Top 10 Indigenous Plants for Spring

With South Africa being a drought prone country and water a scarce resource, we are all affected as gardeners.  The rains have been scarce this spring and it seems likely that we will be experiencing  a dry season this year.  Yet there are ways to keep the watering down to a minimum (mulching being one of them). Indigenous and water wise gardening seem to go hand-in-hand. However, there are certain indigenous plants that are a must for the garden.

Some  of the benefits of growing indigenous plants are:

  • Good source of food and shelter for birds and wildlife
  • Waterwise and better adapted to our drier conditions
  • Creates a habitat for wildlife
  • Often thrives in poorer quality soil
  • Needs less care and attention

1. Kiggelaria africana –Wild peach

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  • Fast growing evergreen tree
  • Host to the Acraea horta butterfly
  • Great for attracting birds and wildlife
  • Colourful seed pods
  • Ideal for small gardens

2. Halleria lucida – Tree fuchsia


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  • Evergreen tree or large shrub
  • Arching drooping branches with glossy bright green foliage
  • Tubular orange flowers that are rich in nectar
  • Great for attracting birds and wildlife

3. Chondropetalum (Elegia) tectorum – Cape thatching reed

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  • Evergreen restio grass
  • Great for flower arrangements
  • Excellent in mass plantings or on its own as a specimen plant
  • Can be used in bog or marsh gardens
  • Works great with fynbos plants like proteas

4. Felicia amelloides – Kingfisher daisy

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  • Fast growing bushy ground cover
  • Long flowering striking blue flowers
  • Acts as a pioneer plant
  • Attracts bees and butterflies
  • looks amazing in pots and containers
  • Fun fact: used on our stamps

5.Plumbago auriculata – Cape leadwort

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  • Tough evergreen scrambling shrub
  • Grows up to 2-3m in height
  • Bears masses of light blue flowers during
  • There is also a lovely white form
  • Host plant to the common blue butterfly (Cyclyris pirithous)
  • Great for hedging and screening
  • Prune to rejuvenate

6.Tulbaghia violacea – Wild garlic

Tulbaghia violacea at Hoyland Plant Centre, Hampton Court 2011

  • Wild garlic is a quick growing bulbous plant
  • Drought resistant and easy to grow
  • Excellent repellent plant
  • Brilliant pink to lavender coloured flowers during spring and summer
  • Leaves can be used in salads or to add a garlic flavour to dishes
  • Split and divide every five years

7. Plectranthus ecklonii ‘Mona lavender’

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  • Evergreen small shrub
  • Perfect for under trees and shaded areas
  • Attractive foliage with stunning flowers during summer
  • They are known for their aromatic leaves
  • Cut back after flowering
  • Excellent for pots and containers

8. Tecoma capensis – Cape honeysuckle

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  • Fast growing evergreen scrambling shrub
  • Can grow up to 2m in height
  • Protect from frost in winter
  • Flowers regularly
  • Colour varies from yellow, salmon to red and orange
  • Can used as a hedge or trimmed to make a neat shrub
  • Tubular flowers attract nectar feeding birds

9. Gazania krebsiana – Botterblom

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  • Tufted evergreen groundcover
  • Easy to grow and waterwise
  • Great for pots and containers
  • The more sun, the better
  • Flowers come in stunning variety of colours

10. Osteospermum hybrids – Cape daisy

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  • Easy to grow evergreen small shrub
  • Cape daisies are waterwise and provide an abundance of colour
  • Excellent for pots and containers
  • Available in a stunning range of colours
  • Prune back after flowering
  • Great for sunny warm areas

Gardening with indigenous plants allows you enjoy all the colour and reward of gardening without the shock of a hefty water bill at the end of this month.