Adenium multiflorum
Adenium multiflorum

The Impala Lily is a deciduous, succulent shrub or small tree, 0.5-3 m tall, with quite beautiful white, pink, crimson, red and bicoloured flowers that flower in winter when the stems are bare of leaf. Flowers are sweetly scented and are on show from May to September. Plants need warm, well-drained sandy soils and do not enjoy cold or damp conditions. Excellent in rockeries and as a container plant.

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Rhigozum obovatum
Rhigozum obovatum

A rather scruffy, multi-stemmed shrub with sharp spines, sparse foliage and gorgeous large, bright yellow flowers with frilly margins. Plant in a hot, dry spot for best effect – and never water it as this prevents flowering. A slow-grower that is worth the wait, and so useful in difficult areas. Frost hardy and drought resistant. 2 x 2 m. By JonRichfield via Wiki Commons

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Thorncroftia succulenta
Thorncroftia succulenta

A semi-succulent shrub that combines water-wise qualities with beauty and easy-care attributes. Spikes of pink, mauve, purple flowers cover the shrub from February to June. Frost hardy.

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Crassula rupestris
Crassula rupestris

A knee-high shrublet with fat, egg-shaped blue-green leaves often tinged with red and purple. In mid-winter, white flowers, with a reddish tinge, grow in small clusters at the tips of branches. Plant in full sun. Excellent for rockeries and containers. A succulent for the winter rainfall region. Image by-Olei-via-Wiki-Commons

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Gomphocarpus physocarpus
Gomphocarpus physocarpus

Tall and single stemmed with sparse foliage, the wild cotton has long narrow leaves and little upside-down caps of white flowers which hang in bunches off the stem, and large round inflated balls filled with silky hairs attached to the seeds. Used by birds to line nests. Each plant only lasts a couple of years but they self-seed with enthusiasm. Host plant of the Monarch butterfly. A lovely tall plant for the grassland.

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Flowering through May-June

May articles: Previous   Next

By Anno Torr

Late autumn and early winter offer a cornucopia of situational and regional pageants for South African gardens.

Their value is many-fold: providing wildlife food in the form of nectar and pollen, and adding bright, cheerful colour to a drying landscape in summer-rainfall areas. Western Cape gardeners look forward to the main rainfall season – hopefully, these are abundant! Down there, many of the sugarbushes carry their world-famous blooms, along with a few aloes and other succulents, as well as popular fynbos shrubs – Coleonema, Phylica – and a few restios. Many fynbos specialists are waiting out this uncertain rainfall period, readying themselves to burst forth over the next month or so. For those gardeners in the driest regions of the country like the Succulent Karoo (winter rainfall areas), there are a few in flower through May and June.

 

It is also a time when the climatic differences become most noticeable and so we’ve arranged according to regions and frost levels. But take note too of temperature extremes, and the sun and shade areas within your garden; these microclimates have a significant impact on a plant’s survival.

Tetradenia riparia
Tetradenia riparia

A large, rambling shrub (3 x 5 m) with soft lilac to mauve, or white flowers that produce a mist-like display on bare grey branches from June until August. Male and female flowers grow on separate plants and differ in size and shape with the female flowers being the more compact of the two. Give this shrub some protection in frosty areas to prevent spoiling the flower show. A fast-growing shrub for Bushveld gardens. Plant in full sun – or in afternoon shade in very hot, dry regions.

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Senecio barbertonicus
Senecio barbertonicus

A lovely succulent shrub that comes into its own in winter, adding lime green foliage and acid yellow flowers for insects and gardeners. A neat, rounded shrub between 1 and 1,5 m high, Tiny flowers cluster in groups at the branch tips from winter to summer. Plants are water wise and cope with a light to moderate frost. Plant in sun and partial shade.

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Protea compacta
Protea compacta

A large, single-stemmed and sparsely branched shrub with long stems for large coastal fynbos gardens with pink or white flowers producing a most attractive show for most of the year. Plants grow up to 2.0 - 3.5 m tall. Pinch back the young plants and regularly cut the long-stemmed flowers to prevent them becoming top-heavy and falling over. Plant in full sun. Make sure it has good air circulation, and don’t crowd it amongst other shrubs. Image by by Nanosanchez-via-Wiki-Commons

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Polygala myrtifolia
Polygala myrtifolia

An attractive lightly foliaged shrub usually 1- 2 m high with an upright form and a few slender branches. Flowers (August/ Sept and on and off through the year) are mixed shades of purple and an important flower for the carpenter bee. Will grow in winter and summer rainfall areas, sun, light shade, moist and dry soils, though will produce fewer flowers in the shade. Frost hardy and water wise.

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Aloe greaheadii
Aloe greaheadii

Aloe greatheadii is indigenous to the Highveld and flowers in the dappled shade. Image by Emmarie Otto

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Macledium zeyheri
Macledium zeyheri

Macledium zeyheri, Doll’s Protea, has white flowers are white tinged with purple and green and appear throughout summer and autumn between the grasses. Autumn to winter, flowers and leaves turn brown, still beautiful in an early winter landscape. This flower makes a beautiful cut flower for small vases. Image by Emmarie Otto

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Phylica ericoides
Phylica ericoides

A showy shrublet with a neat, compact form and gorgeous texture as a background shrub. Short, narrow Erica-like leaves of dark green give it a spiky appeal through the year. In autumn, March through July, showy white button flowers mass on the tips of the many branches. Plant this tough shrublet in full sun.

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Nuxia congesta
Nuxia congesta

A neat shrub to small tree with gorgeous heads of scented white or cream flowers. They form large heads and are long-lasting. Easy to grow, fast-growing, water wise and drought hardy. Flowers through to November. Plant in full sun. Image by-Marco-Schmidt-via-Wiki-Commons

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Cymbopogon validus
Cymbopogon validus

Great big tufts of greenish grey leaves grow to 2m topped with golden brown seed heads. Loved by birds.

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Dodonaea viscosa subsp. angustifolia
Dodonaea viscosa subsp. angustifolia

Drought & wind resistant, frost hardy, & water wise. Add attractive flowers and screening foliage and you have an almost perfect shrub. Unless you'd prefer bright flowers! Plant in full sun.

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