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
Tulbaghia violacea is a very hardy, evergreen, tuft forming bulbous plant, with semi-succulent, strap-like, grey-green leaves that are garlic scented when bruised.
Long stalks carrying umbels of delicate lilac to pink flowers are borne mainly from January to April. It will however bloom on and off almost all year in cultivation.
The flowers are sweetly scented at night and make excellent cut flowers. Use in the garden as a companion plant, particularly to deter aphids.
When sitting outside whack some of the leaves on your table or chair and this will deter flies and mosquitoes.
Used medicinally. It can also be used as a garlic substitute in salads, soups and stews. The flowers are a decorative addition to a salad.
An excellent groundcover for difficult areas as it can thrive in very poor soils and with very little watering.
Petalidium oblongifolium is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant small shrub with firm, broadly lanceolate silver-grey leaves that point upwards.
It bears attractive blue flowers on and off all year round.
Pelargonium ionidiflorum is a very hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant perennial with beautiful, incised leaves.
It bears clusters of gorgeous, violet-pink flowers with wine-red markings all year round.
Polygala fruticosa "Petite" is a hardy, evergreen, shrublet that has shiny, grey-green, heart-shaped leaves that have red margins. The young leaves are a shiny, coppery pink.
The clusters of gorgeous, magenta, pea-shaped flowers appear from August to May and attract bees and other pollinating insects to the garden.
This beautiful plant is great in a mixed border, rockeries, Terraforce walls or containers. Used in traditional medicine.
Plant in compost-rich soil in full sun or semi-shade and water well when planting and until settled. Thereafter it will tolerate quite dry conditions.
Salvia namaensis is a perennial, evergreen small shrub that is both drought and frost hardy.
It has fine, dissected little leaves that are lime green, tough and aromatic. They, as well as the young branches are covered in tiny little hairs. Young branches are reddish purple.
The small white to pale mauve flowers are borne in spring and summer. Many insects including bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers.
Plant in full sun, in well composted, well drained soil. Lovely contrasting foliage for bold-leaved plants with the same growing conditions. Makes a good container plant, but prune fairly regularly.
Size to about 1m
Salvia radula is a hardy, evergreen perennial with large, quilted, aromatic, grey-green leaves that have woolly, white undersides and are crowded at the base of the plant. The leaves are an attractive feature of the plant.
Luminescent, white flower spikes are borne during summer. These are showy and held well above the plant.
Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers. It has many medicinal uses.
Plant in groups to add texture and colour to a garden bed. Makes a great addition to a cottage-style garden and rockery.
Prune quite severely after flowering to keep in shape.
This drought-tolerant plant requires full sun and well-drained soil.
Size: 30 to 40cm
Wahlenbergia rivularis, the Bell Flower, is a very hardy, semi-deciduous perennial that spreads horizontally to form an attractive groundcover of soft, green foliage. It bears masses of white, bell-shaped flowers in summer that gently nod and dance in the slightest breeze. The flowers attract insects to the garden.
This beautiful plant looks great planted in amongst grasses in a grassland garden, planted as a border, along the edge of a pond and also makes a lovely addition to a cottage garden.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade, water regularly and prune back in winter as it can look a bit untidy.
Size: 30 to 40cm
Pelargonium graveolens is a hardy, evergreen shrub with large, velvety leaves that are strongly rose-scented. It bears showy, pinkish-white umbels of attractive flowers peaking in August to January. Attracts insects to the garden.
Geranium oil is produced from the fragrant leaves. The leaves can also be used to line cake baking tins to impart their flavour to the cake. Leaves can also be added to cordials for a pleasant taste. The beautiful leaves last well in a vase.
This many-branched shrub adds texture and fragrance to the garden and can be used in mixed borders and in a cottage style garden. Attractive when planted in containers and large hanging baskets.
Plant in well-drained, moist soil in semi-shade and prune to keep in shape.
Size: up to 1m
Tulbaghia violacea ‘Silver Lace’ is a hardy, evergreen, tuft-forming, bulbous plant with strap-like, variegated grey and white leaves that are garlic-scented when bruised. Umbels of delicate, lilac to pink flowers on long stalks are borne mainly from January to April, although it will bloom on and off almost all year in cultivation. The flowers are sweetly-scented at night and make excellent cut flowers.
When sitting outside, whack some of the leaves on your table or chair and this will deter flies and mosquitoes. The flowers are edible and look beautiful in salads. The leaves and bulb can be used as a garlic substitute in cooking. Used medicinally.
Use in the garden as a companion plant, particularly to deter aphids. An ideal groundcover for difficult areas as it can thrive in very poor soils, although it is lush and flowers better in well-composted soil. Grows in full sun or semi-shade.
Size: 10 to 25cm