Bauhinia petersiana is a hardy, deciduous, spreading bush with beautiful grey-green bi-lobed leaves that look like butterfly wings.
It bears magnificent, frilly, large, fragrant white flowers in December and January.
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.
Curtisia dentata is a medium-sized, hardy, evergreen tree that can grow quite large in moist forested areas.
Erythrina latissima is a fairly hardy, medium sized, sturdy, deciduous tree with magnificent, huge, leathery leaves.
The compact, huge spikes of red to scarlet flowers appear on the leafless tree in late winter and early spring. These are followed by long pods, sometimes in bunches, which split to reveal beautiful orange-red seeds.
The bark is rough and corky and completes the picture of a stocky beautiful specimen tree.
It needs well-drained soil and protection from frost when young.
Kigelia africana is a fairly hardy, very fast growing, briefly deciduous, medium sized tree. It has a straight stem and a rounded crown. The large compound leaves are clustered at the ends of the branches with lovely coppery coloured new growth.
Rauvolfia caffra is a hardy, evergreen to briefly deciduous, upright tree with beautiful large, glossy drooping, lanceolate leaves. The trumpet-shaped, small, white flowers are carried in clusters at the end of the branches from May to October and are sweet smelling, attracting swarms of bees as well as wasps and butterflies.
Plant in a protected position. As it grows naturally in swamp forest it can tolerate seasonal inundation of water and it is also considered an indicator of ground water. This upright tree makes a good form plant in the larger garden, and a neat shade tree.
Plant in compost rich soil and ensure it has enough water. Be aware that it has an invasive root system.
It is used extensively for medicinal purposes.
Size 7 to 15m
Plectranthus ciliatus is an outstanding fairly hardy, evergreen groundcover with attractive quilted leaves that have purple undersides and purple stems.
It has spikes of white or mauve flowers from September to May, that attract insects and butterflies to the garden.
Sutera cordata (=Chaenostoma cordatum) is a hardy, evergreen, flat, creeping groundcover with attractive, round, bright little leaves.
It bears masses of small, starry white flowers that have an unmistakable yellows centre almost all year round.
A useful garden plant as it grows in sun or shade. Use it as a groundcover or between stepping stones.
It also makes a stunning hanging basket and container plant but does need regular watering especially when growing in full sun.
Size 10 to 15cm
Gloriosa superba is a hardy, deciduous, trailing or scrambling plant with shiny light green leaves that taper to tendrils at the tips, which help it to climb.
It grows from a ‘U’ shaped tuber that is deeply buried.
Gardenia cornuta is a small, evergreen, decorative tree. It is multi-stemmed with grey-green mottled bark on erect, stiff branches.
The leaves are clustered at the ends of the hard twigs, and are shiny light green with wavy margins.
Scented, star-like white flowers adorn the tree from December to March, making it a sight to behold. They fade to creamy yellow as they get older.
These are followed by oval woody fruit that turn yellow. The fruit is eaten by monkeys when it is young, and nyala also relish the fruit.
Plant in a spot that is protected from frost, in sun or very light, dappled shade.
Size up to 5m
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
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
Strophanthus speciosus is a semi-hardy, evergreen small tree, shrub or climber with greenish bark that has raised white dots. The leaves are leathery and, like the rest of the plant, contain a poisonous, water sap.
The flowers, borne from September to December, are striking – with long spidery tepals that are creamy yellow to orange, with a brighter orange marking towards the centre of the flower.
The greenish yellow, two-horned fruit that develops after flowering becomes brown, and splits to release seeds attached to silky hairs that assist with dispersing them by wind.
The seeds, leaves and latex of this plant are poisonous, and are nevertheless used in traditional medicine – particularly in the treatment of snakebites.
An interesting container plant, that can be grown as a woody climber or planted and pruned up to remain a small tree or large shrub. It requires well-composted soil, moderate watering and plant in a semi-shade to shady position.
Size: can climb up to 10m if supported
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