Planting Suggestions 1: Indigenous Trees, Shrubs, Herbaceous Plants and Creepers for Cold Areas

Dear Plant Lovers

We often get asked for suggestions for plants for colder areas.  Here are some suggestions put together by Geoff Nicholls.

A good book to partner these suggestions is:

Mountain Flowers – A Field Guide to the Flora of the Drakensberg and Lesotho

ISBN0 620 30221 6

A 320 paged soft-cover book.

A handy guide covering more than 1000 plant species.

With over 1300 colour photographs.

Margin maps leaf and flower drawings.

A superb book.


  • By Pooley E,
  • Published   2003



Apodytes dimidiata            White Pear                               Yes                             Red & blackberries

Bowkeria verticillata         Natal Shell-flower Bush        Hardy                         Small tree, white snapdragon “slippers”

Calodendrum capense       Cape Chestnut                         Yes                              Large tree showy pink flowers in summer.

Canthium ciliatum              Hairy Turkey-berry               Yes                               Small tree/shrub spiny branches

Canthium mundianum       Rock Alder                             Yes                                Small vertical, open tree with yellow Autumn leaves

Cassinopsis ilicifolia            Lemon Thorn                        Hardy                           Hedge plant thorny and good for shelter orange berries for colour

Celtis africana                      White Stinkwood                  Yes                                Shade tree but buy from cold nursery beware of Chinese imports

Cussonia paniculata            Mountain Cabbage Tree     Slightly                         Blue green leaves, accent plant

Cussonia spicata                  Common Cabbage Tree      Yes                                  Larger lower altitude species accent and bird food.

Cyathea dregei                     Tree Fern                               Hardy                            Accent plant wet feet and full sun

Dais cotinifolia                     Pom-pom tree                       Yes                                 Moist sites, pink pompoms

Diospyros lycioides             Bluebush                                Hardy                            Good shelter belt and garden tree

Diospyros whyteana          Bladder-nut                           Yes                                  Small tree, shiny dark green foliage

Euclea crispa                       Blue Guarri                            Hardy                              Small tree

Ficus ingens                         Red-leaved Fig                      Hardy                              Small tree browsed and fruits for birds

Grewia occidentalis           Crossberry                             At first                             Small tree or shrub, semi shade, mauve flowers

Greyia sutherlandii            Natal bottlebrush                 Yes                                  Straggly, robust small tree, scarlet flowers

Gymnosporia buxifolia      Common Spike-thorn         Hardy                             Small shade tree, lovely “blocky” bark,

Halleria lucida                     Tree Fuchsia                         At first                            Orange flowers direct on stem attracts birds

Heteromorpha trifoliata    Parsley tree                          Hardy                             Small tree

Ilex mitis                                Cape Holly                            Yes                                  Tree, moist site, semi shade, makes dense canopy

Kiggelaria africana            Wild Peach                           Hardy                             Small tree, open habit, grayish peach leaves

Leucosidea sericea              Ouhout                                  Hardy                             Small tree, pruning creates Bonsai effect

Maytenus acuminata          Silk-bark                               Hardy                            Shade tree, leaves & bark break with “silk” threads

Maytenus peduncularis      Cape Blackwood                 Hardy                            Small tree

Maytenus undata                 Koko tree                              Yes at first                    Shade tree, leaves pale at back

Morella pilulifera                 Broadleaved waxberry       At first                           Small tree, very dense green canopy

Myrsine africana                 Cape Myrtle

Olea europea ssp. africana  Wild Olive                           At first                           Tree, shrub or hedge, leaves grey behind. Stands drought

Olinia emarginata               Mountain hard pear           Hardy                            Beautiful, shiny shade tree with pale stem

Pittosporum viridiflorum   Cheesewood                         Yes                                 Small tree, shrub, hedge

Podocarpus latifolius         True Yellowwood                  At first                          Shade tree, good soil & moist site, stands shade

Podocarpus henkelii           Henkel’s Yellowwood          At first                          Specimen tree food and shelter tree

Protea roupelliae                Silver Sugarbush                   Hardy                           Sugarbird and Sunbird Trees

Protea caffra                        Natal Sugarbush                   Hardy                            ugarbird and Sunbird Trees

Protea subvestita                Lip-flower Sugarbush          Hardy                           Sugarbird and Sunbird Trees

Protea aristata                    Ladismith Sugarbush           Hardy                          W. Cape rewarding

Protea eximia                       Broad-leaved Sugarbush     Hardy                          W. Cape rewarding

Protea lacticolor                 Hottentot Sugarbush            Hardy                          W. Cape rewarding

Prunus africana                  Red Stinkwood                      Hardy                           Large tree pioneer in Midlands, attracts birds

Ptaeroxylon obliquum        Sneezewood

Rapanea melanophloeos   Cape Beech                            At first                         Pioneer tree on forest margins, moist sites

Rhamnus prinoides             Dogwood                               Hardy                          Small tree, shrub, and hedge. Shiny dark green leaves

Rhigozum obovatum           Yellow pomegranate          Yes                                Small flowering tree, well drained site

Rothmannia capensis         Common Rothmannia       Hardy                           Shrub for shade or sun. Fruit for monkeys

Rothmannia globosa          September Bells                   Yes                                Shrub for shade or sun. Fruit for monkeys.

Salix mucronata ssp. woodii   Natal Willow                  Hardy                           Small riverside tree, moist sites

Scolopia mundii                  Red pear                                Hardy                            Shade tree, shiny leaves, red new shoots, moist sites

Seemannaralia gerrardii   Wild Maple                          Yes                                 Tree for birds and deciduous for interest in garden.

Senegalia caffra                       Common Hook Thorn   Yes                                 Cream flowers

Smodingium argutum         Rainbow leaf                      Yes                                  Small tree, Rhus-like autumn colours, has a toxic sap

Vachellia karroo                      Sweet Thorn                    Yes                                  Yellow flowers sweet scented

Virgilia oroboides               Cape Keurboom                  Yes                                  Tree with lovely purple pea flowers, short lived, approx. 10 years

Widdringtonia nodiflora   Berg Cypress                       Hardy                             Small accent tree. Clips to bush or hedge

Ziziphus mucronata            Buffalo thorn                      At first                            Clip to small tree, shrub or thorny hedge