistle-like flowers from August to September (the male and female flowers are on separate trees).
It is host to the moth Phyllonorycter brachylaenae.
Excellent garden subject.
Plant in sun or semi-shade, in well drained soil.
Size: 4 to 5m S.A. No. 730
Celtis mildbraedii is a fairly hardy, evergreen, medium-sized to large, slow-growing tree with light brown bark that flakes off in discs and contrasts beautifully with the leaves. The stem becomes fluted with buttress roots over time. As it is quite a slow-growing tree, the fluting could take time in cultivation. The glossy, leathery leaves are a lovely dark almost bluish-green.
The small, inconspicuous flowers are borne from August to April and are followed by red, fleshy fruits which attract birds.
Taking into account that my trees are planted in a protected position, they have never been affected by frost even though we have occasionally had black frost, so I think they are a lot hardier than most people think. This is one of the rarest trees in South Africa and maybe in the world.
It thrives in very low light conditions and can be used successfully as an indoor plant.
Plant in well-composted soil in a shady position.
Size: Up to 30m
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.