Zanthoxylum capense is a hardy, deciduous to semi-deciduous small to medium-sized tree, with smooth, dark grey bark and broad, cone-shaped knobs that are topped with a short spine. The leaves are divided into leaflets, that are shiny and dark green above, and paler beneath. When crushed they are somewhat brittle and have a strong Citrus scent.
From October to February, the tiny, white, scented flowers are clustered at the ends of the branches. The male and female flowers are borne on separate trees. Female trees develop clusters of tiny orange-red fruits that split to release oil-rich black seeds. The fruit is edible but cause a burning sensation in the mouth.
Both flowers and fruit attract many insects and birds to the garden. It is a host plant to the Citrus Swallowtail and other Swallowtail Butterflies. This tree is widely used in traditional medicine remedies, and the wood is used for implements.
It makes an excellent container plant, or part of a forest garden or plant singly as a specimen tree to prune up and expose the interesting, knobbly stem.
Plant in semi-shade or full sun, in well-drained, compost rich soil.
Size: 2 to 15m
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
Haemanthus albiflos is a hardy, evergreen, shade-loving, bulbous plant with mainly broad, glossy, green, strap-like leaves, although they are very variable and can sometimes be hairy. The upper half of the bulb is bright-green and is exposed above ground.
The beautiful ‘paintbrush’-type inflorescence is borne from April to September. It has a papery, green calyx encasing a head of many long, thin, white flowers that are yellow-tipped with pollen. The orange-red berries that follow are an attractive feature.
The pollen attracts bees and butterflies to the garden while birds love the succulent berries. It is also used in traditional medicine.
This plant makes a wonderful container plant as it likes to be pot-bound. Use as an indoor plant as well. This is a shade-loving plant and, if left undisturbed, will flower and thrive in those dark, difficult areas of the garden.
Plant in well-drained, compost-rich soil. Remember when planting out to leave the top half of the bulb exposed.
Size: 20 to 25cm
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
Nuxia floribunda is a hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, neat and attractive tree that is quite small in drier conditions, but if its roots find water it can get quite big.
Pale grey, smooth bark contrasts beautifully with the glossy, dark-green leaves that turn quite purple in winter.
Its huge heads of showy, sweetly-scented, white flowers cover the tree from May to September. The flowers attract a whole host of small pollinating insects, moths and butterflies that in turn attract birds.
It has many magical and medicinal uses.
It grows well in a container, and is also a lovely tree with which to create a small forested area in the garden.
Plant in either full sun or semi-shade and water regularly.
Size: 3 to 10m
Clivia gardenii is a hardy, fairly slow growing perennial with dark, strap-shaped leaves.
It sends out side shoots to form quite large clumps.
Peddiea africana is a fairly hardy (not frost hardy), small, slender tree or large shrub, with dark grey-brown, fibrous bark. The shiny, dark green leaves are clustered at the ends of branches. New leaves are a shiny, pale green, giving a decorative contrast of foliage on the plant.
The clusters of yellowish-green flowers (Sept. to Feb.)
Rothmannia globosa is a hardy, evergreen (sometimes briefly deciduous) well-shaped, small tree with attractive bark that becomes neatly squared with age.
It has dark green glossy leaves.
Clusters of magnificent, white, bell-shaped, sweetly scented flowers adorn the tree from August to November. The large, round, leathery green fruits are sweet and juicy, but become hard and woody when dry.
The juice of the fruits, that stains blue, is used to heal wounds and burns.
Plant as an understory shrub under larger trees with light shade, such as Acacia species.
Plant in semi-shade in compost-rich, well-drained soil.
Size: 4 to 7m
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
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.
Duvernoia aconitiflora is a fast growing, hardy, evergreen shrub with glossy, light green leaves.
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.
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
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