Small & medium-sized plants for hedges & screens

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A wide range of beautiful hedging plants are available at nurseries; some with evergreen leaves and others like roses, which lose their leaves in winter but make up for this by producing beautiful flowers or berries. Many plants can be grown both as formal or informal hedges but always choose tough, reliable plants that are not prone to dying off easily and are suitable for your climatic region. To avoid having to spray for pests and diseases, select plants that are relatively disease free.

Nandina, Dwarf Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica Pygmaea)
This little plant is prized by gardeners for its beautiful leaves and neat round shape. In summer the leaves are green and new growth is reddish-purple; but in autumn the leaves take on coppery hues, and the colder it gets the more the colours intensify, turning a fiery red. It is easy-to-grow and popular for small gardens. The delicate appearance of this plant makes it a good contrast for bold leaved plants. It makes a wonderful edging plant or low-growing hedge if planted +- 40cm apart. It will endure diverse growing conditions and grows easily throughout the country, but needs regular watering in dry areas. This semi-evergreen is hardy to all but severe frost; grows +-50 to 60cm tall and +-50cm wide; and grows in full sun or semi-shade, but leaf colour is more intense in full sun.

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Holly Mahonia (Mahonia aquifolium)
This is an easy to grow evergreen plant with beautiful dark green holly-like leaves that turn bronze in autumn. The prickly leaves make it a good low-maintenance plant for informal hedges. Drooping sprays of small yellow, bell-like flowers appear in spring and are followed by blue-black berries. It does not create excessive leaf litter and its berries will attract birds to your garden. This plant grows well throughout the country, except those humid, subtropical regions. It is hardy to frost and drought but will grow best if watered regularly in summer. It will grow +-1m tall and 75cm wide in sun, semi-shade and even deep shade; if it is grown in semi-shade it will grow taller. This plant will grow in ordinary garden soil, and can be pruned lightly as necessary.

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Rosemary
Rosemary is grown for its fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves, and pretty white, pink, purple, lilac or blue flowers; which appear in spring and sporadically throughout the summer. There are many forms; from prostrate groundcovers and trailing varieties, to upright forms which can reach +-1.5m to 2m tall and +-1 to 1.5m wide. Because it responds well to clipping rosemary makes a lovely low formal or informal hedging plant or screen, and is used for topiary. Because it helps to keep pests away from vegetable gardens and is a favourite with honeybees, rosemary is an ideal hedging plant for vegetable patches. Rosemary is an evergreen perennial plant that will grow for many years before it needs replacing. It is hardy to all but severe frost and is most dependable in the garden. Plant Rosemary in full sun and mulch the roots yearly with compost. Although Rosemary is drought hardy it will respond well to judicious watering during prolonged dry spells. Prune after flowering to encourage bushy growth.

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Confetti bush, Cape May, Aasbossie  (Coleonema)
Their fine evergreen foliage, sweet honey scent and wonderful floral display is what makes our indigenous confetti bushes sought after garden plants. In winter to early summer they bear masses of small white or pink flowers in such profusion that the bush appears covered in a cloud of white or pink. Because they have non-invasive roots and respond well to trimming, they are used for topiary; tiny hedges, or planted closely as an informal screening plant, or windbreak. This excellent coastal plant, withstands strong salty winds, drought, and heat; but is also remarkable hardy to all but severe frost; thriving in the summer rainfall regions if it is watered well in winter and moderately in summer. To flower at their best they require full sun and well-drained soil. The species vary slightly in height, from +-50cm to 1.5m tall, and beautiful hybrids with dark or light pink flowers have been bred for the garden; and Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' is loved worldwide for its bright golden yellow foliage.

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St. Johns Wort (Hypericum)
'Hidcote')
This is a delightful water-wise shrub that is very low maintenance. It will delight with its profusion of large, bright yellow flowers with prominent darker yellow stamens. This plant will flower from spring, throughout summer, and into autumn. The branched, red-tinted, somewhat arching stems of this attractive shrub form a round, mounded  shape and are densely covered with dark blue-green, lance-shaped leaves. It is beautiful in the mixed shrub border, and also makes a great informal low hedge if it is planted closely together. This undemanding little plant grows well in all regions of the country, but it is susceptible to root rot and wilt in hot and humid climates. It is hardy to frost and is evergreen in temperate gardens, but will lose leaves in winter in colder regions. It will grow quickly in semi-shade or sun to +-1.2m tall and +-1.2m wide. Water your plants regularly in summer in the winter rainfall regions, and in very dry summer rainfall regions.

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Evergreen Azalea (Rhododendron indicum)
Rhododendrons are extensively hybridized and R. indicum is grown extensively throughout South Africa because it tolerates a much wider climatic range than most other types. It is loved for its showy flower displays in late winter and spring, or autumn and spring; depending on the cultivar. Breath-taking blooms are available in all shades of pink, red, white, purple, lilac and even orange, varying in size from large doubles to small singles. These shrubs have fibrous, non-invasive roots and can make an attractive low hedge. Hybrids usually remain under 1m but can occasionally grow up to 2m tall. They grow best in the cool to temperate, moist, frost free areas of the country; and are semi-hardy to moderate frost if planted in a protected position. In cool, moist regions they will grow in full sun, but in hot or dry areas they do best in morning sun or semi-shade.They prefer acid soils that drain well and regular watering. Prune only when they have finished flowering, as late pruning will affect flower production.

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Snow bush (Breynia)
This ornamental evergreen shrub is planted extensively in tropical and sub-tropical gardens for its beautiful foliage. The leaves of 'Roseopicta' are mottled pink, rose, white and green, and 'Alba' has variegated white and green leaves. The inconspicuous flowers are followed by small berries. It makes an excellent small hedge for frost-free gardens, if planted about 75cm apart and kept about 1m tall. If left un-pruned it can reach +-1.2 to 1.8m tall and +-90cm to 120cm wide. It responds well to regular pruning; thrives in fertile well-drained soil and loves to grow in light dappled shade. Water regularly during dry spells, never allowing the soil to dry out totally.

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Lavender
Lavender will flower for a long period in summer and has aromatic leaves and flowers. It makes a lovely low, formal or informal hedge for vegetable and herb patches and will help keep pests away. Lavender is becoming increasingly popular with gardeners and there is an outstanding variety of plants available; that vary greatly in height and spread; and with flowers in shades of purple, lavender and blue. The evergreen leaves vary from green to grey. Lavender grows easily throughout the country, and is drought and frost hardy. It requires full sun and well-drained soil. Prune after flowering.

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Small Leaved Box, Afrikanse buksboom, iGalagala, umGalagala,
(Buxus macowanii)
Boxwoods are grown for their attractive, compact and low spreading growth habit; responding well to pruning. This, together with their slow growth and small leaves, makes them ideal for formal hedges and topiaries, parterres, knot gardens, and cloud pruning. Our indigenous boxwood (Buxus macowanii) is a very slow-growing multi-stemmed tree with drooping branches and deep green leathery leaves. In the garden it is usually kept trimmed to +-25 to 70cm tall and 21 to 30cm wide; and its lush green foliage makes it a perfect edging or low hedging plant. It is very easy to shape into a formal pot plant, and if mass planted makes a great groundcover for a formal grove of trees. It grows well in those regions of the country which receive good summer rainfall, both inland and at the coast. In dry regions it will require regular watering during dry spells. It is hardy to moderate frost, and thrives if fed and watered regularly. It grows in full sun, but in hot regions it is best to plant in semi-shade; it will even grow in almost total shade but in these conditions growth will be less vigorous. The Cape box is perfect to plant in dry or wet shade, as long as the soil drains well and is not boggy.

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Common Box, European Box (Buxus)
Boxwoods are grown for their attractive, compact and low spreading growth habit, and their emerald green leaves. They respond well to pruning and can be cut successfully into just about any shape you desire. This, together with their slow growth and small leaves, makes them ideal for formal hedges and topiaries, parterres, knot gardens, and cloud pruning. They grow best in regions which experience cool to cold winters and good rainfall; and are fully hardy to frost, snow and low temperatures. They grow well throughout the country, both inland and at the coast; but do not like high humidity, and will struggle in extremely hot, dry regions. In cool regions they grow well in full sun, but in hotter regions it is best to plant them in semi-shade. Pruning is usually done only once a year in mid-summer, but the plants can be shaped lightly as required. The Common Box (Buxus sempervirens) grows +-1 to 5m tall with an equal spread; and for hedging 4 plants per metre, planted in a single row will suffice; or 6 per metre in a staggered row.  Buxus microphylla ‘Faulkner'will grow slowly to +-60cm to 1.5m tall with an equal spread; as a hedge it is usually kept and +-40cm to 1.5m tall, and is spaced +-23 to 30cm apart.

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Jungle Geranium, Vedchi, Rugmini, Rangan, Chethi  (Ixora coccinea)
This evergreen shrub with leathery dark green leaves and large clusters of flowers blooms continuously in warm weather and is available in a number of cultivars, with bright flowers in shades of red, rose, pink, salmon, orange and yellow. Many cultivars have been bred which vary in size from +-1m to 3m tall; with some of the most popular cultivars being dwarfs staying under 1m. (Ixora compacta) grows +-60 to 75cm high; cultivars include 'Citrinus' with yellow flowers, 'Insignis' with bright red flowers, and 'Sunkist' with orange- red flowers. (Ixora longifolia) grows +-2.5 to 3m tall, has large leaves and orange flowers; cultivars include 'Prince of Orange' with orange flowers and 'Saffron Yellow' with lovely yellow-orange flowers. (Ixora coccinea) is a compact shrub which tolerates hard pruning, making it ideal for formal hedges, although pruning too often  results in fewer blooms. It looks best if allowed to grow as an informal hedge or screen, and is often planted near the foundations of buildings. It thrives in humid sub-tropical regions and is tender to frost. Ixora will grow in semi-shade to sun but plants grown in more sun will be more compact. Plant in fertile acidic well-drained soil and  water regularly.

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Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora)
Abelias are virtually maintenance free garden plants that are easy-to-grow; remain attractive throughout the year and flower all season. There are several named garden cultivars; some with white or pale to dark pink flowers and others with yellow or variegated leaves; and varying in height from 1.5 to 2m tall and +-1 to 1.5m wide. The plants respond well to pruning; making both the dwarf and tall varieties excellent formal or informal hedging plants. If left un-pruned they make wonderful screening plants. Their roots are not invasive and an added bonus is that they are fire resistant and can be planted on the borders of large properties or country estates that are prone to veld fires. In warm climates they are evergreen, but in colder climates they are semi-evergreen. They are hardy to frost and can tolerate very low temperatures if planted in a protected part of the garden. They thrive in full sun, but will take some shade; in extremely hot regions they will appreciate a bit of shade from the fierce midday sun. Pruning can be done at any time of the year.

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Spiraea, Cape May (Spiraea)
These deciduous shrubs have arching stems and simple leaves that are often toothed or lobed. There are spring and summer flowering species, which are very ornamental when in bloom, bearing masses of tiny white to deep pink flowers. They remain popular with gardeners in temperate regions because they are easy-to-grow, and a some cultivars have beautiful bronze, gold or yellow coloured foliage. Both the taller and lower-growing types are used for informal hedges and screens, and their roots are non-invasive, making them useful screening plants near foundations. Spiraea vary in height from +-50cm to 3m tall and perform well throughout South Africa's growing regions, except for the humid areas; and are fully hardy to cold and frost. In cool climates they perform well if planted in full sun; but in areas with hot summers they will need some shade during the hottest part of the day, or the leaves may scorch. Because some species flower on the old wood and should be pruned immediately after flowering; and others flower on the current seasons growth and may be trimmed in winter; it can be confusing for the gardener to know when to prune, so the safest time to prune is immediately after flowering.

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Cape Honeysuckle, Malangula, umsilingi (Tecoma capensis)
This fast growing indigenous shrub is ideal for warm frost–free regions and seaside gardens, where it makes an attractive formal or informal hedge or screen. In these regions it remains evergreen and produces flowers almost throughout the year. Modern hybrids come in shades of orange, red, yellow, apricot or salmon and the flowers are a wonderful contrast to the glossy, dark green leaves; long, narrow seed pods follow the flowers. It tolerates salt spray and is adaptable to poor, sandy soil, but it will grow best in well-drained, composted soil. This plant is semi-hardy to moderate frost if it is planted in a sheltered position in the garden; but in very cold regions it will be cut back right down to the ground in winter. Plants flowers best in full sun but will tolerate some shade. They are moderately drought hardy once established, but responds well if watered regularly in the garden; especially in hot regions. The plants will vary in height and spread depending on how they are pruned, growing from 1.5 to 3m tall with an equal spread. Pruning in late winter or early spring is essential to control their size and keep them neat.

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Cape leadwort, Blousyselbos, umabophe, umasheleshele, utshilitshi (Plumbago)
This scrambling indigenous plant is grown for its abundant trusses of pale sky-blue flowers; 'Royal Cape' is a wonderful hybrid with dark cobalt-blue flowers, and 'Alba' has pure white blooms which glow in the twilight. Flowers can appear sporadically during the growing season, but are especially prolific in mid to late summer. If it is pruned regularly it makes a showy informal hedge, and can be trained to form a round bushy shrub for the border. This evergreen shrub grows best in the warm frost-free regions of the country and at the coast. It is semi-hardy to moderate frost, but in cold regions it will lose its leaves in winter. It will grow well in full sun or semi-shade, but in too much shade it will not flower well. If left un-pruned, it can scramble +-1.8 to 3mall; but is easily kept as a shrub, +-1m tall and wide. Although it is very drought tolerant it will respond well in the garden if it is watered regularly during dry spells. Prune every spring, or as required.

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Shuttlecock Flower  (Calliandra selloi)
This showy evergreen tropical plant is remarkably hardy to frost, if it is planted in a protected position in the garden and is covered until established. The unusual showy masses of soft pink and white flowers can appear sporadically throughout summer and autumn, and the soft fern-like foliage is also most attractive. It will thrive throughout all the frost free regions of both the summer and winter rainfall regions, and is hardy to moderate frost once established but will lose leaves in winter in cold regions. It needs regular watering in summer and protection from strong winds. Plant it in full sun and in good well-drained soil, and the plant grow quickly to +-1.5m tall and +-1.5m wide. The shuttlecock flower makes an ideal screening plant for unsightly areas of the garden, like compost heaps or refuse collection areas. It can be clipped into a hedge or left to grow as a large informal screen. For best results when pruning this plant, do not prune it harshly; rather prune the tips lightly and more often, this will result in a very bushy plant. Pruning can be done anytime in summer, after flowering.

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Japanese Laurel (Aucuba japonica)
All gardens have problem areas where it seems that nothing will grow, and most often these tend to be in the shade; either under a large tree, next to a wall, or under the eaves of a house.  The Japanese laurel prefers shade and will thrive in even the shadiest of spots. Not only will it thrive in the shade but its bold leaves with eye catching colour will add interest and brighten up even the dullest corner of your garden. It makes a compact screening plant that is ideal for city gardens because it is very pollution tolerant. Aucubas are a small group of evergreen shrubs which bear reddish-purple flowers in spring, followed by red berries in autumn. Only the female plants bear berries but many named cultivars like 'Gold Dust' are female and thus bear autumn fruit. They grow well throughout the country and are tolerant of full shade, dry soil, pollution, and salt winds. They are also adaptable to almost any soil, except waterlogged soil and are hardy to frost if protected from fierce winter winds. Most will grow slowly to +-1.5 to 2m tall and +-1m wide and can be trimmed or cut back in spring. Always prune using secateurs to avoid cutting the large leaves.

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Japanese Spindle Plant (Euonymus japonicus)
Planted for its compact bushy growth and lovely glossy leaves, Euonymus hybrids are available with dark green and gold; white or cream variegations. These medium-sized evergreens produce inconspicuous greenish-white flowers in summer, and occasionally little orange fruits in autumn, which hang below the flaring pink seed coverings. Japanese Spindle Plants are popular topiary plants which can be clipped into any shape. Because of their bold variegated foliage and dense, upright growth habit, they are an excellent choice for colourful hedges; and if you are looking for privacy or screening to block off unsightly areas like the compost heap or refuse collection area, then consider these shrubs. Hybrids vary in height and spread, from 1 to 2m tall, and the plants grow well throughout the country, except for those exceptionally hot, dry and humid regions. They do well in coastal gardens, tolerating wind and salt spray; and once established will tolerate drought. They are hardy to frost, tolerating temperatures down to about -10°C; and although they grow best in full sun, they will take some shade, especially dry shade.

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Golden Bell  (Forsythia x intermedia)
This is one of the first plants to bloom in spring; producing a profusion of vibrant, yellow or pink flowers, depending on the cultivar. It loses its leaves in winter, making the blooms even more startling against the bare branches. Forsythias are popular in gardens and parks, being prized for being tough, and reliable. They are beautiful landscape shrubs, with an upright and spreading habit that looks lovely in a shrub border. They are excellent heding or screening plants and once established the plants require little or no care. In gardens where it is grown as a screen or hedge, pruning will be required to keep it neat and manageable, with the best method being to prune only the tips of the bush, resulting in several new growths developing at that point, making the plant bushier and more prolific in its flowering. It grows best in the summer rainfall regions and is not suited to humid areas. It is hardy to frost and flowers best if planted in full sun. The plant will grow very quickly to about 2m tall 1.5m wide, if left un-prunned. Water deeply but moderately during dry spells.

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Escallonia
Escallonia look good year round with their glossy dark green leaves, and clusters of small flowers for a long time from spring to autumn. Flowers range from deep crimson through shades of pink to white. The foliage has a spicy aroma when it is damp which will have your visitors sniffing your plant with delight. All Escallonias make excellent informal or formal hedges, screens or windbreaks, because they are compact, grow quickly, and respond well to clipping. Vigorous breeds like 'rubra', 'iveyi' or 'Donard Seedling' can reach more than 3 metres. 'Iveyi' has white flowers and 'rubra' has bright rose-red flowers. 'Apple Blossom' has pink and white flowers; groing +-1.5 to 2m tall, making it ideal for smaller hedges. 'Pink Princess' and 'Brians Gold' with its yellow leaves and pink flowers are also suitable for smaller hedges. Escallonias thrive at the coast and tolerate salty winds, but do not like very humid climates. Once established they tolerate drought and severe frost, making them ideal for inland gardens as well. They thrive in full sun but will take some light shade. The best time to trim is after flowering. Formal hedges can be pruned more often, but this may reduce flowering.

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September Bush Augustusbossie (Polygala)
These evergreen indigenous plants have slender branches densely covered with myrtle like leaves that can be green or slightly grey. Flowers appear sporadically throughout the year, peaking in spring and early summer; and are usually shades of mauve or purple, but can also be pink, scarlet, or white. (Polygala myrtifolia) varies in height and spread depending on climatic conditions and under favourable conditions can grow into a small tree about 3m tall and up to 2.5m wide, but it more typically forms a shrub 1.5 to 2m tall. Other species vary in height from 1 to 2m tall and all are beautiful in shrub borders. If planted closely together most species make excellent fast growing informal windbreaks or hedges. These shrubs will adapt to most gardens and soil types, and tolerate moderate drought once established. They are wind tolerant, suitable for coastal gardens, and perfect for fynbos or Mediterranean gardens. They love full sun but will take light shade, making them great to plant in those difficult garden beds that change from full sun to semi-shade with the seasons. They are also hardy to moderate frost once established.

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Verbleikblom  (Brunfelsia pauciflora 'Eximia')
This popular, free flowering plant is grown for its abundance of fragrant flowers in spring; with a smaller flush in late summer. The flowers open deep mauve, then change to lavender and finally fade to white. Position it where the fragrance will drift into the house or patio. This decorative shrub has a bushy rounded shape and works well in a mixed shrub border. It also makes a good informal screen or hedge. Brunfelsia grows best in warmly temperate to subtropical zones that receive good rainfall; it is not suited to very dry regions, and requires regular watering in summer in the winter rainfall regions. It grows well in humid regions at the coast, but needs protection from strong winds. This plant is tender to frost but will tolerate light frost if it is planted in a protected position in the garden. It is semi-deciduous, dropping all its leaves in spring just before it flowers, and immediately pushing forth new ones; in colder regions it will drop leaves in winter. Plant it in semi-shade, in good rich soil with added acid compost; and water regularly during dry spells. Under optimal climatic conditions it will grow moderately fast to +-2.5 to 3m tall and +-1.5 to 2m wide, but generally is kept at about 2m. Prune in early summer when it has finished flowering.

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Firebush (Hamelia patens)
This showy evergreen tropical plant has no dormant period; growing and producing flowers and berries all year round. The long tubular reddish-orange or scarlet flowers are followed by clusters of showy fruits, ripening from green to yellow, then red and finally black. This plant usually bears both flowers and fruit at the same time and even the flower stems are red; contrasting beautifully with the bright green leaves. Because it responds well to pruning and can be kept smaller, it is widely used in the tropics as a hedge or screen. It is salt tolerant if planted near the ocean, and once established is drought tolerant. It is wonderfully adaptable, growing in hot and dry climates as well as hot and humid climates. Under optimal conditions it can reach 4 to 5m tall, but usually it stays much smaller, +-2.4 to 3m tall and 1.2 to 1.8m wide.  It thrives in full sun but will take some shade; in too much shade it can become leggy and will not flower as well. Pruning can be done at any time.

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Indian Hawthorn (Raphiolepis)
These hardy ornamentals are dense, neat plants that are attractive all year round and take well to pruning; making them ideal flowering, informal or formal hedging and screening plants. They are slow growing and therefore easy to maintain; requiring clipping about once a year. There are several varieties that range in height from 1 to 3m tall. Abundant clusters of delicate pink or white blossoms appear in late winter and spring, followed by showy blue-black berries. Hawthorns grow easily throughout South Africa and will tolerate drought but do best if watered regularly in winter in the summer rainfall regions and in summer in the winter rainfall regions. They are evergreen and hardy to frost; grow well at the coast and are resistant to salty winds. They love full sun but will tolerate light shade, particularly in very hot regions. Hawthorns grow best in rich, well-drained soil. Prune into shape in early summer, when they have finished flowering.

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Forest Bell Bush (Mackaya bella)
Bella means "beautiful" in Latin, and is a tribute to the large, bell-shaped flowers, that adorn this wonderful indigenous plant in late spring. The flowers are mauve to white, and are marked with delicate purple-pink lines. The large, glossy, dark-green leaves are borne on long slender stems, and are most attractive. It is essential for all shady gardens and will thrive if planted amongst trees or near water, growing even in dense shade; in coastal gardens it can be grown in more sun. This frost tender evergreen grows best in sub-tropical to temperate regions, but can be grown in colder areas, as long as it is planted in a protected part of the garden. The forest bell bush has an upright growth habit, growing from 1.5 to 3m tall with almost an equal spread, if left un-pruned.  It is very versatile and can be trained to grow as a large shrub or small tree, and is an excellent choice for an informal hedge or screen.

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Weeping Bride's Bush, tshituku, Treurbruidsbos, umhleza
(Pavetta lanceolata)
Pavetta lanceolata is a delightful evergreen South African plant which is fairly common in the summer rainfall regions and is grown for its masses of sweetly scented, nectar-filled flowers with ivory styles, in summer; followed by dense clusters of black fruits. The bark is greyish-white and the leaves are a pleasing, glossy dark green. This plant looks beautiful if planted closely together as an informal hedge or screen. It thrives in warm, moist areas; growing well in coastal gardens and taking humidity. It varies greatly in height and spread, depending on climate; under optimal conditions it can grow between 4 and 7m tall; but in the average garden it will vary between 2 to 4m tall. It is tender to frost, but will grow surprisingly well in moderate frost regions if planted where it is protected, and is covered every winter, until well established. It loves to grow in semi-shade to sun, but when the plants are young they will appreciate shade during the hottest time of the day.

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Allamanda (Allamanda)
These evergreen shrubs or vines have glossy deep green leaves and flamboyant flowers which bloom all summer and autumn. Flowers are usually golden yellow, or rose-purple; but hybrids come in various shades of yellow, creamy yellow, light peach, rose and pinkish-purple. Allamandas are widely used in the tropics as a hedging plant. They grow best in the warm, moist, frost free regions of the country, both inland and at the coast; thriving in moist, humid tropical and sub-tropical gardens, where the minimum average temperature is never lower than 15°C. They thrive in full sun, semi-shade; or full morning sun. Plant in a wind protected spot and water and feed regularly. Species vary in height and spread, and in the tropics they can become quite large, with stems reaching 3m or more in height. Their rapid growth creates a sprawling growth form, which can be held in check by pruning heavily in spring and occasionally pinching outof the growing tips in summer. Too much pruning in summer will inhibit flowering.

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Potato Bush (Solanum rantonnetii)
These fast growing evergreen plants bloom throughout the year in warm climates and especially well in summer. Their delicate flowers can be violet, purple or white and are followed by small red fruits. They are very versatile and can be pruned into any shape, and because they flower continuously, are highly recommended for small gardens. These sprawling shrubs grow best in warm, moist, frost-free regions and take heat and humidity. Protect them from strong winds. They are tender to frost but will tolerate light frost if planted in a protected position in the garden. In colder gardens they may lose leaves in winter. Under optimal conditions they can reach 4m tall and spread 3m but in cooler gardens will grow about 2m tall. They require regular clipping and pinching in order to keep them bushy and compact and can easily be kept smaller. They love full sun but will tolerate semi-shade. Prune every spring, or as required, after flowering.

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Cape rattle-pod, Klapperpeul, ihlolo Getyane (Crotalaria capensis)
The Cape rattle-pod is a fast growing evergreen which can be trained into a little tree or a much branched shrub, and is a delight in any garden. If left un-pruned and under optimal conditions it can grow up to 5m tall, but is generally kept at +-2 to 3m tall in the garden. The large sweetly scented pea flowers have bright yellow petals which are often edged with red, and are borne in long pendulous sprays mainly from October to April. It is very versatile and makes a decorative hedge or informal screening plant. It thrives in full sun and does best in regions with moderate to good rainfall; in hot dry summer rainfall regions and in the winter rainfall regions, it will need regular watering. It is very wind tolerant and hardy to moderate frost, tolerating temperatures below zero once established. Prune the plant into shape when it is still young.

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Sacred Bamboo (Nandina domestica)
Nandina is a beautiful erect shrub about 2 to 3m tall, with delicate green leaves which give it a lovely lacy appearance. It produces numerous straight stems, which spread by suckering from the roots, spreading slowly to about 1 to 1.2m in diameter. In spring the new foliage emerges as bright bronzed red; and clusters of creamy-white flowers held well above the foliage appear sporadically throughout summer. In autumn and winter the leaves turn a fiery red leaves and shiny red berries are produced. Nandina does not have invasive roots and will grow in full sun or semi-shade. It can be kept at a very compact size by pruning, and if planted closely together, can be used as an informal screen or hedge. It grows throughout the country, is hardy to all but severe frost, and is very heat tolerant. This evergreen will drop some leaves in winter, especially in cold regions. Winter leaf colouring is very intense in colder regions, and if it is planted in full sun.  Pruning is best done in spring, by removing the oldest branches; you can remove up to 1/3 of the canes, and shorten the stems.

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Mirror Bush (Coprosma repens)
Mirror bushes are grown for their gorgeous glossy leaves in many exciting colour variations; compact hybrids are available, making them good choices for gardens large and small. The green-leaved Coprosma repens can grow as a small tree up to 8 metres in height, but has many hybrids which are grown extensively for their foliage; and which vary in height from +-80cm to 2m tall. The plants can be pruned as required to keep them more compact. These low maintenance plants which are used to add interest and contrast to garden beds. They are excellent for coastal re-vegetation planting because they tolerate wind and poor soil. They are also excellent planted on banks and make good hedging or screening plants. They are evergreen and will grow in semi-shade or full sun. They are extremely tolerant to coastal exposure and in these regions they can be planted in full sun; but in hot inland gardens they are best planted in semi-shade. They are tender to severe frost, but will tolerate moderate frost if they are grown in a protected part of the garden.

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Oleaster (Elaeagnus x ebbingei 'Gilt Edge')
Renowned for its toughness and adaptability and popular worldwide for the brilliance of its variegation. The long leaves are a dark silvery green with a brilliant gold edging of variable width, and the silver coloured undersides look particularly lovely when the wind blows the leaves to expose the undersides. Small but highly scented flowers appear in autumn and are followed by small orange fruits in spring. Elaeagnus makes an excellent hedging plant if planted close together and clipped twice a year for a formal finish.  This evergreen grows well in the summer rainfall regions and is very cold hardy; but also does well in the winter rainfall regions. It also does well in seaside gardens and tolerates wind and humidity. It thrives in full sun but can be planted in semi-shade; and in humid coastal regions it can be grown in quite a lot of shade.  It will grow quite quickly to 3 to 4m tall with a spread almost as wide.

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Orange Jasmine (Murraya exotica)
This evergreen is grown for its glossy leaves that emit a citrusy aroma when crushed; its clusters of sweetly scented white flowers in spring; followed by orange berries in autumn. It produces taproots with lateral roots and abundant fine roots, so won't damage your paving. Because it thrives in semi-shade it is ideal to plant in front of an east facing wall, where it will catch the full morning sun, but where it will escape the harsh midday and afternoon sun. Its vigorous nature makes it suitable for formal, semi formal or informal hedges and topiary.  It grows best in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate, frost-free areas, and is not suited to very hot, dry regions. It grows well in coastal gardens if protected from strong winds, and is also semi-hardy to frost if planted in a protected position in the garden. If left un-pruned it will grow moderately fast to about 2 to 3m tall and 1.5 to 2m wide.

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Mock Orange (Philadelphus)
This extremely free flowering deciduous plant, produces single white, heavily perfumed flowers, which will fill the air with their fragrance. The blooms are produced on gracefully arching canes in late spring and early summer, making this ornamental popular as a single specimen plant, as well as an informal hedging plant. It grows well throughout the country, except for those extremely dry, hot, or humid regions. It can be planted in full sun or semi-shade; does well in temperate regions and is also hardy to frost. It will grow +-2.5 to 3m tall and +-1.5 to 2m wide. Prune it heavily after it has flowered, thinning out the old wood, but retaining the young shoots, as they will bear flowers nest season. For an informal hedge about 1.5 to 2m tall, space your plants +-60 to 90cm apart. 'Aureus' is a form, with bright golden leaves.

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Golden Dewdrop (Duranta)
These striking plants are grown for their beautiful leaves and drooping clusters of flowers all summer, or year round in tropical regions. The flowers are followed by spectacular orange-yellow berries. There are a number of varieties; some have beautiful glossy green leaves and spectacular flowers and fruits; while others have striking golden foliage. Flowers vary from mauve to white and violet to light blue. Some species have sharp spines on the branches and garden hybrids vary greatly in height and spread from +-50cm to 7m tall. They respond well to pruning making them ideal for both informal or formal screens and hedges. These evergreens thrive in humid and frost-free sub-tropical regions and grow well at the coast. They are not suited to very dry areas, and require regular watering in summer. If planted in a sheltered spot in the garden they will tolerate light to moderate frost. If moisture is adequate Duranta loves full sun but can grow in light shade. It needs regular pruning to maintain compact growth. Care must be taken however, not to remove all the flower buds at the same time.

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Gardenia, Cape Jasmine (Gardenia augusta)
This fragrant flowering evergreen is a favourite in warm temperate and subtropical gardens worldwide for its wonderfully fragrant white to creamy-yellow flowers over a fairly long season from late spring to late autumn; fleshy berries follow the flower. It usually develops a round shape, growing +-1.8 to 2.5m tall, with almost an equal spread, but cultivars are available that are distinctly different from the plant described above, and which vary greatly in height and spread from 50cm to 1.5m tall. Flowers can be white or yellow; single, semi-double, or double.Gardenias make good hedge or screening plants. They tolerate moderate frost if planted in a protected position in the garden. Select a site that is protected from strong winds and which receives semi-shade to sun, or morning sun. In very hot regions the plant will appreciate some shade in summer, during the hottest part of the day; but in cooler areas they are quite happy in full sun.  Gardenias love slightly acid soil, and it is important that pruning be done after the plant has finished flowering, or you may cut off newly forming buds.

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Common Myrtle  (Myrtus communis)
This beautiful dense evergreen is grown for its small dark green leaves and masses of fragrant white flowers in summer, followed by blue-black berries in autumn and winter. It makes a lovely thick hedge. There are several varieties to choose from; some with lovely variegated leaves and others with very tiny leaves; and ranging in height from +-1.5 to 3m tall. Myrtles can be planted in full sun or semi-shade and although they grow best in temperate regions with mild winters, they are also hardy to moderate frost. They tolerate poor soil and brak water; and can take sea winds and salt spray; but are not suited to very humid regions. Myrtle tolerates heat and drought but grows best if watered regularly in dry, hot areas.

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Flowering Quince  (Chaenomeles)
This plant has branchlets that are tipped with sharp spines, making it ideal to grow as a security hedge, especially in the coldest parts of the country. It forms a rounded, bushy shrub with erect and spreading, spiny branches. It loses its leaves in winter and produces beautiful clusters of red, pink, apricot or white blossoms close to the bare stems in mid-winter, for up to six weeks. The flowers are followed by small quince-like fruits in summer. The shrubs send up suckers from below ground level; spreading out on a continuous basis, forming large woody-stemmed clumps. This shrub is very hardy to frost and grows well throughout the country in full sun, except for those very hot and humid regions. It will grow about 2.5m tall and 2m wide in ten years but can reach 3.5m tall and 2.5m wide at maturity. Prune when it has finished flowering.

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Copper Leaf  (Acalypha)
This evergreen has large colourful leaves that are available in many shades and combinations of red, copper, brown, yellow, orange, pink, green and cream. It is a popular informal screening and hedging plant. Many cultivars are available with different leaf forms and colours. 'Marginata' has coppery-green leaves with pink or crimson margins. The leaves of 'Macrophylla' are  variegated bronze, cream, yellow and red; and 'Musaica' is mottled with orange and red. 'Godseffiana' has narrow, drooping leaves with cream coloured margins. This plant is tender to frost and grows best in warm, moist, summer rainfall regions; thriving in heat and humidity and growing well at the coast. It loves full sun, well-drained soil and regular watering in dry weather. Varieties vary in height from 1 to 3m.

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Natal Bauhinia,
(Bauhinia natalensis)
This lovely indigenous shrub s grown for its distinctive butterfly-like leaves and abundance of scented white flowers in summer. It is low maintenance and will reach, at maturity, 2.5m tall and 3m wide; but it can be clipped to keep it smaller. It makes a pretty informal hedge and is a wonderful filler plant for the mixed shrub border. The Natal Bauhinia has a lovely rounded shape and is fast growing, reaching maturity within a few years. It will grow in sun or semi-shade, thrives on poor soils and is drought hardy; making it a great 'water-wise' plant. It is semi-hardy to moderate frost if it is planted in a protected position; and is generally evergreen; but in colder regions it will drop some leaves in winter.

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Viburnum tinus
This beautiful evergreen shrub belongs to the honeysuckle family and is native to the Mediterranean region. It produces a dense, rounded crown of glossy, dark green leaves; large flattish heads of pink flower buds open to tiny, star-shaped white flowers; in late winter and spring. These are followed by small dark blue-black fruits in autumn. Because it looks good all year round it makes an excellent formal or informal hedging or screening plant; and its distinctive dark green leaves provide a perfect backdrop for other flowering shrubs, annuals or roses.  Viburnum tinus 'Variegatum' has leaves edged in creamy-white. Although this plant grows close to the sea and can take fairly strong winds; in the wild it grows in protected woods and will not thrive if it is totally exposed to the sea. It is also not well suited to very hot, humid conditions. This tough, frost-hardy shrub is tolerant of quite dry conditions and can be planted in sun or semi-shade. It varies in height from +-2 to 3m tall and can spread as wide; prune it back to control its size, as required.

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Sandanqua Viburnum (Viburnum suspensum)
This handsome, evergreen, shrub is fast growing and trouble-free with an attractive, spreading yet compact growth habit making it a very popular landscaping shrub. It has leathery, dark green leaves and produces a profusion of small waxy, tubular flowers that are white with pinkish tints; in late winter to spring.  The flowers are followed by red berries that will darken to black with age; in late summer and autumn. Because it looks good all year round it makes an excellent formal or informal hedging or screening plant; and its distinctive dark green leaves provide a perfect backdrop for other flowering shrubs, annuals or roses. This Viburnum grows well in warm, moist, humid, frost free regions and takes salty winds. If it is planted in a protected place in the garden it will tolerate moderate frost. It can be planted in sun or semi-shade and varies in height according to climate and soil conditions, from 1.8 to 3.5m tall, with an equal spread. Prune as required to control fast-growing shoots and to maintain your desired shape and size. This plant will tolerate drought but does best if watered moderately during dry spells.

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Bottlebrush, Bottelborsel  (Callistemon)
Commonly referred to as bottlebrushes because of their cylindrical, brush like flowers in spring and summer; they are most commonly red, or shades of pink to mauve. A large number of cultivars have been developed, varying in height from under 1m to 7m tall. These evergreen, fast-growing, low maintenance shrubs make good screening plants, windbreaks, or tall clipped or unclipped hedges; the dwarf varieties can also be clipped. They are well suited to many of South Africa's growing regions; doing exceptionally well in the southern, south-western and Western Cape. They will grow in dry regions if they can be watered regularly and will tolerate windy conditions, both inland and on the coast; tolerating some salt spray but performing best in a more sheltered position. They are hardy to moderate frost, but protect young plants in colder regions until they are established. Bottlebrushes thrive in full sun and are adaptable to most garden soils. They can be lightly pruned after flowering to keep them in shape and this usually entails only pruning into the new seasons 'wood', and not cutting back into the interior of the plant where there is little or no foliage. When planting a hedge use the same variety, as they vary in growth habit.

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River indigo, Rivierverfbos, umsipane, umnukambida (Indigofera jucunda)
This is a much-branched large shrub or graceful little tree, varies in height from 2 to 4m tall, and spreading +-2m. For a long time in mid- summer dainty spikes of small sweetly scented, pink and white sweet-pea like flowers adorn the plant, creating a wonderful show against the dark green leaves; long, reddish-brown seed pods follow the flowers in winter. The river indigo is a showy, low maintenance plant which does not have aggressive roots, making it especially useful in small gardens. It is ideal to provide a bit of height in narrow spaces. If planted closely together it can make a lovely informal screening plant and is useful in the mixed shrub border. It thrives in the warm, frost-free regions of the country, but mature plants are semi-hardy to moderate frost; in cold regions plant in a sheltered spot and cover the young plants until they are established. It is generally evergreen but can sometimes be semi-deciduous and prefers a warm, sunny position in the garden, although it will tolerate semi-shade conditions. The plants can be pruned back into shape after they have finished blooming.

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Australian Tea Bush  (Leptospermum scoparium)
These natives of New Zealand and Australia are old time favourites for cold South African gardens because they can be depended upon to produce an abundance of flowers in winter and spring. The flowers can be single or double and come in all shades of pink, red and white. These hardy plants look beautiful if used in a mixed shrub border and can be planted close together to form a screen. The larger growing varieties will reach about 3m tall and 1.5m wide but there are delightful dwarf varieties that only grow about 1m tall. This evergreen is hardy to frost and grows well in all areas of the country, except those very hot and humid regions. It grows in full sun, in well-drained soil, to which acid compost has been added. Water during dry spells and clip into shape after flowering.

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Camellia (Camellia japonica)
Thousands of varieties have been bred over the years and their voluptuous flowers come in many shapes and size, from single, to semi double and very formal doubles; and in shades of red, pink, white and cream. Flowers appear in autumn, winter or spring, depending on the variety. Their glossy evergreen leaves are attractive all year and they can be trained to grow as a little tree or as a bushy shrub; making them good screening plants. Plant them where their great beauty can be admired. Camellias grow throughout the country, except those very hot, dry or humid regions and are hardy to all but severe frost. They grow slowly to 3m tall and 1m wide but can mature into large shrubs about 5m tall and 3m wide. Plant them in semi-shade and ensure that your soil is very well drained soil, adding lots of organic matter and acid compost. Protect them from strong winds and mulch the soil around their roots regularly. Water deeply throughout the year; the soil should never be allowed to dry out completely, especially during hot, dry weather.

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Camellia sasanqua
These rewarding plants remain a firm favourite with gardeners around the world and there are about 300 species. Their voluptuous flowers come in many shapes and sizes and their glossy evergreen leaves look attractive all year. They are grown for their beautiful flowers in shades of red, pink and white, from mid-autumn to mid-spring, depending on the variety. Camellias can be trained to grow as a little tree or as a bushy shrub and are essential screening plants for the shady or woodland garden and grow beautifully in a large pot. Plant them where their great beauty can be admired. Sasanqua camellias will grow in a lot more sun than the camellia japonica and will even grow in full sun in temperate climates, if they are watered regularly. They are evergreen and grow well throughout the country, except those very hot, dry or humid regions and are hardy to all but severe frost. Camellia sasanqua grows slowly to 3m tall and 1.5m wide but can mature into large plants about 5m tall and 2.5m wide. Plant them in semi-shade or sun and ensure that your soil drains well, adding lots of organic matter and acid compost to the planting hole. Protect them from strong winds and mulch the soil around their roots regularly. Water deeply throughout the year; the soil should never be allowed to dry out completely, especially during hot, dry weather.

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Large Num-num, Natal plum, Grootnoemnoem, Amatungulu (Carissa)
This highly ornamental, indigenous evergreen shrub or small tree adapts to a wide variety of garden conditions and is extremely easy-to-grow. It is planted for its leathery, dark green, waxy leaves that are a perfect backdrop for the white, sweetly scented, star-shaped flowers that occur sporadically throughout the year. The flowers are followed by delicious bright red fruits the size of a small plum. The plant produces long, sharp spines that are neatly forked, making it a first class impenetrable hedge; allowing neither man nor animal through it. It is an ideal subject for formal topiaries or clipped box hedges; thriving in moist, subtropical regions and growing near the sea, enduring wind, heat and salt spray. It grows well in the Western Cape; and is hardy to moderate frost if it is planted in a protected position in the garden. This plant will tolerate moderate drought once established but does better if watered during dry spells. It is a slow starter, but grows quickly after the first season. If left un-pruned it will grow up to 5m tall and about 2m wide, but is usually clipped into a shrub about 2m tall. To grow a hedge, plant out about 1m apart. The Large Num-num loves full sun but will grow in semi-shade. The Num-num excretes a sticky, non-toxic, milky sap when clipped and this can be quite messy, but the beauty and versatility of this plant far outweighs this drawback.

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