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Ground Covers




Marsh Plants




Hedera Canariensis (Canary Ivy)


Algerian ivy (also known as Canary Island ivy and North African ivy) is a clinging vine closely related to English ivy (Hedera helix) , Algerian ivy has distinctive red leaf stems and large, luxuriant, alternate leaves with 5 to 7 lobes. Its beautiful thick, leathery foliage seems a little shinier than English ivy, and growth is faster.


Hedera canariensis is native to the Canary Islands, Portugal, the Azores, and North Africa. It is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates.


Algerian ivy is quite salt tolerant and like other ivies, adaptable to most soil types. It flourishes best in rich, moist soil, and is not fussy about pH.

Light: Algerian ivy tolerates part sun to shade.

Moisture: It likes an average to moist soil.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6-10. Algerian ivy is subject to damage at temperatures much below 15°F (-9°C). The variegated forms are generally less hardy (to zone 7) than the all green ones.

Propagation: Algerian ivy roots very easily from cuttings. It can also be started by layering. New ivy plants are best started in mid to late spring after active growth has begun.


Algerian ivy is most commonly used as a ground cover in warm climates, where the lush leaves steal the show underneath trees or growing up their trunks. Old vines can become quite woody. When making a choice between Algerian and English ivy in zones 9 or 10, bear in mind the Algerian type grows more rapidly and becomes established a good bit faster. Algerian ivy can be used to good effect as a house plant, too.


Like English ivy, Algerian ivy is available in many different cultivars with variegated foliage and different leaf shapes

Hedera Helix (Bulgarian Ivy)

Bulgarian Ivy will grow to be about 8 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet. As a climbing vine, it tends to be leggy near the base and should be underplanted with low-growing facer plants. It should be planted near a fence, trellis or other landscape structure where it can be trained to grow upwards on it, or allowed to trail off a retaining wall or slope. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.


This vine performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider covering it with a thick layer of mulch in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder zones.

Pandorea Jasminoides


Bower vine, or pandorea, is a bushy, twining vine with woody stems and pinnate, evergreen leaves. The 5-9 lance shaped leaflets are 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) long. Fragrant pink to red tubular flowers are clustered in hanging panicles. They bloom in warm weather, from spring through summer. There are several named cultivars differing in flower color.


Pandorea jasminoides is native to Queensland and New South Wales, Down Under.


Pandorea likes a moist, fertile, well drained soil. This is a sprawling plant, and will need to be trained to a support and tied at first.

Light: Provide full sun or filtered sun. Pandorea does best in full sun, but still does well under high pines or in light, shifting shade.

Moisture: Provide average to moist soil conditions during growth but water sparingly in winter.

Propagation: Cuttings, layering. Roots by itself anywhere vine touches the ground.


Pandorea is an excellent vine to grow in large containers. When outfitted with a trellis these make beautiful portable screens of foliage that can be moved around as needed to block an eyesore or just to create a romantic mood. Several times a year this talented vine covers inself in large fragrant flowers causing you to congratulate yourself for having the luck to grow this beautiful vine.

Solanum Jasminoides

Solanum jasminoides is also commonly known as the white potato vine. An evergreen, perennial, shrubby vine, originally from Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay. Known for being hardy once established, Solanum jasminoides produces clusters of star-shaped, slightly fragrant flowers throughout the growing season. You can plant Solanum jasminoides at anytime from early spring, through early summer.

Leaves are slender, ovate to lancolate, shiny, deep green, to 2 inches long. Flowers are fragrant, pure white with yellow anthers, to 1 inch wide, held in axillary and terminal corymbs to 3 inches across, and borne in summer and fall. Protect from frost.

Thunbergia Alata (Black-eyed Susan)

Family : Acanthaceae

Common names : black-eyed susan (Eng.); swartoognooi (Afr.) ; isiPhondo (Zulu)

In much of the warmer world, Thunbergia alata, or black-eyed susan, is well known as a fast-growing, long-flowering, friendly creeper. In South Africa it is a general favourite as it is not fussy about soil, needs only moderate water, doesn't go rampant, is mostly evergreen and covers ugly places beautifully. It has even been honoured in the standard set of South African postage stamps.

Thunbergia alata, is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant with many twining stems. It is native to Eastern Africa, and has been naturalized in other parts of the world. It is found in Cerrado vegetation of Brazil and Hawaii, along with eastern Australia and the southern USA in the states of Texas and Florida.

It is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and in hanging baskets. The name 'Black-eyed Susan' is thought to have come from a character that figures in many traditional ballads and songs. In the Ballad of Black-eyed Susan by John Gay, Susan goes aboard a ship in-dock to ask the sailors, where her lover Sweet William has gone. Black-eyed Susan is also a name given to another species of flowers - Rudbeckia.

Thunbergia alata has a vine habit, and can grow to a height of 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) in tropical zones, or much less as a container plant or as an annual. It has twining stems with heart or arrow-shaped leaves. The flowers have five petals and appear throughout the growing season. They typically are warm orange with a characteristic dark spot in the center, although different varieties can be red, orange, red-orange, white, pale yellow, or bright yellow, with or without the characteristic chocolate-purple center which inspires the common name.

Carex comanz 'Bronze'

From the family Cyperaceae, Carex can be deciduous or evergreen, rhizomatous or tufted perennials, with triangular stems bearing linear or strap-shaped leaves and short or long spikes of tiny green or brown flowers

C. comans bronze-leaved is an evergreen perennial to 30cm, forming a dense tuft of narrowly linear, reddish-brown leaves, with inconspicuous brown flower spikes in late summer


Carex 'Frosted Curls'

Very narrow tufted leaves of silvery green shimmer with the slightest of movement.

Carex Frosted Curls looks delightful tumbling out of a container or over the edge of a retaining wall. Carex Frosted Curls thrives in moist soil but will tolerate some drought once established.

'Frosted Curls' will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 16 inches. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.


This ornamental grass performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder zones. This plant can be propagated by division.


Recommended for the following landscape applications;

General Garden Use

Mass Planting

Border Edging


Rock/Alpine Gardens

Container Planting

Chondropetalum 'Elegia Tectorum'

Elegia tectorum, previously Chondropetalum tectorum or Restio tectorum, more commonly Cape thatching reed, or dakriet (in Afrikaans), is a member of the restio family, Restionaceae. It is a tufted perennial growing to between 1.5 and 2.25 m, with deciduous leaf sheaths.  Flowers are less than 3 mm long. Petals are smooth or hairy in the upper half. E. tectorum is found in marshes and seeps on deep sand in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape of South Africa.


Festuca Glauca

Clump-forming ornamental grass noted for its glaucous, finely-textured, blue-gray foliage. Foliage forms a dome-shaped, porcupine-like tuft of erect to arching, needle-like blades radiating upward and outward to a length of 140-180 mm.

Light green flowers with a purple tinge appear in terminal panicles atop stems rising above the foliage in late spring to early summer, but inflorescences are not very showy. Flowers give way to puffy wheat like seed heads.

Common names include Blue Fescue, Blue Mountain Grass, and Grey Fescue. Originally described by French naturalist Dominique Villars, its scientific name glauca is derived from the Latin adjective glaucus "pale blue-grey".

In cultivation it can reach a height of 140-180 mm (inflorescences typically bring total clump height to 200-250 mm). It does best in well drained soil as plants will not grow well in wet soils. Tolerates dry and low nutrient soils. Plant in a full sun for best foliage colour. Will also grow in lightly shaded position. Will tolerate drought, neglect and lack of nutrients but prefers regular watering.

If plant has a large amount of dead leaves, prune back to 40mm from ground level. This is to be done in winter. Lift and divide clumps if needed (also to be done in winter). Division of established clumps in winter is the easiest method although, plants can be grown from seed.

Plants require frequent division as clumps tend to die out in the center and need to be divided, replanted or replaced every 2-3 years. Plant foliage may decline considerably in very hot, humid summers. Weeds often build up amongst the clumps when used as a ground cover and need to be removed by hand.

Ophiopogon Japonicus

Mondo grass is an evergreen perennial that is actually a member of the lily family despite its appearance and common name. Depending on variety, the slender leaves grow from 2-12 in (5-30.5 cm) long.

They are rigid and curve back toward the ground ("recurve") and resemble blades of turf grass. Leaves emerge in clumps from a network of rhizomes that grow just below the soil surface. With age the clumps will merge to form a soft dense carpet of foliage. In summer small light purple flowers are produced but are of little interest as they are hidden in the dense foliage as are the small blue-black berries that follow.

Mondo grass resembles another "grassy" member of the lily family called liriope (Liriope muscari) which is also used for groundcover and borders. However, its flower stalks mondo grass are hidden within the mass of foliage, rather than above as in liriope. Blades are discernibly thinner than liriope, only about 1/8 in (0.3 cm) wide.

There are several dwarf cultivars of mondo grass available. With shorter leaves and more compact mounds and mats they are somewhat more formal than the casual species with its wind tossed foliage. 'Compactus' is the most compact with leaves that grow only to about 2 in (5 cm) long to form very low dense mats that I think resemble a fuzzy moss. 'Kyoto Dwarf' grows 2-4 in (5-10 cm). There is also a variegated cultivar that I have yet to encounter.

Ophiopogon Jaburab Vittatus

Ophiopogon Jaburab 'Vittatus' has green and white variegated, ribbon-like leaves and produces flowers during the summer. It makes a lovely contrast grass for planting between other plants in shades of green.  Plant size about 40x40cm.

Mondo grasses have thin, curved, riboon-like leaves and frow in dense tussocks. They are evergreen, exceptionally hardy, produce tiny racemes of snow-white, bell-like flowers on short stems in summer, and are used primarily as ground covers. This rather businesslike description of the plants in the popular genus Ophiopogon gives no indication of the serenity and soul-soothing peace the mondo grasses can bring to a winter and a summer garden. When planted on masse, mondo grasses take on an undulating, almost magical appearance, and when you catch sight of such a carpet of them after a light drizzle o when it is touched with dew in the early morning, it can be breathtaking.

Mondo grasses suit all climates.  They will grow more luxuriantly in warmer regions if they are planted in light to deep shade.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Chinese silver grass'

Miscanthus sinensis is a species of flowering plant in the grass family Poaceae, native to eastern Asia throughout most of China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea. It is an herbaceous perennial grass, growing to 0.8–2 m (3–7 ft) tall, rarely 4 m (13 ft), forming dense clumps from an underground rhizome. The leaves are 18–75 cm (7–30 in) tall and 0.3–2 cm broad. The flowers are purplish, held above the foliage.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils from well-drained sandy soils to the heavy clays present in much of the St. Louis area. Prefers moist soils. Best in full sun. Less vigorous with decreased flowering and tendency to flop in too much shade. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. Clumps slowly expand in circumference by short rhizomes, but retain tight clump shape. Foliage should be left standing throughout the winter for visual interest and to provide protection for the crowns. Substantial clumps tend to flop (or totally collapse when subjected to heavy winter snows), and will often benefit from some support. Cut foliage to the ground in late winter just before new shoots appear.

Asparagus aethiopicus

Asparagus aethiopicus, Sprenger's Asparagus, is a plant native to South Africa. Often used as an ornamental plant, it is considered an invasive weed in many locations. Asparagus fern and foxtail fern are common names; however, it is unrelated to true ferns.  A. aethiopicus has been confused with A. densiflorus, now regarded as a separate species, so that information about A. aethiopicus will often be found under the name A. densiflorus.

Asparagus aethiopicus is a branching perennial herb with tough green aerial stems which are sparsely covered with spines. The leaves are actually leaf-like cladodes, which are 0.8-2 cm long and 0.1-0.2 cm wide, and arise in groups of four or more from the stem. Occurring in spring, the small white or pinkish-white flowers are 0.3-0.5 cm long and arise in clusters off the stem. Flowers are followed in summer by small round berries 0.5 cm in diameter, which bear a black 3 mm diameter seed. Initially green, the berries mature and turn red in the winter. The root system is a mat of fibrous roots with bulbous tubers, from which plants may resprout.

Asparagus aethiopicus is grown as an indoor plant in cooler climates, or as an ornamental garden plant in urban gardens, rockeries or in pots. Two cultivars are seen in cultivation, 'Sprengeri' is a scrambling form with sparser foliage, while 'Meyeri' has more erect stems to 70 cm (28 in) and denser foliage.

Consuming the berries of A. aethiopicus can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain, and contact with the skin may cause dermatitis. The plant is toxic to domestic cats and dogs.

Asparagus Densiflorus

Asparagus densiflorus (asparagus fern, plume asparagus, foxtail fern) is an evergreen perennial plant, closely related to the vegetable asparagus, and native to southern Africa from Mozambique to South Africa. A. densiflorus has been confused with A. aethiopicus, Sprenger's asparagus, now regarded as a separate species, so that information under the name A. densiflorus will often refer to A. aethiopicus.

As it cannot tolerate frost, in temperate regions A. densiflorus is usually grown under glass. Numerous cultivars have been developed, of which the compact form 'Myersii' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.  Its dense 50cm plumes of foliage are especially valued in flower arranging.

Asystasia Gangetica

Asystasia gangetica is a species of plant in the Acanthaceae family. It is commonly known as the Chinese Violet, Coromandel or Creeping Foxglove. In South Africa this plant may simply be called Asystasia.

This plant is a spreading herb or ground cover, reaching 600 mm in height or up to 1 m if supported.  The stems root easily at the nodes. The leaves are simple and opposite.  The fruit is an explosive capsule which starts out green in colour, but dries to brown after opening.

In some parts of Africa, the leaves are eaten as a vegetable and used as an herbal remedy in traditional African medicine. The leaves are used in many parts of Nigeria as a traditional African medicine for the management of asthma. It is also used as an ornamental plant.

This is an important plant for honeybees, butterflies and other insects. In southern Africa there are at least seven species of butterfly and moth that use Asystasia Gangetica micrantha as a larval food plant.

Barleria Repens

Barleria repens (Small bush violet) is a plant of the Acanthaceae family. It occurs in forests and woodlands from tropical Africa to South Africa.


It usually forms a rounded to spreading bushy shrub, 0.7 m high by 1 m wide, but sometimes also climbs/leans into nearby trees and shrubs (up to 2 m!). New branches tend to root as they touch ground, so this plant can quickly increase its territory if not kept under surveillance! Evergreen, it has soft, shiny, dark green leaves. Flowers are fairly large, and are a deep purple-mauve or pink-red, appearing from late summer to autumn (February to April). The fruit is an explosive, club-shaped capsule, forming in autumn (March to May).


The flowers attract insects which, in turn, become food for insect-eating birds such as bulbuls, orioles, bush shrikes, thrushes and boubou shrikes.

Fast-growing and wonderfully easy-going, Barleria repens will adapt to a number of situations. Plant it in a large container, or on top of a low wall, where its foliage and flowers can cascade down and show to advantage. Mass plant it in partial shade under trees to form a groundcover, or plant along the edge of an informal border, or in a lightly shaded rockery. When planted in very deep shade it tends to become lanky and untidy and does not produce as many flowers. Always provide good, light, well-drained soil and plenty of compost and other organic material. Spread a layer of mulch on the surface of the soil after planting, and renew regularly. Water well in summer, but much less in winter. Plants thrive when fed with slow release 3: 1: 5 at intervals of 6-8 weeks (throughout growing season). Prune the plant back hard after flowering (at the end of autumn/winter) to keep it neat.

Pest-free and fairly frost-tolerant, it can take sun or light shade, and can handle temperatures ranging from about -2°C to 36°C.

Bulbine Frutescens (Snake flower, Cat's tail)

Bulbine frutescens is a species of flowering plant in the genus Bulbine.

Bulbine comes from the Greek word bolbine, a general word for a bulbous plant, but particularly Ornithogalum.  The name is misleading, as plants do not have a bulbous base.

This is a popular, waterwise garden plant, especially when planted en masse as a ground cover, or in rock gardens. It is also cultivated for its medicinal properties.

This bulbine is mostly dormant in summer, blooming in the spring, and then again in autumn although somewhat less. It can be propagated easily by stem cuttings. The cuttings can be planted immediately and kept in a shady area. They do not need any special attention or treatment, and build strong roots in a couple of months.


It is a fast growing, branched, succulent perennial with fleshy, linear green leaves in opposite rows and clasping the stems at the base. It forms spreading clumps with greyish stems often bearing adventitious roots. The small 6-petaled star shaped flowers are carried on an upright, spreading raceme during spring (or occasionally at other times). The petals are either yellow or sometimes orange, which combines attractively with the fluffy yellow stamens to give a bi-coloured look. The fruit is a small, rounded capsule and contains black seeds which are dispersed by wind (Ernst van Jaarsveld pers.comm.).

Uses and cultural aspects

Bulbine frutescens is often used in landscaping where a drought-resistant, tough groundcover is required. It also has its value in the home garden.

The fresh leaf produces a jelly-like juice that is wonderful for burns, rashes, blisters, insect bites, cracked lips, acne, cold sores, mouth ulcers and areas of cracked skin. This plant is ideal to grow and is a useful first-aid remedy for childrens' daily knocks and scrapes. The Rastafarians make an infusion of a few fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water. The strained drink is taken for coughs, colds and arthritis.

Carissa Macrocarpa (Natal Plum)

Carissa macrocarpa, is a shrub native to South Africa, where it is commonly called the Large Num-Num. In Zulu, as well as in the Bantu tribes of Uganda, it is called amatungulu. In Afrikaans the fruit is called Noem-Noem.

C. macrocarpa deals well with salt-laden winds, making it a good choice for coastal areas. It is commonly found in the coastal bush of the Eastern Cape and Natal. It produces shiny, deep green leaves and snowy white flowers whose perfumed scent intensifies at night. Like other Carissa species, C. macrocarpa is a spiny, evergreen shrub containing latex. They bloom for months at a time. The ornamental plump, round, crimson fruit appears in summer and fall (autumn) at the same time as the blooms. In moderate, coastal areas the fruits appear through the year. The fruit can be eaten out of hand or made into pies, jams, jellies, and sauces. Some claim that other than the fruit, the plant is poisonous. However this claim is a myth, possibly based on similarities to other plants with milky sap. The California Poison Control System rates the plant as mildly toxic.

A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known fruit has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.

Aloysia triphylla, Citrodora (Lemon Beebrush)

Aloysia citrodora is a species of flowering plant in the verbena family Verbenaceae, native to western South America. Common names include lemon verbena and lemon beebrush. It was brought to Europe by the Spanish in the 17th century and cultivated for its oil.


Lemon verbena is a perennial shrub or subshrub growing to 2–3 m high. The 8 cm long glossy, pointed leaves are slightly rough to the touch and emit a powerful scent reminiscent of lemon when bruised (hence the Latin specific epithet citrodora—lemon-scented).

Sprays of tiny lilac or white flowers appear in late Spring or early Summer. It is sensitive to cold, losing leaves at temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) although the wood is hardy to −10 °C (14 °F). Due to its many culinary uses, it is widely listed and marketed as a plant for the herb garden.


Lemon verbena leaves are used to add a lemon flavor to fish and poultry dishes, vegetable marinades, salad dressings, jams, puddings, Greek yogurt and beverages. It also is used to make herbal teas, or added to standard tea in place of actual lemon (as is common with Moroccan tea). It can also be used to make a sorbet. In addition, it has anti-Candida albicans activity.

Moderate antioxidant supplementation with lemon verbena extract protects neutrophils against oxidative damage, decreasing the signs of muscular damage in chronic running exercise without blocking the cellular adaptation to exercise.

Lippia citriodora extract shows antioxidant properties that could play an important role in modulating GSH-reductase activity in lymphocytes and erythrocytes and protecting plasma from exercise oxidative damage.

Lemon verbena extract containing 25% verbascoside showed strong antioxidant capacity, especially in a lipophilic environment, which was higher than expected as concluded from the antioxidant capacity of pure verbascoside, probably due to synergistic effects. The capacity of verbascoside to act as an effective radical scavenger in lipophilic environments was also shown. Verbascoside-enriched extracts might have interesting applications in cosmetic, nutraceuticals or functional food. Although some "in vitro" genotoxicity of verbascoside has been reported on human lymphocytes with an involvement of PARP-1 and p53 proteins, subsequent "in vivo" tests reported no genotoxicity for high dosage oral administration.

Pelargonium cucculatum

Pelargonium cucullatum (also called Wildemalva, Tree pelargonium or Hooded-leaf pelargonium) is a species of plant in the Geraniaceae family, that is indigenous to the south-western Cape of South Africa. It produces masses of pink and purple flowers in the summer and has been used to produce a great number of modern Pelargonium hybrids.

This vigorous, fast-growing, tough shrub tolerant to coastal conditions and also excellent for groing in containers on a sunnt patio, informal borders and rockers and can reach heights of over 2 meters. The shrub us branched with the bottom of the main stem becoming quite woody.  The leaves grow upwards, forming circular bowls with jagged, red-tipped edges and are approximately 5-8cm wide.  Both the stems and leaves are hairy. The sweetly-scented flowers are purple or pink and appear for several months over the summer. During this time, the wild plants stand out in the indigenous fynbos in places like Table Mountain.

There are three subspecies, Pelargonium cucullatum subsp. cucullatum, Pelargonium cucullatum subsp. strigifolium and Pelargonium cucullatum subsp. tabulare

Subspecies tabulare is found in the Cape Peninsula.

Pelargonium cucullatum is becoming increasingly popular as a garden plant, especially in the Western Cape, South Africa. It prefers a sunny position and once established is very tough and waterwise. It can be propagated by cuttings and by seed. Like many geraniums, this plant's leaves give off a pleasant herbal scent when crushed and they have a wide variety of uses in traditional medicine.

Rosmarinus Officinalis 'McConell's Blue'

Rosmarinus officinalis, commonly known as rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs. The name "rosemary" derives from the Latin for "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus), or "dew of the sea", because in many locations, it needs no water other than the humidity carried by the sea breeze to live[citation needed]. The plant is also sometimes called anthos, from the ancient Greek word ἄνθος, meaning "flower".


Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub that has leaves similar to hemlock needles. The leaves are used as a flavoring in foods such as stuffings and roast lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but is reasonably hardy in cool climates. It can withstand droughts, surviving a severe lack of water for lengthy periods. Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 1.5 m (5 ft) tall, rarely 2 m (6 ft 7 in). The leaves are evergreen, 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) long and 2–5 mm broad, green above, and white below, with dense, short, woolly hair. The plant flowers in spring and summer in temperate climates, but the plants can be in constant bloom in warm climates; flowers are white, pink, purple or deep blue.


Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens and has many culinary and medical uses. The plant is said to improve the memory. The leaves are used to flavor various foods, such as stuffings and roast meats.

Aeonium Arboreum

Aeonium arboreum, (syn. Sempervivum arboreum), the tree aeonium, houseleek tree, or Irish rose, is a succulent, subtropical subshrub of the genus Aeonium. It is native to the hillsides of the Canary Islands. It bears rosettes of  fleshy leaves in terminal rosettes on the shoots,and large pyramidal panicles of small, star-shaped bright yellow flowers in the spring.

In temperate regions it needs to be grown under glass. The purple cultivar 'Zwartkop' ('Schwartzkopf') has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. There is also a white variety (var. albovariegatum).


Alstroemeria (/ˌælstrɨˈmɪəriə/; syn. Alstremeria), commonly called the Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are all native to South America. Almost all of the species are restricted to one of two distinct centers of diversity, one in central Chile, the other in eastern Brazil. Species of Alstroemeria from Chile are winter-growing plants while those of Brazil are summer-growing. All are long-lived perennials except Alstroemeria graminea, a diminutive annual from the Atacama Desert of Chile.


Plants of this genus grow from a cluster of tubers. They send up fertile and sterile stems, the fertile stems of some species reaching 1.5 meters in height. The leaves are alternately arranged and resupinate, twisted on the petioles so that the undersides face up. The leaves are variable in shape and the blades have smooth edges. The flowers are solitary or borne in umbels. The flower has six tepals each up to 5 centimeters long. They come in many shades of red, orange, purple, green, and white, and they often have spots. There are six curving stamens. The stigma has three lobes. The fruit is a capsule with three valves.


Aristea biflora is a member of the family Iridaceae and inhabitant the southwest Cape of South Africa. It is characterized by attractive violet to purple flowers with transparent to translucent bronze windows on the lower margins.



Aristea biflora is a perennial geophyte. The flattened stem reaches a height of 200 to 300 mm and occasionally 400 mm. The flowers have spade-shaped tepals which are lilac to blue with dark green or black markings, the inner tepals with transparent to translucent bronze windows on the lower margins. Aristea biflora is characterized by its long, linear anthers; further characteristic features are the relatively few-flowered inflorescence, the green and narrowly scariously margined bracts.


Aristeas require full sun and good rich soil with plenty of compost or peat added and regular watering throughout the year, but especially during winter and spring. Although an established plant will not easily recover if lifted and divided, it may survive if kept moist throughout the transplanting process.

In frost-prone areas, grow in a cool greenhouse and in frost-free grow in a border.

Salvia Lanceolata

Salvia lanceolata is a perennial shrub native to a small area of coast on the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. It is typically found growing in sandy ground at sea level, and on dry hills and flat ground up to 1000 feet elevation. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a pioneer in evolutionary theory, first described and named the plant "lanceolata" in 1791. Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg, who was delayed in South Africa on the way to Japan, first collected it nearly twenty years earlier, along with approximately 3,000 plants that he later described. It wasn't until 1800 that Thunberg gave the plant the specific epithet "nivea", to honor Scottish gardener and plant collector James Niven. Because of the rules of nomenclature, Lamarck's name had precedence because he was the first to name it.


Salvia lanceolata is a much branched shrub growing 3 ft tall and 2-4 ft wide, with stems that become woody and light tan as they age. The leaves are lanceolate and evergreen, thick textured, and dove-gray with a green undertone. The .5 inch long calyx expands to 1 inch after the flowers are fertilized, turning pink. The 1.5 inch flowers are an unusual dull rosy brownish color. The plant blooms sparsely over a long period, from May through November.

When crushed, the leaves give off a light fragrance reminiscent of lemon pepper, and are used in South Africa for cooking, most commonly with fish.


Salvia Runcinata

A small aromatic shrub indigenous to South Africa, growing over a wide area from Northern Gauteng to the Free State and has a long history of being used in traditional medicine as well as being burnt to fumigate houses.

The crushed leaves don't give off a very familiar aromatic notes but a breakdown of the individual components gives a better understanding of where they come from.


These shrubs grow up to 50 cm high and require full sun.


Strelitzia Reginae

Strelitzia reginae is a monocotyledonous flowering plant indigenous to South Africa. Common names include Strelitzia, Crane Flower or Bird of Paradise, though these names are also collectively applied to other species in the genus Strelitzia. Its scientific name commemorates Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen consort of the United Kingdom.


The plant grows to 2 m (6.6 ft) tall, with large, strong leaves 25–70 cm (9.8–28 in) long and 10–30 cm (3.9–12 in) broad, produced on petioles up to 1 m (39 in) long. The leaves are evergreen and arranged in two ranks, making a fan-shaped crown. The flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of long stalks. The hard, beak-like sheath from which the flower emerges is termed the spathe. This is placed perpendicular to the stem, which gives it the appearance of a bird's head and beak; it makes a durable perch for holding the sunbirds which pollinate the flowers. The flowers, which emerge one at a time from the spathe, consist of three brilliant orange sepals and three purplish-blue petals. Two of the blue petals are joined together to form an arrow-like nectary. When the sunbirds sit to drink the nectar, the petals open to cover their feet in pollen.


Strelitzia Nicolai

Strelitzia nicolai, commonly known as the Giant White Bird of Paradise or Wild Banana are banana-like plants with erect woody stems reaching a height of 6 m (20 ft) and the clumps formed can spread as far as 3.5 m (12 ft).


The 1.8 m (6 ft) long leaves are grey-green and arranged like a fan at the top of the stems, similar to Ravenala madagascariensis. The inflorescence is composed of a dark blue bract, white sepals and a bluish-purple "tongue". The entire flower can be as much as 18 cm high by 45 cm long and is typically held just above the point where the leaf fan emerges from the stem. Flowers are followed by triangular seed capsules.


This species is one of three tree-like Strelitzia species, the other two being S. caudata and S. alba. S. nicolai is restricted to evergreen coastal forest and thicket of eastern South Africa from the Great Fish River northwards to Richards Bay.


Tulbaghia Violaceae

This is a popular garden plant that is useful for difficult hot corners of the garden as it will tolerate prolonged drought, although it flourishes with regular watering.


Tulbaghia violacea is a fast-growing, bulbous plant that reaches a height of 0.5 m. The leaves are long, narrow, strap-like, slightly fleshy and smell strongly of garlic when bruised. They grow from fat, tuberous roots which spread to form clumps of plants. The pinkish mauve, tubular flowers, clustered into umbels of up to twenty flowers, are held above the leaves on a tall flower stalk, and appear over a long period in summer (January to April). They too smell of garlic when picked. The fruit, triangular capsules, are grouped into a head, and when ripe they split to release the flattened, hard black seeds.


This drought resistant plant stretches from the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, to as far north as Zimbabwe.



Acorus is a genus of monocot flowering plants. This genus was once placed within the family Araceae (aroids), but more recent classifications place it in its own family Acoraceae and order Acorales, of which it is the sole genus of the oldest surviving line of monocots. The exact relationship of Acorus to other monocots, however, is still debated by scientists. Some studies indicate that it is placed in a lineage (the order Alismatales), that also includes aroids (Araceae), Tofieldiaceae, and several families of aquatic monocots (e.g., Alismataceae, Posidoniaceae). Common names include Calamus and Sweet Flag. It is known as vasambu in Tamil language.

The name 'acorus' is derived from the Greek word 'acoron', a name used by Dioscorides, which in turn was derived from 'coreon', meaning 'pupil', because it was used in herbal medicine as a treatment for inflammation of the eye.

The genus is native to North America and northern and eastern Asia, and naturalised in southern Asia and Europe from ancient cultivation. The known wild populations are diploid except for some tetraploids in eastern Asia, while the cultivated plants are sterile triploids, probably of hybrid origin between the diploid and tetraploid forms.


The inconspicuous flowers are arranged on a lateral spadix (a thickened, fleshy axis). Unlike aroids, there is no spathe (large bract, enclosing the spadix). The spadix is 4–10 cm long and is enclosed by the foliage. The bract can be ten times longer than the spadix. The leaves are linear with entire margin.


The parallel-veined leaves of some species contain ethereal oils that give a sweet scent when dried. Fine-cut leaves used to be strewn across the floor in the Middle Ages, both for the scent, and for presumed efficacy against pests..


Arundinaria disticha

Thin growth and a delicate appearance make this a good ornamental. It has very small leaves that look very much like fern leaves. If growth gets out of control plant may be cut back to the ground. Bamboo is a common term for a large number of giant grasses that include many different species and varieties. Bamboo used worldwide for many purposes from building materials to making paper. There are two main types of bamboo. Runner types send out underground stems to varying distances and sent up a vertical shoot. These will grow in large thickets or grove if left alone. Runners are mainly found in temperate regions. Clump bamboos have underground stems that sprout vertical shoots much closer their parent plants glowing slowly outward. Clumpers tend to be tropical or subtropical.


Cyperus Papyrus

Cyperus papyrus (papyrus sedge, paper reed, Indian matting plant, Nile grass) is a species of aquatic flowering plant belonging to the sedge family Cyperaceae. It is a tender herbaceous perennial, native to Africa, Egypt and forms tall stands of reed-like swamp vegetation in shallow water.

Papyrus sedge (and its close relatives) has a very long history of use by humans, notably by the Ancient Egyptians — it is the source of papyrus paper, parts of it can be eaten, and the highly buoyant stems can be made into boats. It is now often cultivated as an ornamental plant.


This tall, robust, leafless aquatic plant can grow 4 to 5 m (13 to 16 ft) high. It forms a grass-like clump of triangular green stems that rise up from thick, woody rhizomes. Each stem is topped by a dense cluster of thin, bright green, thread-like stems around 10 to 30 cm (4 to 10 in) in length, resembling a feather duster when the plant is young. Greenish-brown flower clusters eventually appear at the ends of the rays, giving way to brown, nut-like fruits.

The younger parts of the rhizome are covered by red-brown, papery, triangular scales, which also cover the base of the culms. Botanically these represent reduced leaves, so strictly it is not quite correct to call this plant fully "leafless".



Liquidambar styraciflua

Liquidambar styraciflua, commonly called the American sweetgum, sweet-gum (sweet gum in the UK), alligator-wood, American-storax, bilsted, red-gum, satin-walnut, or star-leaved gum, is a deciduous tree in the genus Liquidambar native to warm temperate areas of eastern North America and tropical montane regions of Mexico and Central America. A popular ornamental tree in temperate climates, it is recognizable by the combination of its five-pointed star-shaped leaves and its hard, spiked fruits. It is currently classified in the plant family Altingiaceae, but was formerly considered a member of the Hamamelidaceae


Liquidambar styraciflua is a medium-sized to large tree, growing anywhere from 33–50 feet in cultivation and up to 150 feet in the wild state, with a trunk up to 2–3 feet in diameter, on average. Trees may live to 400 years. The tree is a symmetrical shape and crowns into an egg shape when the branches get too heavy after its first two years of cultivation.

The leaves usually have five (but sometimes three or seven) sharply pointed palmate lobes. They are 3-5 inches wide on average and have three distinct bundle scars. They are long and broad, with a 6–10 cm petiole. The rich dark green, smooth, shiny, star-shaped leaves generally turn brilliant orange, red, and purple colors in the autumn. This autumnal coloring has been characterized as not simply a flame, but a conflagration. Its reds and yellows compare to that of the maples (Acer), and in addition it has the dark purples and smoky browns of the ash (Fraxinus). However, in the northern part of its range, and where planted in yet colder areas, the leaves are often killed by frost while still green. On the other hand, in the extreme southern or tropical parts of its range, some trees are evergreen or semi-evergreen, with negligible fall color. The leaves are three to seven inches broad with glandular serrate teeth. The base is truncate or slightly heart-shaped. They come out of the bud plicate, downy, pale green, when full grown are bright green, smooth, shining above, paler beneath. They contain tannin and when bruised give a resinous fragrance.

While the starry five-pointed leaves of Liquidambar resemble those of some maples (Acer), Liquidambar is easily distinguished from Acer by its glossy, leathery leaves that are positioned singly (alternate), not in pairs (opposite) on the stems. Luna and Promethea moth caterpillars feed on the leaves.

Another distinctive feature of the tree is the peculiar appearance of its small branches and twigs. The bark attaches itself to these in plates edgewise instead of laterally, and a piece of the leafless branch with the aid of a little imagination readily takes on a reptilian form; indeed, the tree is sometimes called Alligator-wood. The bark is a light brown tinged with red and sometimes gray with dark streaks and weighs 37 lbs. per cubic foot. It is deeply fissured with scaly ridges. The branches carry layers of cork. The branchlets are pithy, many-angled, winged, and at first covered with rusty hairs, finally becoming red brown, gray or dark brown. As an ornamental tree, the species has a drawback—the branches may have ridges or "wings" that cause more surface area, increasing weight of snow and ice accumulation on the tree. However, the wood is heavy and hard with an interlocking grain, but is difficult to season.

The flowers typically appear in Summer and persist into Autumn, sometimes persisting into the Winter. They are typically about 1–1.5 inches in diameter and are covered with rusty hairs. The flowers are unisexual and greenish in color. Staminate flowers in terminal racemes two to three inches long, the pistillate in a solitary head on a slender peduncle borne in the axil of an upper leaf. Staminate flowers destitute of calyx and corolla, but are surrounded by hairy bracts. Stamens indefinite; filaments short; anthers introrse. Pistillate flowers with a two-celled, two-beaked ovary, the carpels produced into a long, recurved, persistent style. The ovaries all more or less cohere and harden in fruit. Ovules many but few mature.


Acer Buergerianum

Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple; Chinese: 三角枫 san jiao feng) is a species of maple native to eastern China (from Shandong west to southeastern Gansu, south to Guangdong and southwest to Sichuan) and Taiwan.


It is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree reaching a height of 5–20 m with a trunk up to 50 cm diameter. The leaves are in opposite pairs, 2.5–8 cm long (excluding the 2–5 cm petiole) and 3.5–6.5 cm broad, hard, glossy dark green above, paler below, usually with three lobes; on mature trees the lobes forward-pointing and with smooth margins, on young trees with more spreading lobes and serrated margins. The flowers are produced in spring, yellow-green, in pendulous corymbs; they are small, with five greenish sepals and five yellow-white petals about 2 mm long, and eight stamens. The fruit is a samara with two winged seeds, each seed 4–7 mm diameter, with a 15 mm wing; the wings are forward-pointing and often overlapping each other.


It is widely grown in temperate regions as an ornamental tree. It was introduced very early to Japan, where its name translates as "China maple". More recently, it was introduced to Europe and North America in 1896, and is now occasionally grown in parks and large gardens there.

Acacia Sieberiana

Acacia sieberiana is a perennial tree native to Africa and introduced into Pakistan. It is known in South Africa as the Paperbark Thorn. It is used in many areas for various products.

It is not listed as being a threatened species.


A magnificent, widely spreading, flat crown (12 m high, 16 m wide) of deep green, feathery foliage (deciduous) and attractive creamy-tan to yellow-brown corky bark, make this an easy tree to identify. The flaky, papery bark peels off in flattish strips, revealing a yellow underbark.


Pods Balls of creamy to pale yellow scented flowers are borne in spring to summer (September to November) and entice insects. Paired thorns are long, strong, straight and white. Light brown, woody pods are formed from autumn (March) onwards, are cylindrical and thickened (often with velvety hairs).


This tree is easily propagated from seed that has been immersed in boiling water and soaked overnight. Protect young plants from frost. They are suited to medium to large gardens. Allow these magnificent trees the space to show off their wonderful shapes - don't crowd and clutter them. However, on a large property, five to six trees planted fairly close together make an impressive group.


This tree is half-hardy and very fast-growing with fertile soil and sufficient water, and tolerates temperatures ranging from about -2°C to 40°C. Plant in the sun.


Populus Simonii

A quick growing fastigiate deciduous tree. The green shiny leaves are oval to diamond shaped, with a pale silvery underneath.They turn a brilliant yellow in the autumn months.


Populus simonii is well known throughout the greater Cape Town area where the appearance of the profusion of decorative catkins and the delicate green of the new leaves, heralds the arrival of spring.


Although this charming tree is not indigenous, it is particularly well suited to the often difficult growing conditions in this area, especially the long, hot and dry summers as well as the gale force winds. The non suckering Chinese poplar, has a lovely, neat, rounded crown of shiny green foliage which turns bright yellow in autumn before being shed in winter. The somewhat delicate appearance of this attractive tree belies it’s extreme hardiness and ability to adapt to the most unfavourable conditions. In China, Populus simonii has been extremely successfully used for the reforestation of large areas of desert, in spite of severe winters with heavy snow and hot dry summers with searing temperatures in excess of 40 degrees as well as continuous strong winds.

The beautiful Chinese poplar is a lovely addition to almost any type of garden as it lends interest throughout the year, changing  it’s appearance as each new season approaches. This is an excellent specimen tree on a large lawn, or showcase the wonderful uniform growth habit to it’s best advantage by creating an eye catching avenue along a driveway, or even as an effective windbreak along a fence line. As the Populus simonii is so hardy it is a perfect choice for any public area where difficult growing conditions prevail. For seaside gardens with harsh drying winds and sandy soil, Chinese poplar will reward the homeowner with fast, lush growth as well as binding the soil and offering protection for less hardy plants. Several butterfly larvae feed off this tree.


Quercus Palustris (Pin Oak, Swamp Spanish Oak)

It is native to North America, mainly in the eastern United States from Connecticut west to eastern Kansas, and south to Georgia, across to eastern Oklahoma; it is also native in the extreme south of Ontario, Canada. The pin oak is also well adapted to life in Australia (where it has been introduced) and is quite widespread across the Australian continent especially in the cooler southern States such as Victoria and New South Wales. Is also well adapted to life in Argentina, especially in the Río de la Plata region.



It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 18–22m tall, with a trunk up to 1m diameter. It has an 8–14m spread. A 10-year-old tree will be about 8m tall. The crown is broad conic when young, with numerous small branches radiating out from a central leader. When older, some upper branches become quite large and the central leader is lost, while the lower branches gradually droop downwards.

The leaves are 5–16cm (2.0–6.3 in) long and 5–12cm (2.0–4.7 in) broad, lobed, with five or seven lobes. Each lobe has 5-7 bristle-tipped teeth. The sinuses are typically u-shaped and extremely deep cut. In fact, there is approximately the same amount of sinus area as actual leaf area. The leaf is mostly hairless, except for a very characteristic tuft of pale orange-brown down on the lower surface where each lobe vein joins the central vein. Overall autumn leaf coloration is generally bronze, though individual leaves may be red for a time. The acorns, borne in a shallow, thin cap, are hemispherical, 10–16mm long and 9–15mm broad, green maturing pale brown about 18 months after pollination. The acorn is unpalatable because the kernel is very bitter.

A fast-growing pioneer or riparian species, Pin Oak is relatively short-lived, with a maximum lifespan of 120 years against many oaks which can live several centuries. It is naturally a wetland tree, and develops a shallow, fibrous root system, unlike many oaks, which have a strong, deep taproot when young. It is confined to acidic soils, and does not tolerate limestone or sandy Florida soil, and grows at low altitudes from sea level up to 350 m.


A characteristic shared by a few other oak species, and also some beeches and hornbeams, is the retention of leaves through the winter on juvenile tissue. Young trees under 6m will often be covered with leaves year-round, though the leaves die in the fall, remaining attached to the shoots until the new leaves appear in the spring. As with many other oak species, dead pin oak branches will stay on the tree for many years.


The acorns are small with a thin, shallow cap.

The pin oak is in the red oak subgenus: pointed lobes.

The sinuses are very deeply cut and u-shaped.

The amount of sinus area is approximately equivalent to the amount of actual leaf area.

The upper branches point upwards, the middle branches are perpendicular to trunk, and the lower branches angle down.

Pin oak grows primarily on level or nearly level, poorly drained alluvial floodplain and river bottom soils with high clay content. Pin oak is usually found on sites that flood intermittently during the dormant season but do not ordinarily flood during the growing season. It does not grow on the lowest, most poorly drained sites that may be covered with standing water through much of the growing season. However, it does grow extensively on poorly drained upland "pin oak flats" on the glacial till plains of southwestern Ohio, southern Illinois and Indiana, and northern Missouri. The level topography and presence of a claypan in the soil of these areas cause these sites to be excessively wet in winter and spring.


Our plant selection has expanded in leaps and bounds with emphasis on tough hardy plants which thrive in our summer 45 degree days and are resistant to the Cape spring south easter winds.


Our plants are acclimatised to these conditions, and in turn, tolerate coastal harsh conditions and exposed mountain conditions.


We pride ourselves in growing lush, full plants, through excellent feeding programs and individually trained and cared for plants.


Professional horticultural advice is always given on line or on site to ensure top results in your gardens

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Carmen Malan

082 863 5566