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Great Water Wise Options for Your Garden

Author Govan Crotz

To save water, especially in times of droughts, you need to have plants in your garden which are adapted to dry climates and can survive prolonged periods without water. Plants such as succulents are great for these types of gardens. It is also good to use native plants in your garden instead of invasive alien plant species. Here are a few indigenous plant examples that would be great for your garden:

Tulbaghia violacea (wild garlic)

This plant has a long flowering period and extremely hardy species which has beautiful pinkish-mauve flowers. This plant has adapted to survive heavy rainfalls as well as long dry periods. This plant is quite popular for use by gardeners around the country.

Strelitzia reginae (crane flower, bird of paradise)

Strelitzia reginae is popular export from South Africa as it is grown worldwide. It has become so popular that it has become the official flower of Los Angeles. These plants can withstand dry spells and neglect as they are quite hardy. These plants have beautiful flower displays which make them great for a garden. They can also be grown in both shade and the sun.

Coleus neochilus (smelly coleus, lobster flower)

This succulent plant has purple-blue lobster-shaped flowers which provide a beautiful contrast in colours with its greyish-green foliage. These aromatic plants are easy to over-water which will result in the plant losing its neat shape due to its hardy and water-wise nature.

Aptenia cordifolia (baby sun rose, red aptenia)

These are often planted under trees or on steep banks and slopes to prevent erosion. They provide succulent ground cover and can spread rapidly and are often used in dry patches of soil. They have rich green succulent leaves as well as pinkish-red flowers.

Agapanthus praecox (blue lily)

These lilies are minimal maintenance but do require compost to be put with the soil when planting to get the best results of them in the garden. Water moderately in summer. The plant is dormant in winter so will only need watering every second week.

Dymondia margaretae (carpet daisy, vlei daisy)

These Hardy plants are great for replacing your lawn areas which are not often walked on as they create a small carpet of silvery-green foliage which contains yellow daisy-like flowers. Require less maintenance than normal lawns as they do not need to be mowed. They are often also placed in between paved areas

Ledebouria petiolata (leopard lily)

This is the Leopard Lily which when planted in substantial amounts provides great ground cover. It is a deciduous bulb that prefers to grow in semi-shade conditions. These are perfect for dry semi-shaded areas of your garden as these can provide a nice mix and diversity to your garden. They have distinctive, beautiful spotted leaves. They produce tiny white flowers on long stalks.

Bulbine spp

These plants are ground covered with succulent green leave which forms a tube that makes them have a grass-like appearance. These plants are often used on the border of gardens and spread quickly once planted. They have star-shaped flowers which are found on tall spikes and can be yellow or orange.

If you have any interest in learning more about these types of plants for your garden use, I recommend looking at grounded landscaping as they use the information on these as well as more types of plants that could be used.


Mr. Shane Everts, Head of Communications and Fundraising, South African Education Project (SAEP) 082 537 8721,

Technical Education-related queries: Mr. Donavan Fullard, Chief Executive Officer, South African Education Project (SAEP)

MORE ABOUT SAEP A multi-cohort programme promoting access and better education outcomes among children and young adolescents in marginalised communities.


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