Haplocarpha scaposa is a very hardy, fast growing, deciduous perennial plant with a basal rosette of attractive large, grey-green leaves that have white woolly undersides.
In its first season it starts to bear large yellow flowers on long stalks resembling the well-known Barberton Daisy.
It blooms from September to March (remove the old flower stems before they seed).
It attracts insects to the garden.
Melinis repens is a hardy, tufted, weakly perennial grass with greyish green leaves.It has beautiful plumes of hairy, pink flowers that become pale, almost white as they mature. Flowers and seeds from September to June.
This is the grass you see along the roads shining in the sun. It generally grows in disturbed areas, regardless of soil type.It is a good soil stabiliser interplanted with other perennial grasses or groundcovers.
The seeds attract seed eating birds.
Plant in sun or semi-shade.
Lapeirousia sandersonii is a very hardy deciduous bulbous plant with narrow pleated leaves.
It bears branched stems of spectacular mauve flowers with dark purple streaks in delicate, many flowered heads that are borne from November to March.
They attract tiny insects to the garden.
This beautiful grassland plant can be planted amongst grasses in rockeries and in containers.
You can also plant a group together in a cottage garden but make sure they are planted in an area where their beauty can be appreciated.
Plant in full sun to very light shade in well composted, well drained soil.
This plant is seldom offered for sale as seed is quite hard to come by.
Size 20cm to 30cm
Melinis nerviglumis is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, dense, tufted, perennial grass with beautiful grey leaves.
The gorgeous plumes of shiny fluffy pink to red seeds appear all year round and attract small seed eating birds.
It makes an attractive addition to a grassland garden planted in sun or semi-shade.
Planted en masse, with the sun shining on the fluffy spikes, they are a wonderful sight.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade, in well drained soil. As with all grasses it should be cut back in late winter and raked to keep it healthy.
Size 35 to 80cm
Pogonarthria squarrosa is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, tufted perennial grass. The short brown racemes of flowers curve upwards, making a herringbone pattern, thus the common name.
The flowers are borne from November to May and attract small seed eating birds. Plant in groups to get the full effect of the flowers and seed heads.
A beautiful garden plant that should be pruned down to about 5cm above ground level and raked every year in late winter.
It makes an attractive addition to a grassland garden, and as it is not a very robust grass, it lends itself to being planted in between wildflowers. Plant in sun or semi-shade, in well drained soil.
Size 30 to 50 cm
Scabiosa columbaria "Butterfly Pink" is a hardy, evergreen, soft, clump-forming, herbaceous perennial with attractive, deeply-lobed, grey-green foliage.
This hybrid, free-flowering perennial has large, showy, pink flowers carried on slender erect stems all year round.
Gladiolus crassifolius is a very hardy, deciduous, bulbous plant with erect, robust leaves that have a yellow midrib and margin and are carried in a fan (crassifolius = thick-leaved).
The tall spikes of flowers are borne mainly in spring and summer. The flower colour is very variable, but they all have a dark blotch in the throat.
This is a particularly beautiful plant for a grassland garden with its rigid flowers held up above the waving grasses. The insects that visit the flowers attract birds to the garden.
Used in traditional medicine.
Plant in compost-rich soil in sun or light shade.
Size: up to 75cm
Chironia laxa is a hardy, evergreen, many-branched, low-growing, rounded shrublet with slender, linear little leaves.
This delightful plant bears an abundance of satiny, bright pink flowers with centrally-massed, yellow stamens from November to March.
Nerine laticoma is a very hardy, deciduous, bulbous plant with a tuft of broad, glossy, strap-shaped leaves and quite a large bulb.
From January to March, each bulb sends up a long, flowering stem that has a rounded head of absolutely beautiful pink flowers that attract pollinating insects.
Eragrostis capensis is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, densely-tufted, small perennial grass.
Aloe castanea is a hardy, very distinctive, tree-shaped Aloe that has spreading branches and long, succulent leaves that can reach up to 1m long.
It bears unusual, curled, snake-like inflorescences from June to August.
Themeda triandra is a very hardy, evergreen, tall, tufted grass with foliage in many shades of green that turn reddish when older.
The pendulous, purple-red flower spikes are most attractive from September to June. The seeds that follow are also a beautiful feature of this grass.
In nature, the presence of this grass signifies climax grassland that is in good condition.
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.
Gazania gazoo Citrus Mix is a hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, sun loving groundcover with glossy leaves.
This vigorous Gazania produces large flowers on strong stems in spring and summer. They are free flowering with a long flowering season.
This hybrid mixture of orange and yellow flowers even open under low light conditions. Needs well-drained soil and moderate water.
Ideal for a rockery and for stabilizing soil on banks as well as for mass planting and containers.
Size 15 to 30cm
Albuca shawii is a hardy, deciduous bulb with very thin, dark-green leaves that are covered in short, sticky hairs.The leaves have a faint smell of liquorice when crushed.
The flowering spikes bear a spray of beautiful, nodding, delicately-scented yellow and green flowers from September to February.
A beautiful addition to a rockery, short grassland garden or meadow of delicate, bulbous plants.
They prefer full sun but can take light semi-shade. Plant in well-drained, loamy soil and do not over-water. If planting in a grassland, make sure that they are not swamped by too many tall grasses.
Size: up to 40cm
Eragrostis gummiflua is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, perennial grass with sparse, hard, tough leaves.
It bears attractive, large racemes of pink to purple flowers and seeds on stiff branches from November to May.
Parts of this grass are quite sticky, hence the common name.
Plant in a meadow garden where its attractive seed-heads add texture. It is quite unpalatable to grazers. This hard grass is used to make durable brooms.
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, sandy or gravelly soils. Water well to keep it looking its best.
Size: Flowering stem up to 90cm
Aristida congesta subsp. barbicollisis a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, delicate, perennial, tufted grass with long, white hairs where the leaf meets the stem.
It bears delicate, twisted spikelets at the tips of branches from October to May.
This tough, pioneer grass can be used to stabilise soil or cover bare patches to protect the soil. It is pretty planted amongst flowering plants in a meadow garden or in a grassland garden.
As with all grasses it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. It is unfussy about the soil type it is planted in, and will thrive in all but waterlogged soils in sun or semi-shade.
Size: Flowering stem up to 80cm
Silene bellidioides is a very hardy, evergreen, perennial plant with tall, erect, sticky stems and rosettes of leaves at the base.
From October to April, the plant produces one or more flowering stems that have a few branches with flowers positioned at the tips of each branch. The flower petals are white or pale pink and deeply divided. The long, tubular flower calyx is pale green, striped with dark-red veins. The beautiful, scented flowers open in the evening, and shine like neon lights at night, attracting moths to pollinate them.
Traditionally, this plant is used as a love-potion.
It is an excellent addition to a sunny grassland garden.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil.
Size: up to 30cm
Macledium (=Dicoma) zeyheri is a very hardy, unusual perennial plant with leathery leaves that are white felted below and cobwebby stems.
It bears purplish flowers with spiky silver bracts that are also tinged with purple and look like miniature Proteas from January to May. They are long lasting and make good cut flowers.
The seeds are much favoured by insects.
Plant in a rockery or in a grassland garden. For an unusual talking point, plant in containers.
Plant in well-drained, compost rich soil in sun or semi shade and water well in summer.
Size 15 to 20cm
Crassula swaziensis is a hardy, semi prostrate succulent perennial plant with attractive grey-green, round leaves that are arranged in rosettes.
The dense flat-topped inflorescences of masses of small white flowers that are tinged pink are borne from January to April. They attract a whole host of tiny insects.
Plant in well-drained soil in a rockery in the shade of other plants and grasses.
Crinum bulbispermum white is a very hardy, deciduous bulbous plant with robust, grey leaves that can grow up to 800mm long.
It bears long stemmed, umbels of large, showy, lily-like, fragrant pure white flowers throughout spring and summer.
Freesia grandiflora is a fairly hardy, deciduous plant with fan of soft, bring green, flat leaves that arise from an underground corm.
The large, scarlet flowers look like bright red stars, with a darker red blotch in the centre of the flower. It blooms from December to April. The seeds that follow are bright orange.
It makes a beautiful garden subject, especially when planted amongst rocks and shorter grasses. It is also a lovely container plant.
Plant in full sun to semi-shade, in well-composted soil that drains well.
Size to 45cm
Papaver aculeatum is a very hardy, evergreen annual to perennial groundcover with a basal rosette of grey-green attractive leaves.
It bears beautiful, papery salmon-pink poppies on long stems from early spring to late summer.
This rare little plant takes well to cultivation and stays perennial for a few years and will seed itself quite freely.
It is beautiful planted amongst smaller grasses which is also its natural habitat.
Plant in well-drained soil.
Delosperma cooperi is a hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, prostrate, succulent groundcover.
Senecio speciosus is a very hardy, evergreen, clump forming perennial with finely toothed leaves arranged in a rosette at the base of the plant.
The beautiful sprays of intensely mauve to lilac flowers adorn the grasslands throughout late winter, when they send out sprays of lilac pink daisy flowers against the drab of sleeping grasslands. Flowering continues into the middle of summer.
Flowers provide nectar and pollen to many pollinating insects, including bees.
A beautiful addition to a meadow or grassland planting, provided it receives sufficient water.
Prefers a damp, sunny spot in loamy soil to thrive. Mulch well to retain soil moisture. Plant in full sun or partial shade.
Size to 30cm
Ornithogalum sp. ‘Tiny Peddie' is a hardy, evergreen, bulbous plant with a tuft of glossy, grass-like leaves and small bulbs that multiply.
It flowers from October to March with spikes of pure white, star-like flowers that are almost translucent. The flowers attract insects to the garden and make delicate cut flowers.
A beautiful plant for rockeries or containers or as a border plant.
This pretty plant will happily multiply in your beds but it is small, so should be planted in groups.
These bulbs require well-drained, compost-rich soil in sun or light semi-shade.
Size: 20 to 25cm
Agapanthus campanulatus is a very hardy, deciduous, clump forming perennial with green to grey-green, strap-shaped leaves produced on a stem-like base.
It has umbels of pale to deep blue flowers with a darker stripe on each petal. Inflorescences are carried at the end of long stems from December to March (If you visit Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in Gauteng, look out for them blooming in amongst the rocks).
The rhizomes and roots are used traditionally and as a protective charm.
As they are deciduous, plant in clumps in an evergreen, mixed herbaceous border. Although they are winter dormant they do tolerate water in winter. Plant in full sun in rich, well-drained soil.
Size: up to 1m
Aloe verecunda is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, Grass-Aloe that forms dense clumps and has dull green to bluish green fan-shaped leaves with white spots and soft teeth along the margins.
It bears dense heads of pendulous, tubular peach to scarlet flowers on long stalks from November to February. The nectar rich flowers attract sunbirds and insects to the garden.
The Grass Aloes are adapted to cold and fire and resprout, from thick fleshy roots in the spring.
Beautiful addition to a grassland garden.
If transplanted or split, they take some time to recover. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil in amongst rocks in a grassland or succulent garden. Cut the water right back in winter when they are dormant.
Size: Up to 30cm
Zaluzianskya katharinae is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, herbaceous shrublet with coarsely-toothed, sticky, grey leaves.
It bears masses of sweetly-scented, bicoloured flowers, mainly in summer and autumn. The flowers are white on top and cerise pink on the underside. During the day, the flowers are closed and resemble small, pinky-red drumsticks, hence the common name. They then open into beautiful white flowers in low light conditions, at dusk and are pollinated by an Emperor Moth.
Lovely in a rockery or in a grassland garden.
Occurs naturally on the Witwatersrand.
This plant will tolerate light shade but does best in a sunny position. Plant in well-drained soil with little to moderate watering.
Size: up to 60cm
Gazania krebsiana is a perennial, evergreen, clump forming, low growing, drought tolerant, attractive free flowering groundcover.
The flowers are orange to scarlet and appear in late winter and spring. Hybrids are available in many bright colours.
The flowers are edible and it has many traditional uses.
Grows best in full sun and well-drained soil, therefore ideal for rockeries and containers or in a grassland garden.
Size: Up to 30cm
Harpochloa falx is a hardy, perennial, evergreen tufted grass.
From September to April the inflorescence stalks bear flattened spikelets that carry two rows of densely packed flowers that curl as they dry out and form seeds.
In the garden it is a beautiful addition to a short grassland garden that gets sufficient water. Provides a soft contrast to bold plants such as Aloes, Crinums, Blue Squill, Gladiolus sp and Red Hot Pokers. The young grass is palatable to grazers. The inflorescences are sometimes used as a cut flower.
Plant in full sun.
Size: Up to 75cm
Ornithogalum juncifolium is a hardy, evergreen, bulbous plant that has slender, grass-like bright-green leaves.
It bears masses of flower spikes with small, white, star-like florets from September to March that are a sight to behold.
The flowers make a delicate cut flower, and also attract insects to the garden.
Plant in amongst grasses or as part of a mixed perennial bed.
Cut back after flowering.
Plant in full sun for best results, but it will also flourish with half a day’s sun or in semi-shade.
Size 20 - 30cm
Barleria repens "Pink" is a hardy, evergreen, small and drought-resistant herbaceous shrublet or groundcover that tends to sprawl. It has dark-green, quite glossy leaves.
It blooms profusely with glossy, pink flowers in summer and autumn but also has a few flowers for most of the year. The flowers attract insects to the garden.
This plant is more compact than Barleria obtusa and can be pruned to keep in shape or to form a lovely small hedge. The Small Bush Violet is beautiful planted at the base of small trees or in amongst smaller grasses for a more natural look. It also makes a wonderful container plant.
Plant in well-drained, compost-rich soil and mulch well.
Size: 30 to 50cm
Setaria sphacelata var. sericea is a hardy, evergreen, beautiful, neatly-tufted grass.
It bears dense, golden inflorescences of hairy flowers from October to May that look like miniature bulrushes.
It attracts birds to the garden and is the host plant of various butterfly species.
Although this is a tall grass, it is neat and narrow and does not go wild.
It makes a lovely form plant and can be planted in a grassland garden, as a backdrop to a colourful bed or mass-plant for a beautiful effect.
As with most grasses, it should be cut back once a year and the thatch removed.
It grows in sun or semi-shade, and needs regular watering.
Size: 70cm to 1.2m