Acacia karroo (= Vachellia karroo) is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, fast-growing and drought-resistant tree.
Abundant, fragrant, yellow puffball flowers light up the landscape, and adorn the tree intermittently (in response to rain) throughout summer.
Albizia versicolor is a fairly hardy, large, (in warm areas), beautifully shaped, deciduous tree.
The large, velvety compound leaves and grey-brown bark that becomes rough with age are also attractive features of this tree.
It bears large half-spherical, puffball flowers that appear from October to December with the new leaves.
Ziziphus mucronata is a very hardy, deciduous, small to medium sized tree with both hook and straight thorns. The glossy leaves turn a beautiful, golden yellow in autumn.
It has attractive, small, yellowish flowers from October to January and hard, round, reddish-brown berries with a sweet, powdery pulp, which are known to be used as a kind of porridge.
Croton gratissimus is a hardy, deciduous, small to medium sized, drought resistant tree with lovely pale grey bark.
Syzygium cordatum is a fairly hardy, large, evergreen tree with a dense, spreading, rounded crown.
It has smooth bark with bands and blotches on it - smooth and white whilst young and turning darker grey and rough with age.
It has attractive thick, leathery, round, bluish-green leaves which are red when young.
The scented, creamy-white to pink flowers with conspicuous fluffy stamens are borne in heads at the end of branches throughout summer, and are followed by edible, purple, fleshy fruits, which attract birds, and also make a good wine.
A lovely, decorative shade tree for the larger garden that needs water to grow its best. It has aggressive roots and should be kept away from walls and pools.
The flowers have copious nectar and attract birds, bees, butterflies and other insects.
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.
Heteromorpha trifoliata is a slender, very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, fast growing tree.
Aloe marlothii is a very hardy, large, upright, single-stemmed Aloe with a rosette of large, fleshy, thorny leaves.
Faidherbia albida is a hardy, drought resistant, fast growing, large thorn tree that is deciduous at various times of the year - sometimes summer and sometimes winter.
This seems to coincide with seasonal flooding.
Euclea crispa is a very hardy, drought resistant, small evergreen tree has a white stem and beautiful blue-green or olive-green leaves.
Calpurnia aurea is a hardy, evergreen, fast growing, graceful shrub or small tree with bright, emerald green foliage.
Bersama lucens is a fairly hardy, evergreen, small, compact tree with a well-developed crown and beautiful blotchy, wrinkled, grey bark.
The young leaves are a brilliant glossy russet brown, turning dark green when mature.
The small greenish white flowers, in long narrow heads, appear from September to June and are followed by green capsules that split to reveal scarlet seeds that attract birds.
The bark is sought after in traditional medicine and this species is becoming increasingly rare.
It is a beautiful, decorative tree for a shady to semi-shady part of the garden.
Catha edulis is a small, hardy, fast-growing, evergreen to semi deciduous tree that has a lovely slender shape.
The glossy green leaves and young branches droop, giving the tree a graceful, weeping look.
Celtis africana is a very hardy, deciduous, graceful, drought resistant, large tree.
Cordia caffra is a hardy, fast growing small to medium sized deciduous tree with attractive, distinctive, mottled and flaky bark.
The attractive, drooping, glossy leaves have long petioles and wave in the slightest breeze, adding movement to the garden.
It has creamy-white, sweetly scented flowers in September and October that attract insects to the garden.
Cryptocarya transvaalensis is a hardy, evergreen tree with beautiful glossy dark green foliage.
Curtisia dentata is a medium-sized, hardy, evergreen tree that can grow quite large in moist forested areas.
Deinbollia oblongifolia is a hardy, briefly deciduous, shrub or small tree with large decorative, dark green leaves crowded at the ends of the branches.
The pyramids of white flowers, which stand out above the leaves, are borne from March to June and are followed by white, fruit that is much favoured by birds.
Lichens readily grow on the bark giving it a lovely mottled effect.
One of the best plants for attracting butterflies, moths, other insects and birds to the garden.
An attractive garden plant for shady areas that also makes a good container plant for indoors.
Traditionally the seeds are used to make soap, the leaves eaten as spinach and the roots used medicinally.
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.
Dombeya rotundifolia is a very hardy, deciduous, drought and fire resistant, upright tree. It has round, leathery, rough leaves, and attractive, rough, fissured bark which is utilized by Woodpeckers.
This is one of the first trees to bloom in spring where it stands out on the bare hillsides in snowy white patches. Showy clusters of sweetly scented white flowers start blooming in profusion on the bare branches in July and continue well into September before the leaves appear.
Ekebergia capensis is a fairly hardy, semi-deciduous, lush, medium sized, good shade tree with decorative berries that are much favoured by birds.
The small, scented greenish-white flowers appear from August to December.
Erythrina lysistemon is a hardy, deciduous tree with large trifoliate leaves.
Euclea natalensis is a hardy, evergreen, very attractive shrub or small to medium sized tree (depending on where in grows).
Agathosma ovata is a very hardy, evergreen, small shrub that has small dainty, leathery leaves that are aromatic, and when crushed they have a lovely citrus scent.
It bears profuse sprays of star-shaped, pale pink to white flowers that almost obscure the leaves at their peak flowering time in winter, although they have a few flowers throughout the year. They attract a myriad of insects to the garden.
Makes a good cut flower and container plant.
Gonioma kamassii is a species that is endemic to South Africa.
It is a fairly hardy, evergreen shrub or small tree with a dense crown of leathery, shiny, dark green leaves. The bark is smooth at first, aging to scale-like fissures.
Clusters of small, white, wonderfully scented flowers are borne throughout the year but with a peak in October.
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.
Halleria lucida is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized tree with attractive foliage and a graceful drooping habit.
Harpephyllum caffrum is a fairly hardy, large evergreen tree. It has attractive dark foliage with the odd red leaf in the crown.
The small yellowish-green flowers are borne in terminal sprays from October to February. Male and female flowers are on separate trees, therefore only female plants bear fruit
Fleshy red berries follow the flowers and attract many fruit eating birds to the garden.
Heteropyxis natalensis is a hardy, slender, upright, narrow, semi-deciduous tree with truly beautiful, pale creamy bark that, with age, develops beautiful apricot coloured patches on it.
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.
Loxostylis alata is a fairly hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized decorative tree with corky grey bark.
It bears sprays of pretty white, scented flowers from October to April.
Ochna natalitia is a hardy, semi-deciduous, large shrub with glossy leaves that flush red in spring.
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.
Philenoptera violacea is a hardy, small to medium sized, upright, semi-deciduous tree that has beautiful pale lavender-grey bark.
It drops its attractive, large grey-green leaves in spring, at the same time as the new leaves begin to appear. The leaves are palatable to many species of game.
The masses of beautiful large sprays of delicate, pea-like, lilac flowers are borne in October and November (sometimes September to December), and are sweetly scented.
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.
Pittosporum viridiflorum is a very hardy, evergreen, small to medium-sized, well-shaped tree with glossy leaves that have a resinous smell when crushed.
The bark has small pits in it and is an attractive feature of this tree. It is grey in young trees and becomes darker, rough and slightly fissured in mature specimens, and smells slightly of liquorice.
The dense clusters of sweetly scented, cream flowers are borne from September to November and are followed by brilliant red, sticky fruit in yellow-green capsules, that attracts birds.
A beautiful garden tree, which can be grown in sun or semi-shade, and can be used in forest and bush clumps as well as being used as a hedge plant. Wonderful shade tree, and with its non-aggressive root system is ideal for small gardens and containers.
Size 3 to 10m
Ptaeroxylon obliquum is hardy, drought resistant, medium sized to large, fairly fast growing and evergreen or deciduous (depending on the conditions).
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.
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.
Rhus (Searsia) 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).
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
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
Rothmannia capensis is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized tree.
Vepris lanceolata is a hardy, evergreen, very attractive tree with apple green foliage.
Grewia occidentalis is a very hardy, fast growing, evergreen shrub with attractive, rough, glossy, quite dark green leaves and trailing stems.
It bears gorgeous star-like pink flowers with a cluster of prominent, bright yellow stamens from October to January
It also bears distinctive, edible fruits that are clustered together in a square or cross shape.
Agapanthus hybrid nana blue is a hardy, evergreen perennial has narrow strap-like leaves.
Agapanthus praecox white is a well-known hardy, evergreen plant that has attractive strap-like leaves and umbels of white flowers that are borne on long stalks from December to April.
They make good cut flowers.
Aponogeton distachyos is a fast growing aquatic herb with glossy oblong leaves that float on the waters surface.
Sweetly scented, edible flowers stand up out of the water above the leaves, attracting attention. The flower is interesting in that it is a
forked inflorescence bearing tiny, white, one-petalled flowers with
Bees are very
attracted to the flowers and may be one of the main pollinators. Waterblommetjies flower in profusion during winter and
spring. Large areas of water in the Western, Southern and Eastern Cape
are covered with their sweetly scented, white flowers.
An excellent plant for ponds and dams, although where growing conditions are good, it needs cutting back and splitting to keep it from taking over. Rhizomes can be lifted in autumn and divided. Replant them immediately in good soil, in shallow water, and as they begin to grow in summer they can be moved into deeper water.
Plant in pots, in good soil, and place in full sun to partial shade for some of the day.
This is a well known local delicacy for the cold winter months. It has become so popular that many commercial plantings have been made in ponds around the western Cape. Cooked with onions, mutton or lamb and a few leaves of the local sorrel/suring (Oxalis pes-caprae), it makes a delicious stew.
Boophane disticha is a very, hardy, deciduous plant with a huge bulb. In warm areas the bulb is held above the soil while in colder areas it is kept below ground level as a protection against frost.
The grey-leaves are held in a twisted fan shape and are most attractive. (the species name disticha means in 2 rows, referring to the leaves).
The large deep pink to red flower head appears in early spring before the leaves. Fire induces this plant to flower. Once the flowers have been pollinated each flower stalk elongates and carries the seed on the end to form a tumbleweed. This is the plants strategy for distributing its seeds.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade with an exposed bulb.
Extensively used in traditional medicine but with caution as it is poisonous.
Scilla natalensis is a very hardy, deciduous, bulbous plant with a basal rosette of attractive, broad, grey-green leaves.
The long flowering spikes carry flowers in shades of misty blue and are borne from September to December.
Plant in full sun or light shade, either solitary as a form plant or in clumps to make a show when flowering. Bulbs should be planted half above the ground.
It is ideal for rockeries and is a lovely container plant. Makes a wonderful display when planted with Bulbine natalensis that flowers at the same time with yellow flower spikes.
One of our most important medicinal plants.
Size 30 to 40cm
Gardenia volkensii is a hardy, drought resistant, semi-deciduous to evergreen tree or large shrub with an interesting, rigid, branching pattern and beautiful silvery bark.
It has attractive shiny, bright green leaves.
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.
Bowiea volubilis is a hardy, deciduous, bulbous plant that has two thin, strap-like leaves.
It climbs by means of its large much-branched inflorescence, the branchlets of which grow downwards.
Lantana rugosa is a hardy, evergreen, much branched perennial shrub with rough stems and leaves.The leaves are small (the drier the conditions, the smaller the leaves), bright green and aromatic when crushed. Little clusters of pinky purple flowers are borne from September to May, and are followed by clustered, juicy, purple fruit. An excellent addition to the wildlife garden.
The flowers attract many pollinating insects, including butterflies. The fruit is eaten by people, monkeys and birds. It has a number of traditional medicinal uses.
Plant in well drained soil, and full sun to semi shade. It will flower and fruit best in full sun, but the more shade and water it receives, the larger the leaves will be. Prune well after flowering for it to maintain a good shape, otherwise it can become scraggly.
Size up to 1.5m
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
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
Lippia javanica is a very hardy, evergreen, erect, small shrub with aromatic leaves.
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.
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.
Plectranthus madagascariensis aliciae is a fairly hardy, evergreen, semi-succulent, aromatic, herbaceous plant that has attractive, variegated leaves with white margins which are carried on long trailing stems.
It bears white, mauve or purple flowers from February to November. A useful groundcover in semi-shade or shade. It makes an attractive hanging basket.
It attracts insects and butterflies and therefore also birds to the garden.
Prune back after flowering. Plant in semi-shade or shade in well-drained, well composted soil.
Used in traditional medicine.
Size Up to 40cm
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.
Scadoxus puniceus is a very hardy, deciduous, beautiful, bulbous plant that varies hugely in size, depending on where it comes from. The large, glossy leaves have wavy margins and are speckled at the base.
It bears a large inflorescence of red, powder-puff-like flowers on a long stem, which appears before the leaves, from July to October.
This form of Scadoxus puniceus is much taller, more robust and has larger flowers with a less intense red colour than our Highveld form.
It is a very hardy, deciduous, beautiful, bulbous plant that varies hugely in size, depending on where it comes from.
Crassula multicava is a hardy, evergreen, mat-forming, broad-leaved succulent plant.
It bears many sprays of dainty, star-shaped, pink flowers from May to November that attract a whole host of tiny insects.
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
Cotula sericea is a hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, flat, sprawling groundcover with really beautiful, grey-green leaves that have fine hairs that give this plant a soft silky texture.
The single, bright-yellow, button-like flowers are carried on long stems above the leaves.
Gunnera perpensa is a very hardy, deciduous marsh plant, with large tuberous roots that have a nitrogen fixing, symbiotic relationship with blue-green algae. It has beautiful big, round, bluish-green leaves that are carried on long stems and arise from a central point on the roots.
The tiny brown flowers are densely packed in gracefully-drooping spikes from September to February.
Senecio tamoides is a hardy, evergreen, succulent climber that has lovely, glossy, green leaves.
Helichrysum splendidum is a hardy, evergreen, small, sprawling shrub that grows in moist though well-drained areas.
Andrachne ovalis is a fairly hardy, deciduous shrub or small tree that has smooth, light grey bark and attractive dark-green leaves with bluish undersides.
It bears tiny clusters of white flowers in the axils of the leaves from November to March.
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.
Asparagus virgatus is an extremely hardy, evergreen, erect, stiff shrublet with long slender stems.
Gladiolus dalenii is a very hardy, deciduous, summer-growing perennial with a corm that gives rise to a fan of erect, grey-green leaves.
The tall, erect, flowering stem has large, hooded flowers varying from intense orange-red to yellow, pale-green and speckled-brown.
Aptenia cordifolia is a hardy, evergreen groundcover that is fast-growing,it has a spreading growth habit and roots as it creeps along.
It has light-green, succulent leaves and deep rose-pink flowers from September to July.The flowers attract bees to the garden.
It has many medicinal uses.This is a useful plant for stabilizing banks or as living mulch in the garden as it spreads rapidly.
It grows well in either sun or semi-shade.
Size: 5 to 10cm
Bulbine natalensis is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, succulent plant with bright-green, softly-fleshy leaves that form a basal rosette.
Star-shaped, yellow flowers are held in densely-packed spikes at the ends of long, gracefully-arching, flowering stems throughout the year.The pollen- and nectar-rich flowers attract pollinating insects to the garden.
It is an ideal rockery or bedding plant and also makes a worthwhile container plant.It has many medicinal uses, particularly for quick relief when used on stings and bites.
Plant in well-drained soil in full sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 60cm
Hypoestes aristata is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized, rounded shrub with grey-green leaves that have lighter veins giving them a variegated look.
It bears abundant spikes that are densely packed with 2-lipped deep purple flowers with darker purple spots in the middle of winter, from March to August, when very little else is in flower.
The flowers attract butterflies and other insects to the garden which is a boon to the insect eating birds.
Carpobrotus muirii is a hardy, evergreen, succulent, drought-resistant, spreading groundcover that has narrow, triangular-shaped, fleshy leaves.
It bears large, vygie-like, purple flowers in spring and summer (August. to February).The large fruits are edible and used in curries, jams and preserves.
This plant provides habitat for lizards and toads, attracts butterflies and is good tortoise food.It also has many medicinal uses.This plant is becoming increasingly rare due to habitat destruction.It is useful for retaining soil on exposed embankments and for soil stabilisation as it grows fast and roots at the nodes.
Although this is a Western Cape plant it grows well in Gauteng.Plant in well-drained soil in full sun.
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 leaves are also fleshy and are an attractive, blue-grey colour with a 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
Cotyledon orbiculata (var. flanaganii) is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, stemless, succulent groundcover is the Karoo form of Cotyledon orbiculata and has finger-like leaves that are edged with red.
The umbels of pendulous, apricot-coloured flowers grow on long stalks and are borne in mid-summer.The flowers attract insects and Sunbirds to the garden.
This versatile plant looks great in containers, in pockets in a rock garden or planted en masse.Also useful for planting in retaining walls and on embankments.
Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil.
Size: 30 cm
Crassula multicava 'Purple' is a hardy, evergreen, mat-forming, broad-leaved succulent plant. The leaves are purple on the underside, making this an attractive, colourful plant all year round, even when not in flower.
From May to November it bears many sprays of dainty, star-shaped, pink flowers that attract a whole host of tiny insects.
Crassula ovata is a hardy, evergreen, erect, succulent shrublet of which two subspecies are recognised.It has a tree-like appearance, with a single, light-brown to greyish-brown main stem, from which many small branches arise.The small, fleshy, dark-green leaves are slightly flattened and narrow.
The tiny, honey-scented, creamy-white to pink flowers are carried in many rounded inflorescences on the plant almost all year round but mainly April to September.The flowers attract a whole host of tiny insects which are the staple diet of lizards and frogs.
Used in traditional medicine.It is beautiful planted in amongst rocks or in a container.
Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil.
Size: up to 1m
Crassula sarcocaulis is a hardy, evergreen, erect, succulent shrublet with a number of varieties.It has small, dark- to bright-green, narrow, very succulent leaves.
The creamy-white flowers are carried in a round inflorescence almost all year round.The flowers attract a whole host of tiny insects which are the staple diet of lizards and frogs.
It is beautiful planted in amongst rocks or in a container and also makes a great, easy-to-grow bonsai subject.Used in traditional medicine.
It grows in sun or semi-shade.
Size: 60 cm
Crassula spathulata is a very hardy, evergreen, succulent, creeping, fast-growing, mat-forming groundcover with glossy, almost lime-green, round little leaves.When grown in sun and not watered much, the leaves turn a pinky-red on the margins.
Sprays of tiny, pink and white flowers are borne in spring and summer.The flowers are visited by many tiny pollinating insects.
It can be planted as a living mulch to help keep moisture in and weeds out.Mass plant under trees and along borders as well as in containers and hanging baskets where it will cascade happily over the edges.This pretty plant is tough, easy to grow and rewarding.One of its many uses is that it helps to stabilise banks.
Grows well in shade and sun and, although it is a succulent, it thrives in a normally irrigated garden.
Size: 10 to 15 cm
Crassula tetragona is a hardy, evergreen, succulent shrub with rows of bright-green, sword-shaped leaves.These are evenly arranged in crossed, opposite pairs along the stems, which are held upright in a vertical position.
In summer and early autumn, it bears masses of tiny, creamy-white flowers in an inflorescence carried above the shrub.
The compact, upright habit makes this an attractive plant.Makes a beautiful bonsai, or container plant in drier spots in the garden.
Plant in sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 1m
Curio [=Senecio] rowleyanus is a hardy, evergreen, mat-forming, succulent groundcover with long creeping, trailing stems.Pea-like, perfectly round leaves with a translucent stripe spaced along their entire length hang along the stems, hence the common name ‘String of Pearls’.When the stems lie on the ground they will root at the nodes and spread into quite large patches.
From spring to autumn it bears masses of pretty, brush-like white flowers on and off that attract tiny, pollinating insects.The flowers are faintly cinnamon-scented.
A beautiful plant for hanging baskets, window boxes or a variety of other containers, where the dense bunches of trailing stems hang gracefully over the edge.
Plant in semi-shade in well-drained soil.
Size: 1m Trailing stems
Juncus effusus - Mat-Rush is a very hardy, evergreen, tufted, perennial rush grows in wet areas as well as in a normally irrigated garden.The grass-like leaves are very variable, with some plants having robust, upright leaves whilst others have slender graceful leaves.
The flowers are small, dry and scaly and crowded at the tips of the long thin stems in spring and summer.The flowering stems are beautiful in a vase.
Traditionally used for weaving sleeping mats and baskets.The little seeds are golden brown. It is a useful addition to a wetland garden and to help filter water.
It should be planted in well-watered, sunny areas.
Tulbaghia simmleri is a hardy, fast growing, deciduous, bulbous plant with attractive, grey-green, fleshy, strap-like leaves that die back in winter.
Umbels of deep lilac, sweetly scented flowers are borne on long stems and make an excellent cut flower. It flowers from late summer (May) into early spring (September).
Plant in well-drained, compost rich soil in shade or sun.
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
Thespesia acutiloba is a hardy, semi-deciduous small tree or large shrub with pale grey bark that becomes furrowed with age.
Eucomis comosa is a very hardy, deciduous, bulbous plant with a rosette of attractive, broad, strap-like leaves with a maroon cast.
The spikes of sweetly scented, pink or maroon star-shaped flowers with attractive purple ovaries are borne from October. to February.
It grows best in full sun in either damp or dry spots.
Euphorbia tirucalli 'Firesticks' is a hardy, evergreen, tough, drought-resistant, succulent shrub or small tree with rarely-seen, tiny leaves that fall very early as this plant uses its green stems to photosynthesise.In this form the tips of the branches turn yellow, red and orange giving the impression that the tips of the plant are on fire.
Tiny, yellow flowers appear from September to December at the end of the new growth.These flowers attract masses of insects and butterflies.
The seed capsules that follow are prized by everything from ants to birds and even monkeys.The dense branches make ideal nesting sites for birds.Traditionally it is utilised as a living hedge to provide a nocturnal kraal for livestock.The plant is reputedly an effective banisher of moles. Although it is thornless, the dense, angular structure of the branchlets makes it fairly impenetrable, especially in older specimens.
Hesperantha coccinea [=Schizostylis] is a very hardy, mostly evergreen, bulbous plant with a fan of bright-green, strap-like leaves.
It bears showy spikes of large, star-shaped flowers that cluster at the tips of slender stems from December to April. The colors vary from bright-scarlet to soft, pale pink.
It attracts insects to the garden and is a butterfly host plant.If left for a few years, it forms large clumps and is a sight to behold. Seeing them flowering en masse along streams in the foothills of the Drakensberg is amazing.
Melianthus comosus is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant fast growing shrub with attractive divided, strongly aromatic leaves.
The sprays of scarlet flowers are sweet smelling and have abundant nectar which attracts insects, bees, butterflies, Sunbirds and Cape White eyes.
It is a really beautiful sight when in flower from October to December.
It also has attractive papery pods.
Pelargonium fragrans is a hardy, evergreen, compact natural hybrid Pelargonium with delicate leaves that have a distinct nutmeg scent.
It flowers profusely with clusters of dainty, small white flowers from May to August but has some flowers all year round.
Pelargonium peltatum is a hardy, evergreen rambling pelargonium with smooth, fleshy leaves that have five points.
The flowers are a beautiful pale pink to mauve with darker streaks in the middle and bloom for most of the year.
The rambling, zig-zag stems make it ideal for hanging baskets, cascading over walls or used as an edging plant in a bed or even supported as a climber.
Prune to keep in shape, Plant in well-drained soil in full sun or semi-shade.
The many hybrid ‘Ivy Geraniums were developed from this rewarding and popular garden plant.
Size Up to 2m
Plectranthus ambiguous is a hardy shrublet with large thinly hairy olive green leaves.
The flower spikes have densely congested long narrow tubular flowers in a beautiful shade of pale purple in March and April.
Plant in shade or semi-shade and prune back hard before the new seasons growth to keep it looking neat and encourage flowering the following season.
Plectranthus ecklonii is a fairly hardy, erect, shrubby Plectranthus with attractive, large, quilted leaves.
Plentranthus fruticosus is a softly branching, fairly hardy, evergreen, upright Plectranthus has attractive olive green foliage tinged with purple beneath.
The spikes of pink to mauve flowers are borne in profusion in autumn.
Plumbago auriculata white is a hardy, scrambling, much branched, evergreen shrub.
It bears masses of edible, white 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.
A popular garden and hedging plant that is also suitable for covering banks.
Prune regularly to keep smaller and in shape as it can get quite wild.
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.
Raphionacme velutina is a very hardy, deciduous, multi-stemmed herbaceous plant with weakly-erect stems arising from a large, tuberous caudex, which is sometimes flattened. The small, elongated, hairy, grey-green leaves are folded upwards in well-spaced, opposite pairs.
In spring and summer, it bears interesting, yellow-green, star-shaped flowers with purple stamens along the length of the stems.
Plant in a grassland or succulent garden. To make a beautiful container plant, expose the tuber. Be careful not to over water as it may rot.
t will grow best in sun or semi-shade, in well-drained but well-composted soil.
Rhamnus prinoides is a very hardy, evergreen, very fast growing, large shrub with beautiful glossy almost mirror-like leaves.
The small inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers are borne all year round and attract insects.
The black berries which follow provide food for fruit eating birds almost all year round.
Rhoicissus tridentata is a very hardy, deciduous, fast-growing, drought-resistant, vigorous climber or scrambling shrub with attractive, dark-green foliage that turns red in autumn.
The small, greenish-yellow flowers are borne in tight clusters on a densely-hairy inflorescence from November to April. The decorative clusters of edible, red, grape-like berries become black and attract birds to the garden.
It has many medicinal and traditional uses. The trailing stems are lovely in flower arrangements. Ideal for screening on a fence or cascading down a bank. It also makes a good subject for a large hanging basket.
Plant in well-drained soil in sun, semi-shade or shade.
Size: 1 to 3m
Sansevieria aethiopica is a hardy, evergreen, succulent plant that is very variable in size and shape, and that spreads from shooting, subterranean, horizontal stems. Rosettes of erect, mottled leaves form dense stands under vegetation.
At irregular periods during the year a tall, flowering stem carries scented, creamy, whitish-yellow, tubular flowers that open towards the evening. These are followed by reddish-orange berries that attract birds.
Extensively used as a medicinal plant.Makes a beautiful form plant.
Particularly good for planting in dry, dark, shady areas under trees.
Sansevieria hyacinthoides is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, succulent plant with rigid, tongue-shaped, succulent leaves.The leaves are grey-green with darker, mottled markings.
This drought-resistant, attractive form plant bears, in spring and summer, gorgeous spikes of showy, white flowers that attract bees and other insects.The flowers are followed by orange berries that attract birds.
Extensively used in traditional medicine.Makes an attractive container plant that requires little care.
It makes a lovely show in those difficult, dry, shady areas under trees or in amongst rocks.
Size: 30 to 50cm
Scabiosa columbaria blue is a hardy, evergreen, soft, clump-forming, herbaceous perennial with attractive, deeply lobed, grey green foliage.
This hybrid, free flowering perennial has large, showy flowers that are carried on slender erect stems all year round.
A lovely plant for mass planting in full sun.
Sclerocarya birrea is a fairly hardy, medium to large, deciduous tree with a rounded crown and beautiful mottled bark. It has large compound leaves crowded at the ends of the branches.
It bears inconspicuous red and yellow flowers from September to November. Male and female flowers on separate plants therefore only the females bear fruit.
Sideroxylon inerme is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium or large tree with a beautiful, round, dark-green, lush crown. A feature of this tree is the grey-brown bark that cracks into rectangles. The leathery, dark-green leaves are smooth and shiny and turn red with age.
From November to April it bears small greenish-white, strongly-scented flowers which Mousebirds love to eat. The flowers are followed by attractive, juicy, black berries that attract birds and other wildlife to the garden.
This species has been declared a protected tree and some old specimens are National Monuments. It has many traditional and medicinal uses.
The White Milkwood makes a good garden and container subject, and grows well on the Highveld in sun or semi-shade if protected from wind.
Size: 4 to 15m
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.
Acacia nilotica (=Vachellia nilotica) is a hardy, semi-deciduous, small to medium-sized, mushroom shaped tree with dark blackish-brown, fissured bark when mature and a dense crown.This fissured bark is home to many invertebrates and therefore attracts Woodpeckers and other insectivorous birds.
The masses of yellow puffball flowers adorn the tree on and off from September to April.The fragrant, distinctive ‘string of beads,’ decorative pods have a fruity smell and are excellent fodder.The edible gum makes a good quality glue.
Yellow, red or black dye can be made from the pods.The wood is easily worked for furniture and the whole tree has many medicinal and traditional uses This tree is a little slow-growing but is tough and very drought-resistant.
It grows in both well-drained and clayey soils in sun or semi-shade.
Size: 3 to 10 m
Acacia polyacantha (=Senegalia Polycantha) is a fairly hardy, deciduous tree adds all-year-round beauty to a garden with its seasonal changes, from the pale, creamy, flaking bark on the stems that glow in the winter sunshine, to the spikes of glistening silver flowers in spring.
Added to this is the coolness of the dense bright-green, soft feathery leaves in summer, which turn dull olive-green in autumn before they drop.
Crinum moorei is a hardy, evergreen or semi-deciduous, very fast-growing bulb with beautiful broad, flat, bright-green leaves in a rosette on the end of a short stalk.
The long, flowering stalk carries a head of large, tubular flowers that form a beautiful umbel of pink to almost white flowers from October to January.
Helichrysum petiolare is a hardy, evergreen, dense, very fast growing perennial with beautiful, silvery-grey velvety, rounded, aromatic leaves. A lovely foliage and textural plant.
It has cream flowers from November to January which can be used in dry arrangements.
The lovely grey colour of the foliage adds colour and texture to a mixed border.
It can also be pruned into a small hedge.
The leaves are used as bedding hence the common name. Campers believe the smell aids a peaceful nights sleep.
Needs to be pruned regularly to keep in shape.
A good plant in sun or semi-shade in larger gardens in well-drained soil.
Size 30 to 50cm
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
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
Polygala virgata is a very hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, slender shrub with long, narrow, dark-green leaves.
From October to July it bears tall terminal spikes of massed purple to mauve pea-like flowers that attract insects.
Although not particularly long-lived, they readily seed themselves around the garden. The flower spikes last well as cut flowers. Used medicinally.
For the best effect, plant 3 or more of these slender shrubs together, in sun or semi-shade, in compost-rich soil. Prune from when they are young to encourage them to bush out; this will help create an amazing display of flowers.
Helichrysum cymosum is a hardy, evergreen small, leafy, scandent shrub with beautiful silvery, small leaves that are woolly below.
It bears compact heads of yellow, papery flowers at the tips of each branchlet from September to April.
Zantedeschia albomaculata is a very hardy, deciduous Arum Lily with arrow-shaped leaves that are often spotted.
It has one distinctive, white or cream cone-shaped petal that can be flushed with pink and can have a dark purple base.
Bolusanthus speciosus is a hardy, graceful, briefly deciduous, drought resistant tree with graceful grey-green almost weeping foliage.
The huge, pendulous bunches of beautiful mauve pea-like flowers that are born in September and October are truly spectacular.
Pelargonium betulium is a hardy, evergreen, rounded, bushy perennial with attractive, aromatic leaves that have purplish-red edges.
The large, showy, pink to white or purple flowers with dark purple streaks are borne from August to October and are beautifully marked with magenta margins on the upper two petals.
It grows in full sun or semi-shade but requires sandy, well-drained, well-composted soil and adequate water in winter.
Use as a border, an element of a cottage garden, in containers and hanging baskets.
The leaves contain essential oils.
Size 30cm to 1m
Typha capensis is a very hardy reed that can be either evergreen or deciduous depending on local climate. It is robust, fast-growing and is widespread. It only grows partially submerged in water. It has long, grey-green stems with blue-green leaves.
From December to January, the stems end in the typical, cylindrical, velvety brown ‘Bulrush’ flower. These turn into seeds covered in ‘cotton wool’ which helps with dispersal of seeds.
This ‘cotton wool’ is used to stuff cushions.
It has many traditional and medicinal uses.
The Bulrush can be used in boggy areas, among wet pebbles and is one of the best plants to clean grey water. It helps to keep pond water clean and healthy. It is used extensively for the rehabilitation of wetlands and other permanently wet areas. This plant creates vital habitat for many bird species, fish fry, frogs, terrapins and many other aquatic creatures.
This plant spreads quite aggressively by its rhizomes and should only be planted in containers in garden ponds where it can be controlled.
Plant in full sun and prune and clean once a year.
Size: 1 to 2.5m
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
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