Acacia mellifera (=Senegalia mellifera) is very drought resistant, hardy, thickset, deciduous Acacia with vicious, hook thorns.
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.
Acacia caffra (=Senegalia caffra) is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, graceful tree with feathery foliage that gives the tree a weeping shape.
Euclea crispa is a very hardy, drought resistant, small evergreen tree has a white stem and beautiful blue-green or olive-green leaves.
Buddleja saligna is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, drought resistant tree with silver-grey leaves and beautiful twisted bark that looks almost woven.
It bears profuse panicles of sweetly scented, white flowers from August to January that attract insects and birds.
Combretum krausii is a hardy, fast growing, semi-deciduous tree with glossy dark green leaves that turn vivid red and purple in autumn.
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.
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.
Heteropyxis canescens is a rare, hardy, small, semi-deciduous tree that occurs in forested ravines and riverine forests in a restricted area of Mpumalanga and Swaziland.
It has beautiful, sparkling, beige bark that flakes off in patches leaving attractive blotches.
The quite large, decorative leaves have interesting venation and smell of lavender when crushed.
Apodytes dimidiata is a hardy, evergreen, beautifully shaped, fairly fast growing tree with dense, glossy, dark green foliage.
Densely clustered spikes of strongly scented, snow-white flowers that are borne from September to April, especially after good rains.
Mimusops caffra is a hardy, medium-sized to large, evergreen tree with a dense neat crown of attractive grey-green leaves.
This tree tolerates heavy salt spray and this same mechanism allows it to tolerate quite a lot of frost even though it is a plant of the dune forest.
It bears creamy white flowers from September to December which attract, bees, carpenter bees and sunbirds.
Freylinia tropica "Blue" is a very hardy, evergreen, slender shrub that has spreading branches, smooth grey bark and shiny, bright green leaves.
It blooms profusely in late winter when little else is flowering but does bear some bright blue flowers throughout the year.
It makes a good screen plant and can be clipped into a formal hedge or used in an informal hedge. It also makes a beautiful container plant.
It grows in sun or semi-shade.
Attracts insects and butterflies to the garden.
Size 1 to 3m
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.
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.
Podocarpus elongatus is the smallest of the Yellowwood trees and is very hardy and evergreen.
It has attractive narrow, blue-green leaves and is slow growing.
The female cones develop into fleshy, bright red, edible fruits with 1 or 2 seeds that mature rapidly.
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.
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 leptodictya is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, small, decorative tree with a drooping crown of bright green foliage. The bark on young stems is reddish brown, becoming darker and rougher as the tree matures. The lovely reddish wood is used to make beautiful small pieces of furniture.
The inconspicuous flowers (male and female flowers on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit) are borne from January to April.
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
Vepris lanceolata is a hardy, evergreen, very attractive tree with apple green foliage.
Leucosidea sericea is a decorative, very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, low branching small, tree with aromatic leaves that have silvery hairs.
The yellowish-green flowers that are borne from August to December are sticky with nectar and held in candle-like spikes. The flowers attract many insects with their pollen and nectar.
It has attractive, dark, fissured, peeling stem bark. One can make the most of this by pruning them up to have clean stems or trunks and lower branches. It makes a beautiful specimen tree in a small garden.
Requires regular watering or plant in damp areas to keep it looking good.
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.
Halleria elliptica is a hardy evergreen shrub, with very showy, orange-red, broadly tubular flowers in summer and winter.
The olive green foliage turns purple in winter which contrasts beautifully with the orange-red flowers.
Aloe ciliaris is a hardy, climbing Aloe with stems climbing up to 5m if they are supported, but otherwise makes a lovely, clump forming sprawling shrub.
The leaves are in loose rosettes around the stem and fringed with white hairs.
Cenchrus ciliaris is a tufted, shrubby perennial grass with bright green to blue-green leaves that are up to a metre long.
The grass culms are jointed, and roots often arise at these joints or nodes.
The flower spikes are bristly and cat-tail like, carried on stalks just above the leaves.
Strelitzia reginae is a hardy, evergreen shrub with large, ornamental, banana-like leaves.
The brilliant orange and shimmering peacock-blue flowers have an interesting structure resembling an exotic bird and flower from May to Dec. The nectar attracts sunbirds while the black seeds with an orange aril attracts many seed eating birds to the garden.
The blade-shaped leaves and flowers are widely used for flower arranging. This beautiful shrub makes a stunning accent and container plant.
On the Highveld and in other dry regions it grows best in partial shade.
Size 1 to 1.75m
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.
Ruttya fruticosa is a fairly hardy, evergreen, beautiful rounded shrub with glossy dark green foliage.
It bears unusual, exceptionally attractive two-lipped tubular orange or yellow flowers that have a shiny black in the throat.
It blooms from spring to late summer and attracts bees, birds and butterflies.
Plant in compost rich soil – it also tolerates slightly acidic soil.
Prune back after flowering to keep in shape.
Jasminum multipartitum is a very hardy, evergreen, fast-growing creeper or scrambler with small, glossy, dark-green foliage.
It bears masses of fragrant, white (with deep pink undersides), star-shaped flowers, from August to January.
Jasminum stenolobum is a hardy, evergreen, scandent, bushy shrub or climber, with glossy, dark-green leaves.
Masses of large, fragrant, white, star-shaped flowers with a pink underside are borne from August to January.
Hypericum revolutum is a hardy, evergreen, medium-sized to large, fast-growing, moisture-loving shrub with reddish-brown, scaly bark.
Acokanthera oppositifolia ia a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, medium to large upright, woody, shrub with brown, deeply fissured bark on the old wood.
Asparagus laricinus is a very hardy, evergreen, shrubby Asparagus with fine, feathery foliage and silvery, zigzag branchlets.
It has a myriad of tiny, white, nectar-rich flowers in spring and summer that are fragrant and attract insects and birds.
Freylina tropica is a very hardy, evergreen, slender shrub that has spreading branches, smooth grey bark and shiny, bright green leaves.
It blooms profusely in late winter when little else is flowering but does bear white or lilac flowers throughout the year.
Attracts insects and butterflies to the garden.
Elegia capensis is a hardy, evergreen restio is a large, ornamental form plant for water features.It produces tall stems with soft-feathery leaves at regular intervals along its length.
The golden-brown flowers are carried at the tip of the tall stems in Octocber and November.It is a beautiful form plant that whispers in the wind.Prune back old stems regularly and thin out if it gets too large.
Plant in ponds or beside water features or streams.If not in a pond, plant in rich but well-drained soil (as standing water can become stagnant) and water well in winter.
It will grow in sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 2m
Euryops virgineus is a very hardy, fast growing, evergreen shrub that is both drought and wind resistant.
It has attractive, dense, fine bright green leaves and is covered in masses of small, golden-yellow flowers in winter and early spring.
The sweetly scented flowers attract insects to the garden.
Plant in full sun and prune back at least once a year after flowering and make sure it is watered in winter .
Freylinia lanceolata is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, graceful shrub with a lovely weeping shape. The long, drooping lanceolate leaves add to the shape.
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.
Psychotria capensis is a fairly hardy, evergreen shrub or small tree that is nicely shaped with leathery, glossy leaves.
It is a great foliage plant.
Sansevieria pearsonii is a hardy, evergreen succulent with a fan of cylindrical, hard, ribbed leaves that overlap near the base. The leaves end with a hard, sharp spine.
It bears a tall spike of pinkish-brown flowers on and off for most of the year. The scented flowers generally open at night. The orange berries that follow are relished by birds.
This plant multiplies at the base by producing offshoots, and forms large clumps which add a structural element to a shady, dry garden or rockery. It also makes an attractive container plant.
Plant in semi-shade or shade in well-drained, sandy soil. Water sparingly.
Size: up to 1m
Scutia myrtina is a hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, thorny shrub with beautiful glossy, tiny leaves.
The new growth of leaves is a pretty bronze colour.
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.
Dracaena aletriformis is a fairly hardy, evergreen, shade loving, Yucca-like accent plant.
Miscanthus capensisis a very hardy, evergreen, clump-forming, large grass that has beautiful autumn colours.
The flowering stalks are topped with plumes of pink seed-heads in late summer and early autumn. The clumps of leaves are about 1m tall and the flowering stalks are up to 2m tall.
Weavers choose this grass above other plants for nesting material. They use the leaves to weave the nest and the seed to line it.
Use as a backdrop to a garden bed or as a screening plant in narrow beds. It is effective planted as a single, sculptural, feature plant in a garden. Plant into window-box type containers where they can be used as a screen on a balcony. This tall grass is beautiful moving in the lightest of breezes in the garden.
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 damp or normal garden conditions.
Size: Flowering stem up to 2m
Carissa edulis is a hardy, much-branched, evergreen, fast growing shrub or climber that has glossy, leathery leaves, which are sometimes hairy and have red growing tips. The hard rigid spines are almost always single.
Masses of beautiful, white flowers tinged with pink appear from September to December. These are followed by edible fruit that turns purplish-black when ripe, and because it is so sweet and juicy, makes a good jam or jelly.
The fruits attract birds to the garden.
It makes a good hedging plant, whether pruned to keep compact or left to grow freely. It needs to be controlled in a smaller garden but can be allowed to grow wild if you have the space where it will scramble through the trees.
Can be grown in semi-shade, but prefers full sun and flowers more profusely in the sun.
Size 1 to 3m
Acacia brevispica (=Senegalia brevispica) is a hardy, semi-deciduous, robust, prickly, scrambling Acacia that can be trained into a large beautiful shrub.
It has feathery, large, soft, bipinnate leaves with small hook thorns along the ribs on the underside.
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
Maytenus undata is a very hardy, evergreen large or small tree. Its height is very variable, and depends on the area in which it is growing. The colder it is the smaller the tree. The bark is grey-brown with patches flaking off and leaving pinkish blotches.
One can tell the hardiness by the foliage form - the smaller and more leathery the leaves, the hardier the tree. The foliage is variable in size and colour from pale to dark-green and gives off a musty scent when rubbed.
It bears creamy-white flowers all summer (from September to May).
In April the tree produces black seeds covered with orange flesh that attract birds.
Makes a good garden subject or container plant and is a must for a wildlife garden.
Plant in semi-shade or sun.
Size: 1 to 6m
Podocarpus henkelii is a very hardy, evergreen, large decorative, beautifully-shaped tree and is one of our best-known indigenous trees. The bark is khaki brown that, when it matures, flakes into long, thin strips which expose the attractive reddish underbark. It has long, drooping, narrow, dark-green leaves.
The female cones develop into olive-green seed that ripens in May.
Although it is quite slow-growing it does develop into a huge forest tree that is only suitable for large gardens. For small gardens plant it in a large container to limit its size. In a container, it makes a great Christmas tree when decked out in its finery.
Plant in either east- or south-facing areas as it prefers damp, cool and shady conditions. If planted as a single specimen in the middle of lawn, remove at least 1.5m diameter of lawn around the tree, as its roots cannot compete with lawn. Mulch and water well or it will not grow properly. Always mulch the soil around the trees as this it keeps the roots cool.
Size: 20 to 30m
Metalasia muricata is a hardy, evergreen medium-sized shrub that is very variable in appearance and frost hardiness, depending on the region in which it occurs. This rounded, robust, sturdy shrub has fine silvery grey-green, needle-like foliage. The leaves can be smooth or woolly.
In winter, the shrub is covered in honey-scented clusters of tiny white to pinky-purple flowers.
The flowers attract many pollinating insects, and the seeds are eaten by birds.
Dried leaves are used as tea in Lesotho.
It is useful as a tall filler in flower beds, providing grey-green foliage for colour and textural contrast. In some coastal areas, this species is used with other plants to stabilise sand dunes. As it is drought and wind tolerant, it can be used to screen lower plant beds from the wind.
Plant in sunny areas, in sandy, well drained soils. It can also tolerate acidic soils.
Size to 4m
Buddleja auriculata is a very hardy, beautiful, evergreen shrub with a weeping habit and beautiful black-green glossy leaves that are white on the underside.
It bears fragrant lilac and white flowers with an orange centre and flowers profusely in large sprays in July and August.
It can be planted as a specimen but needs some pruning to keep it in shape.
Jasminum angulare is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant climber with glossy, dark-green, trifoliate leaves.
The clusters of star-shaped, white flowers look velvety and are sweetly-scented, especially at night.
These wonderful flowers are borne from October to January and attract a whole host of tiny insects. They are followed by decorative black berries that attract birds to the garden.
Used for both medicinal and magical purposes. This is quite a delicate climber that can be trained over arches and along fences and walls. It also grows well in containers.
Use as a climber or as a rounded shrub depending on how it is pruned.Plant close to a patio or window where the wonderful scent when it is in flower can be appreciated.
It takes a little time to settle once planted out, but once it has done so, it grows quite quickly. Flowers add a delicious scent to potpourri.
Regular pruning will keep it in shape and encourage flowering. Plant in sun or semi-shade in compost-rich soil.
Size: Climbs to 4m
Justicia capensis is fairly hardy, evergreen medium to large shrub with small, glossy, velvety leaves and scented, magenta flowers with white markings all year.
Flowers attract numerous pollinating insects including butterflies.
Used in traditional medicine to attract customers to a business or to improve the chances of employment.
Good garden plant for forest gardens or shady gardens.
Prune to encourage a denser growth habit. Plant in sun or shade, in well-drained, loamy soil.
Size to 2m
Noltea africana is a very hardy, evergreen, very fast growing, small to medium sized tree.
The glossy leaves are darker above and paler underneath, and have purple petioles. The branchlets are also purplish-red.
The flowers are pretty, small, white sprays borne in the axils of the leaves from August to September. The black seeds are encased in a three-lobed, brown woody capsule that splits to release them when ripe.
A decorative tree that is ideal for the smaller garden but should be kept as a single stem.
Grows well in sun and semi-shade.
Hyparrhenia tamba is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, impressive, tall grass with blue, almost turquoise, leaves and thick stems.
They also display beautiful colours of yellow and red as they mature, when planted in full sun. The tangled flower- and seed-heads also have a turquoise hue and are borne from January to June.
Plant in containers, or as a backdrop to a grassland garden. It is beautiful planted in pots as a screen on balcony gardens or in small gardens. It is also useful as a soil stabilizer, especially in damp areas.
Plant in sun or light semi-shade areas. This grass should be cut back every two or three years and raked to remove the thatch.
Size: 2 to 2.5m
Dovyalis longispina is a hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous shrub or small to medium-sized tree with glossy, dark-green, roundish, shiny leaves. The new growth is red.
The small whitish-yellow flowers appear in clusters from August to October Male and female flowers are on separate plants, therefore only female plants will bear fruit. The leaves drop during flowering but new leaves re-appear immediately.
The delicious, edible fruit is a beautiful pale red with white spots (they look a lot like strawberries).
The long, thin spines make this an ideal plant for a security hedge, but it is also an attractive garden plant. Attracts birds to the garden.
Plant in full sun or semi-shade in sandy or well-drained soil.
Size: 5 to 8m
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.
Virgilia oroboides is a hardy, evergreen beautiful tree with smooth, silver-grey bark in young trees that becomes grey and rough with age. It has feathery, grey-green, Acacia-like leaves.
The scented pea-like flowers are pink, and, when the tree is in full flush from January to April, it is a sight to behold. They are rich in nectar and attract many pollinating insects and birds.
It is the host plant for the Lucerne Blue butterfly – Lampides boeticus.
As it is so fast-growing, it is an ideal plant for new gardens.
Plant in sun or light semi-shade, in well-drained soil.
Size: up to 10m