Acacia mellifera (=Senegalia mellifera) is very drought resistant, hardy, thickset, deciduous Acacia with vicious, hook thorns.
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.
Acacia caffra (=Senegalia caffra) is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, graceful tree with feathery foliage that gives the tree a weeping shape.
Euclea crispa is a very hardy, drought resistant, small evergreen tree has a white stem and beautiful blue-green or olive-green leaves.
Buddleja saligna is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, drought resistant tree with silver-grey leaves and beautiful twisted bark that looks almost woven.
It bears profuse panicles of sweetly scented, white flowers from August to January that attract insects and birds.
Combretum krausii is a hardy, fast growing, semi-deciduous tree with glossy dark green leaves that turn vivid red and purple in autumn.
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.
Gymnosporia buxifolia is a very hardy, drought resistant, semi-deciduous, small tree or large shrub. It is armed with formidable long, straight spines.
Blooms profusely with white flowers that cover the branches from August to March.
Heteropyxis canescens is a rare, hardy, small, semi-deciduous tree that occurs in forested ravines and riverine forests in a restricted area of Mpumalanga and Swaziland.
It has beautiful, sparkling, beige bark that flakes off in patches leaving attractive blotches.
The quite large, decorative leaves have interesting venation and smell of lavender when crushed.
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.
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.
Freylinia tropica "Blue" is a very hardy, evergreen, slender shrub that has spreading branches, smooth grey bark and shiny, bright green leaves.
It blooms profusely in late winter when little else is flowering but does bear some bright blue flowers throughout the year.
It makes a good screen plant and can be clipped into a formal hedge or used in an informal hedge. It also makes a beautiful container plant.
It grows in sun or semi-shade.
Attracts insects and butterflies to the garden.
Size 1 to 3m
Olea europaea africana is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant tree with gorgeous silvery foliage and a rounded crown.
It bears scented, greenish flowers from October to December followed by delicious edible small black Olives (these can be eaten directly from the tree and need no treatment to make them edible).
It is an excellent bird and insect tree that is much favoured by wildlife.Birds love to probe under the rough dark bark for insects.
Pappea capensis is a hardy, evergreen, very attractive, small to medium sized, neatly shaped, dense tree.
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 elongatus is the smallest of the Yellowwood trees and is very hardy and evergreen.
It has attractive narrow, blue-green leaves and is slow growing.
The female cones develop into fleshy, bright red, edible fruits with 1 or 2 seeds that mature rapidly.
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.
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) lancea is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant tree with a graceful, weeping form. The dark, fissured bark contrasts beautifully with the long, thin, bright, trifoliate leaves.
The inconspicuous yellow-green flowers (male and female flowers on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit) from June to September attract insects and are followed by bunches of edible fruit that attract birds. The small flowers are borne in abundance and give the tree a lacy look when in bloom.
An excellent garden subject that thrives in clay soils and is fast growing if watered regularly. Having said that it is also drought hardy. Extremely popular street tree and a good avenue tree. Makes a great climbing tree for children if the lower branches are not pruned off.
Plant in sun or semi-shade in virtually any soil type.
Size up to 8m
Searsia (=Rhus) leptodictya is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, small, decorative tree with a drooping crown of bright green foliage. The bark on young stems is reddish brown, becoming darker and rougher as the tree matures. The lovely reddish wood is used to make beautiful small pieces of furniture.
The inconspicuous flowers (male and female flowers on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit) are borne from January to April. These are followed by bunches of edible fruit which attract birds to the garden.
It grows in most soil types and makes a beautiful, graceful tree that is ideal for a small garden in sun or semi-shade. It is also beautiful as a small avenue tree.
A valuable fodder tree especially in times of drought.
Size 3 to 4m
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
Vepris lanceolata is a hardy, evergreen, very attractive tree with apple green foliage.
Leucosidea sericea is a decorative, very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, low branching small, tree with aromatic leaves that have silvery hairs.
The yellowish-green flowers that are borne from August to December are sticky with nectar and held in candle-like spikes. The flowers attract many insects with their pollen and nectar.
It has attractive, dark, fissured, peeling stem bark. One can make the most of this by pruning them up to have clean stems or trunks and lower branches. It makes a beautiful specimen tree in a small garden.
Requires regular watering or plant in damp areas to keep it looking good.
Aloe arborescens is a very hardy, drought-resistant, large, branched Aloe with narrow, curved, bluish-grey leaves that form rosettes.
Aloe arborescens yellow is a very hardy, drought resistant, branched Aloe with narrow curved, bluish-grey leaves that form rosettes.
Three to four flowering stems of yellow flowers arise from each rosette and bloom all winter.
Halleria elliptica is a hardy evergreen shrub, with very showy, orange-red, broadly tubular flowers in summer and winter.
The olive green foliage turns purple in winter which contrasts beautifully with the orange-red flowers.
Aloe ciliaris is a hardy, climbing Aloe with stems climbing up to 5m if they are supported, but otherwise makes a lovely, clump forming sprawling shrub.
The leaves are in loose rosettes around the stem and fringed with white hairs.
Cenchrus ciliaris is a tufted, shrubby perennial grass with bright green to blue-green leaves that are up to a metre long.
The grass culms are jointed, and roots often arise at these joints or nodes.
The flower spikes are bristly and cat-tail like, carried on stalks just above the leaves.
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
Leonotis leonurus is a very hardy, drought and frost resistant, evergreen perennial shrub.
This well-loved, decorative shrub has masses of showy, compact clusters of orange or white, velvety flowers repeated in circles up the length of every long stalk from February. to July.
An important food and nectar plant for sunbirds, bees and butterflies during autumn and winter.
Plant in sun or semi-shade and cut back severely after flowering for best results and mass flowering the next season.
It has been grown as a garden plant in Europe since the 1600s.
It is extensively used as a traditional medicinal and magical herb.
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.
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.
Hypericum revolutum is a hardy, evergreen, medium-sized to large, fast-growing, moisture-loving shrub with reddish-brown, scaly bark.
Acokanthera oppositifolia ia a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, medium to large upright, woody, shrub with brown, deeply fissured bark on the old wood.
Asparagus laricinus is a very hardy, evergreen, shrubby Asparagus with fine, feathery foliage and silvery, zigzag branchlets.
It has a myriad of tiny, white, nectar-rich flowers in spring and summer that are fragrant and attract insects and birds.
Freylina tropica is a very hardy, evergreen, slender shrub that has spreading branches, smooth grey bark and shiny, bright green leaves.
It blooms profusely in late winter when little else is flowering but does bear white or lilac flowers throughout the year.
Attracts insects and butterflies to the garden.
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
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 .
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.
Portulacaria afra is a hardy, evergreen, neatly shaped, small tree or shrub with pretty round, succulent leaves and ruby red branches.
The leaves have a pleasant acid flavour and can be used in salads.
From October to January, after rain, it is covered in clear pink to rosy mauve, nectar rich flowers - a wonderful sight. The papery 3-winged ornamental fruits resemble pinkish lanterns.
Plant in well-drained soil in sun or shade.
Useful for binding soil.
Psychotria capensis is a fairly hardy, evergreen shrub or small tree that is nicely shaped with leathery, glossy leaves.
It is a great foliage plant.
Sansevieria pearsonii is a hardy, evergreen succulent with a fan of cylindrical, hard, ribbed leaves that overlap near the base. The leaves end with a hard, sharp spine.
It bears a tall spike of pinkish-brown flowers on and off for most of the year. The scented flowers generally open at night. The orange berries that follow are relished by birds.
This plant multiplies at the base by producing offshoots, and forms large clumps which add a structural element to a shady, dry garden or rockery. It also makes an attractive container plant.
Plant in semi-shade or shade in well-drained, sandy soil. Water sparingly.
Size: up to 1m
Scutia myrtina is a hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, thorny shrub with beautiful glossy, tiny leaves.
The new growth of leaves is a pretty bronze colour.
Bauhinia tomentosa is a hardy, fast growing, drought resistant, deciduous, scandent shrub with deeply lobed leaves, like butterfly wings.
It bears masses of lemon yellow, bell-like flowers with a purple blotch at the base of one petal and flowers throughout summer.
Plant in full sun or partial shade.
Dracaena aletriformis is a fairly hardy, evergreen, shade loving, Yucca-like accent plant.
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
Carissa edulis is a hardy, much-branched, evergreen, fast growing shrub or climber that has glossy, leathery leaves, which are sometimes hairy and have red growing tips. The hard rigid spines are almost always single.
Masses of beautiful, white flowers tinged with pink appear from September to December. These are followed by edible fruit that turns purplish-black when ripe, and because it is so sweet and juicy, makes a good jam or jelly.
The fruits attract birds to the garden.
It makes a good hedging plant, whether pruned to keep compact or left to grow freely. It needs to be controlled in a smaller garden but can be allowed to grow wild if you have the space where it will scramble through the trees.
Can be grown in semi-shade, but prefers full sun and flowers more profusely in the sun.
Size 1 to 3m
Acacia brevispica (=Senegalia brevispica) is a hardy, semi-deciduous, robust, prickly, scrambling Acacia that can be trained into a large beautiful shrub.
It has feathery, large, soft, bipinnate leaves with small hook thorns along the ribs on the underside.
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
Maytenus undata is a very hardy, evergreen large or small tree. Its height is very variable, and depends on the area in which it is growing. The colder it is the smaller the tree. The bark is grey-brown with patches flaking off and leaving pinkish blotches.
One can tell the hardiness by the foliage form - the smaller and more leathery the leaves, the hardier the tree. The foliage is variable in size and colour from pale to dark-green and gives off a musty scent when rubbed.
It bears creamy-white flowers all summer (from September to May).
In April the tree produces black seeds covered with orange flesh that attract birds.
Makes a good garden subject or container plant and is a must for a wildlife garden.
Plant in semi-shade or sun.
Size: 1 to 6m
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
Metalasia muricata is a hardy, evergreen medium-sized shrub that is very variable in appearance and frost hardiness, depending on the region in which it occurs. This rounded, robust, sturdy shrub has fine silvery grey-green, needle-like foliage. The leaves can be smooth or woolly.
In winter, the shrub is covered in honey-scented clusters of tiny white to pinky-purple flowers.
The flowers attract many pollinating insects, and the seeds are eaten by birds.
Dried leaves are used as tea in Lesotho.
It is useful as a tall filler in flower beds, providing grey-green foliage for colour and textural contrast. In some coastal areas, this species is used with other plants to stabilise sand dunes. As it is drought and wind tolerant, it can be used to screen lower plant beds from the wind.
Plant in sunny areas, in sandy, well drained soils. It can also tolerate acidic soils.
Size to 4m
Buddleja auriculata is a very hardy, beautiful, evergreen, fast growing shrub with a weeping habit and beautiful black-green glossy leaves that are white on the underside.
From July to August, it bears beautifully fragrant creamy white flowers with an orange centre. The flowers of the Weeping Sage are borne profusely in small rounded clusters that are densely packed along the stems towards the ends of gracefully arching branches.
When planted close together or with other shrubs it makes an effective windbreak. It also makes a beautiful, large informal hedge.
It can be planted as a specimen but prune fairly regularly to keep it in shape. It attracts insect-eating birds and many pollinating insects including butterflies to the garden.
Planted in conjunction with B. saligna and B. salviifolia it ensures a long fragrant blooming season.
Plant in sun or semi-shade, in well composted, well drained soil.
Size 2 to 4m
Jasminum angulare is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant climber with glossy, dark-green, trifoliate leaves.
The clusters of star-shaped, white flowers look velvety and are sweetly-scented, especially at night.
These wonderful flowers are borne from October to January and attract a whole host of tiny insects. They are followed by decorative black berries that attract birds to the garden.
Used for both medicinal and magical purposes. This is quite a delicate climber that can be trained over arches and along fences and walls. It also grows well in containers.
Use as a climber or as a rounded shrub depending on how it is pruned.Plant close to a patio or window where the wonderful scent when it is in flower can be appreciated.
It takes a little time to settle once planted out, but once it has done so, it grows quite quickly. Flowers add a delicious scent to potpourri.
Regular pruning will keep it in shape and encourage flowering. Plant in sun or semi-shade in compost-rich soil.
Size: Climbs 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
Noltea africana is a very hardy, evergreen, very fast growing, small to medium sized tree.
The glossy leaves are darker above and paler underneath, and have purple petioles. The branchlets are also purplish-red.
The flowers are pretty, small, white sprays borne in the axils of the leaves from August to September. The black seeds are encased in a three-lobed, brown woody capsule that splits to release them when ripe.
A decorative tree that is ideal for the smaller garden but should be kept as a single stem.
Grows well in sun and semi-shade.
Hyparrhenia tamba is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, impressive, tall grass with blue, almost turquoise, leaves and thick stems.
They also display beautiful colours of yellow and red as they mature, when planted in full sun. The tangled flower- and seed-heads also have a turquoise hue and are borne from January to June.
Plant in containers, or as a backdrop to a grassland garden. It is beautiful planted in pots as a screen on balcony gardens or in small gardens. It is also useful as a soil stabilizer, especially in damp areas.
Plant in sun or light semi-shade areas. This grass should be cut back every two or three years and raked to remove the thatch.
Size: 2 to 2.5m
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.
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
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
Sclerochiton apiculatus is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, scrambling shrub for sun or semi-shade.
It takes well to pruning, so Blue Lips is useful for smaller gardens, and can be used as a backdrop to a bed, a screening plant or in a mixed herbaceous border.
It also makes an attractive container plant.
From November to April it bears beautiful, scented, blue flowers with silvery undersides.
Size: Up to 2 metres
Sparrmannia africana is a hardy, mostly evergreen, fast growing large shrub that branches fairly low down. Although a fairly scraggly shrub, it has dense foliage of heart-shaped, light green, very hairy leaves.
The lovely white flowers with a crown of tufted yellowish orange stamens are borne in heads throughout spring (August to October). The stamens are sensitive to touch – spreading out when they sense being touched / landed on. Seeds are released when the spiky small fruit dries and splits open.
The fibres from the stems are used to make rope. It is well known as a house and container plant overseas, and can be used as an interesting tall backdrop to a flower bed.
Plant in shade or semi-shade, in well-composted soil. Water regularly.
Size to 4m
Ruspolia hypocrateriformis is a fairly hardy, evergreen, scrambling woody shrub with bright green foliage. The spikes of showy pink to red flowers with darker spots on their lower petals are borne at the tips of new growth throughout summer and into autumn.
Butterflies are attracted to the garden by the large amount of nectar that these flowers produce. The flowers are followed by a dry capsule which splits with a loud crack to release the seed within.
Makes an interesting garden subject as a shrub and can be trained up as a climber. It is not readily available in nurseries.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade, in fertile, well-drained, loamy soil.
Size: 1m but can climb to about 4m
Miscanthus junceus is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, tall, water related grass.
This tall elegant grass forms large tufts.
It bears long elegant flower heads of tiny brown flowers from February to June.
It can be used to stabilise stream banks, plant on the edge or even in a pond, use as a feature plant in the garden or a container but it does require regular watering to keep it looking its best. It can also be used to help purify water.
As with all grass cut back at the end of winter to keep it looking its best. Plant in well-drained in full sun.
Size 1 to 1.5m
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
Buddleja glomerata is a very hardy, evergreen, large shrub or small tree with light brown, bark that peels in strings.
Searsia [=Rhus] burchellii is a very hardy, evergreen, large shrub with dark-brown bark and small, glossy, waxy leaves. The foliage is beautiful and adds texture to the garden.
It flowers from February to April, with sprays of inconspicuous flowers. Male and female flowers are on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit.
The flowers attract pollinating insects and therefore insectivorous birds to the garden. The flowers are followed by bunches of reddish-brown fruit. The flowers and fruit attract birds to the garden.
Use in an informal hedge, as a screen or as an element of a bush clump.If pruned into a standard it makes a lovely small tree.
This is a really tough, drought-resistant plant for full sun or semi-shade areas.
Size: up to 3m
Gymnosporia harveyana is a hardy, evergreen, spiny shrub that is densely leafy and has long, slender, straight spines. The beautiful, glossy, dark-green foliage is a distinctive feature of this plant.
From October to May it bears clusters of small, white flowers that attract insects. These are followed by white berries on slender stalks. From November to June the berries turn ruby-red and adorn the tree. When these split, birds are attracted to the food source.
As it is either in flower or fruit all year round it is a great addition to a wildlife garden.
It has many uses – it can be pruned to form a small tree, trimmed into a formal hedge, left as an informal hedge or planted in a security barrier. It also makes a beautiful container and accent plant.
This stunning plant grows in deep or filtered shade. Plant in shade to semi-shade, in compost-rich, well-drained soil and give it moderate water.
Size: 1 to 4m
Acacia ataxacantha (=Senegalia ataxacantha) is a hardy, deciduous Acacia that can grow as a scrambling shrub or medium sized tree with many hooked prickles. It is drought resistant and fairly fast-growing.
The fine leaves are either bright green or blue green and are densely hairy.
It bears spikes of creamy flowers from November to February. These are followed by attractive, flattened deep red to maroon pods.
The Satyr Charaxes butterfly uses it as a host plant. It is used in traditional medicine, and the wood is split to weave baskets.
This tree is ideal to plant as a security hedge, as its tangled thorny branches will climb through other plants and create an impenetrable barrier.
It requires well drained soil and full sun, but can tolerate light, dappled shade to semi-shade.
Size: 5 to 10m
Argyrolobium tomentosum is a hardy, evergreen shrub that can be scrambling or upright. The trifoliate leaves are an attractive feature of this shrub.
The bright, yellow pea-like flowers are orange or red as they age and are borne profusely in spring and summer although there are a few flowers all year round.
It attracts insects and birds to the garden.
It is used extensively as a medicinal plant.
Use as a screen or a small bushy shrub in a mixed border or allow to scramble up trees where its bright-yellow flowers will brighten up a shady bed.
Plant in semi-shade and prune once a year to keep in shape. It only requires moderate watering once established.
Freylinia lanceolata is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, graceful shrub with a lovely weeping shape. The long, drooping lanceolate leaves add to the shape. Bunches of creamy-yellow, fragrant, tubular flowers, appear in profusion from May to August when little else is flowering.
A few flowers will appear sporadically during the rest of the year. The flowers smell of honey and their nectar attracts a myriad of butterflies and other insects. It can be clipped into a formal hedge but does need a lot of maintenance. Prune regularly to keep looking neat.
It grows well in a sunny garden although it does tolerate partial shade. It grows naturally along streams and enjoys wet conditions, but also grows well in a normally irrigated garden.
Carissa macrocarpa is a hardy, drought resistant, dense, spiny shrub to small tree with large leathery, dark green, glossy leaves.
It has large, beautiful, scented, white flowers that are followed by large edible red fruits on and off throughout the year.
It attracts butterflies and fruit eating birds to the garden.
Duvernoia aconitiflora is a fast growing, hardy, evergreen shrub with glossy, light green leaves.
Aloe tenuior Orange is a hardy, pretty, dainty, rambling Aloe that bears spikes of bright orange flowers. It has long, narrow, sheathing leaves, crowded in a loose rosette at the tip of the branches. In cultivation, it flowers freely, for most of the year, but mainly from May to August.
A good ‘bee plant’ that has many traditional uses. It will form large bush clumps, making it a useful landscape plant.
This Aloe grows well in a normally-irrigated garden that has well-drained soil and will grow in full sun or semi-shade.
Size: Up to 3m
Hyparrhenia hirta is a very hardy, evergreen, large, dense, tufted, perennial grass that develops beautiful autumn colours. It bears insignificant flowers from September to June.
It is one of the best host plants for butterflies and moths – butterflies such as Aeropetes tulbaghia (Mountain Beauty), Dira clytus (Cape Autumn Widow), Tarsocera cassus (Spring Widow), and the beautiful Rosy Pink moth, Decachorda rosea. It is palatable before flowering. Thereafter, it is cut and used as thatching grass.
It becomes dominant in disturbed areas. In the garden, use as a backdrop, a screen or as an element in a grassland 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 well-drained soil, but it will tolerate heavier soils where it sometimes grows along riverbanks.
Size: Flowering stem up to 1.5m
Melianthus major is a hardy, evergreen, decorative shrub with large, neatly serrated, blue-green, compound leaves that are strongly aromatic when touched. From July to October the maroon flower spikes are carried above the foliage, and their dripping nectar attracts Sunbirds and insects to the garden. The black seeds are carried in decorative, pale-green translucent bladders.
Used medicinally. Needs to be pruned back hard after flowering. The plant will then send up beautiful new shoots and look neat and tidy. Prefers a damp situation and makes a good accent plant in sun or semi-shade particularly near water. Plant in well-composted soil and ensure adequate watering for best results.
Size: up to 2,5m
Bauhinia galpinii is a hardy, deciduous, drought and frost resistant rambling shrub or climber with bi-lobed leaves that look like butterfly wings.
Salvia dolomitica is a very hardy, evergreen, small shrub with attractive, grey-green, aromatic leaves. The spikes of beautiful pale lilac spikes of flowers are borne in spring and summer (September to February). They attract bees and other pollinating insects to the garden. The calyx persists on the plant and turns a deep purple and only drops when the seeds are ready to be dispersed.
Plant in an herbaceous border, or use as a small screening plant. It is a beautiful subject in a container.
Prune back hard after flowering to encourage bushiness. Grows in full sun but requires well-drained, well-composted soil.
Psydrax obovata is a hardy, evergreen, medium sized, fairly fast-growing tree with angular branching patterns and almost white bark which becomes fissured with age.
It bears dense clusters of small, white, tubular flowers from November to January which are sweetly scented and attract insects to the garden. These are followed by bunches of black, edible fruit that attract fruit eating birds.
Although this tree can grow up to 12 meters tall with a fluted stem in forest conditions - in dry, cold places it is only a shrub. If allowed to branch from the bottom, it makes a wonderful dense screen. The beautiful stems make them perfect for planting in groves.
It is an import element of the coastal dune forest, helping to stabilize the dunes.
I will never forget these trees as I saw my first Bar-Throated Apalis hopping around in them, searching for insects.
Plant in full sun or semi shade in well-drained compost rich soil.
Size: 3 to 12m
Rhoicissus digitata is a hardy, evergreen, robust, woody climber that has attractive foliage. The three or five-partite glossy leaves have russet colored new growth and tendrils for climbing. It can climb up to 10 meters or more or make a mounding shrub about 1.5
Allophylus natalensis is a hardy, evergreen shrub or small tree with smooth or wrinkled, greyish-brown bark. It has a dense crown of firm, shiny, dark green, Searsia (Rhus)-like, trifoliate leaves.
Massed clusters of small whitish green, sweetly scented flowers are borne from March to July and attract butterflies and other insects.
The clusters of conspicuous shiny red, edible berries can weigh the branches down. They make a lovely show from June to August and attract birds.
A beautiful tree for small gardens as well as a great screening plant that can also form a decorative, specimen shrub once established.
Plant in sun or shade, in well drained soil.
Size: 2 to 5 meter
Kylinga alba is an extremely hardy, sedge with a basal, grass-like tuft of bright green leaves.
The clustered white flower head is carried on a long slender stem and has long green bracts. The flowers are borne in summer.
Even though it is a sedge it does not thrive in wet areas but does tolerate moist or dry conditions.
A pretty addition to a grassland garden. Traditionally used to make beer strainers.
Size: 30 to 45cm
Crassula arborescens is a hardy, evergreen, succulent, tree-like Crassula, which is unusual for this genus as they are usually relatively small plants. It has a thick, fleshy trunk with smooth, grey-green bark. The fleshy, bright green leaves have a pretty red rim. They have a waxy, powdery bloom which helps to keep them cool.
The attractive clusters of pink or white flowers are carried in densely packed, rounded, branched, flowering heads from August to December.
The flowers are nectar-rich and attract birds and insects to the garden. It has many medicinal uses.
This unusual tree makes a great form and container plant. Plant as an element of a rock garden, on slopes or in a succulent garden.
Flowers best in full sun but also grows well in semi-shade. Plant in well-drained soil.
Size: up to 3m