South Africa is home to some of the most beautiful garden plants. Here are just a few gorgeous flowers that you could grow in your garden to make it ‘proudly South African’.
This easy-to-grow plant is indigenous to the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and eastern Mpumalanga. It’s one of our most popular plants — you’ll often see it in faraway gardens overseas — and the orange clusters of flowers herald the beginning of spring.
The plants are happiest out of the sun — in shady areas, under trees, in containers or on a shady veranda. It’s also available in other colours, like pale yellow and deep reddish orange.
2. Dietes Grandiflora
These white, iris-like flowers are beautiful to behold with their yellow and mauve markings, but their real glory is seen when planted en masse.
A single flower only lasts a day, but because new flowers open continually, plant enough and you’re sure to have a magnificent spring display. Best of all, it’s not fussy at all, and will grow well in dry, shady or sunny areas.
3. Arum lily
The elegant arum lily is a must in any garden. The attractive white flowers with long, broad, dark green leaves stand out among other plants and add interest to a flower bed.
It flowers during winter and spring in the Cape areas and in spring and summer in summer rainfall areas. Arum lilies love being planted in damp, shaded areas and if they’re happy in your garden, the plants will reward you with long-lasting cut flowers.
What a unique flower the strelizia is, with its vibrant orange and blue flowers. It’s also called the crane flower because its magnificent blooms are reminiscent of a crane with a crown of feathers.
In fact, it’s such a South African icon, that it even appears on our 50 cent coins and in flower arrangements all over the world. If you’d like to grow the plant, only water it when dry and keep the soil well mulched.
Also known by their tongue-twisting scientific name as ‘mesembryanthemum’ — which means midday flowering — this little plant is indigenous to the south-western Cape. It comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and a wide array of colours from pinks to purples and oranges to yellows.
They’re a great addition to a rock garden or other dry areas because you don’t need to water them very often and they flower reliably and spectacularly. The succulents are also easily propagated with cuttings and butterflies just love them!
6. Red hot poker
The name says it all! These upright plants with bright flame-coloured flowers are seen all over the country. Different species flower in different seasons and they’re all great for attracting sunbirds — be sure to plant them in large clumps for a spectacular showing.
They love water, so water them regularly during summer and give them fertilizer during spring to ensure a good show.
7. Pincushion protea
One of our most loved proteas, it’s native to the south-western Cape, but in the right conditions, it should grow in most areas of our country. The flowers grow on roundish shrubs that grow to about 1.5m high.
Once established, it’s a wonderfully rewarding, low-maintenance plant that birds will love, and the cut flowers will add a proudly South African touch to your home for weeks.