Many homeowners across South Africa take pride in their gardens and what they have planted in them, maintaining them carefully with lawnmowers, clippers and Stihl brushcutters alike. Some of the most eco-savvy gardeners prefer including indigenous plant species in the mix, and enjoying the benefits. There are many merits to planting indigenous flora in your garden, and if you are just getting started, there are a few species that you ought definitely to consider. In just a few minutes of reading, find out which indigenous plant species will work best in your garden, as well as pick up some tips on how to carefully maintain them with Stihl brushcutters offered by BS Power.
Helping the environment by planting native flora in your garden
It is a well-known fact that good biodiversity creates healthy ecosystems, that in turn purify the air, clean water, regulate the climate, maintain healthy soil and provide us with food and resources. Tragically, when land is developed, indigenous vegetation is often removed and then replaced with more “flashy” exotic species. When this takes place, species diversity is significantly reduced. Should you choose to establish your own native garden, you can take a firm role in helping to combat this issue. Planting indigenous plants at home or at the workplace ensures a variety of benefits, including:
Indigenous plants are usually drought resistant. This is because they are well-adapted to our dry and often harsh climate, as well as having become accustomed to surviving in rather poor soil conditions during tough seasons. Many indigenous plants can thrive on rainfall alone, meaning that you never have to concern yourself with watering them under normal circumstances. Where non-indigenous plants typically require a lot of water, you can save water in the event of a drought if your garden comprises of indigenous flora.
By planting indigenous plants, you can contribute to the preservation of our natural habitat and heritage. South Africa, particularly the Western Cape, is home to some of the most gorgeous and unique flower species around the globe. Their protection and longevity is to be cherished, so including them in your garden means you are actively contributing to their conservation.
If you are a bird lover, you will be ecstatic to hear that indigenous plants attract indigenous bird species. Their scent, fruit, blossoms and insect life are like beacons to the indigenous bird population, and in establishing these plants in your garden, you will be creating a safe-haven for a range of unique bird species – a birder’s dream come true!
Large spur-flower bush
Known in scientific terms as the Plectranthus ecklonii, the large spur-flower bush is best suited to semi-shade to shady areas. It boasts a host of large, luscious leaves that work together to create a canopy. In summer, this will make for the perfect hide-away. This native plant requires pruning once a year, with which your Stihl brushcutters can easily assist you. Do not be shy to give it a good prune, since it will grow back quite quickly.
If you love gardening, you will be happy to know that you can take cuttings from the large spur-flower bush that will root relatively easily – meaning that you can plant and pot even more around your property. The leaves are also great fun should you wish to make creative rubbings and prints with the family. You will find that when crushed, they offer a distinctive scent. This fast-growing plant also produces the most gorgeous mauve, pink or white flowers in autumn that look beautiful when cut and placed inside the home.
When planting this species, do so in a well-composted and shady area. You will soon find that it attracts a variety of insects and butterflies, and as a result, birds will soon follow. Traditionally, the plant is used to treat hay fever and headaches. It would make a great addition to any garden.
The lydenberg vygie
Commonly known as the klipvygie plant, or Delosperma lydenbergense in science, this hardy shrub, that often grows as a rather flat ground cover, is a must-have in any garden setting. It is characterised by its succulent bright green leaves and astonishing pink flowers that are well-loved by insects. The leaves are typically tender to the touch, and vary quite significantly in shape – from cylindrical to triangular. The unique flowers bloom from spring to summer, which are then followed by fruit capsules.
Klipvygie is famously easy to grow, and works exceptionally as an outdoor pot plant or in succulent or rock gardens. It is surprisingly simple to propagate this plant from cuttings, should you take care to select young and soft material from a healthy specimen and root it in a sandy medium that drains easily. During the process, keep your chosen medium moist, and the cutting should root quite quickly and may even flower in the same season!
Klipvygie grows naturally in both winter and summer-rainfall areas of South Africa, but is known to thrive especially in semi-shade. You should have no problem pruning it with your Stihl brushcutters, which will easily cut through the leaves to maintain your desired border.
Scientifically donned as Mentha longifolia, wild spearmint is a great addition to an indigenous garden. This plant absolutely loves water, which makes it a perfect plant to use should you be teaching young, water-happy family members how to garden. When crushed, it emits a delicious scent and taste, and comes in handy in the kitchen. In the heat of the summer, toss a few leaves in the blender with some vanilla ice cream (and add in some green food colouring if you wish) to make a scrumptious mint milk shake.
This plant can reach up to 1.5 metres in height, and boasts a collection of small, spiky flowers that bloom between November and April. These flowers will attract bees to your garden, and should you pick them and place them in water immediately, they will be a wonderful and aesthetic addition to your home. There are 3 different subspecies of Mentha longifolia, one of which has only been found to occur naturally near Namaqualand. When it comes to maintaining the edges of your wild spearmint plant, you need only carefully skirt around it with your Stihl brushcutters.
This wonderful, tufted grass – recognisable by its bluish leaves and radiating pink inflorescences – is the perfect indigenous plant to make your garden stand out. It is no secret that grasses are effective in providing pretty texture to a garden, and watching and listening to them swaying in the breeze is one of life’s greatest joys. When planted in a wide swathe, the bristle-leaved red-top plant looks even more impressive. Many homeowners use it as a border around other indigenous plants to structure their garden.
This species is perennial in nature, and grows in tufts that reach around 250 millimetres in length. The noteworthy flowers bloom from September to April, and as they mature, they transition from purple to rose pink to white. It is the silky, glistening hairs with which they are covered that give them their shining appearance.
Also known as guinea-fowl aloe, lace aloe boasts an interestingly rough and firm texture in its fleshy leaves. This semi-hardy succulent takes the form of dese rosettes of triangular leaves that one can never tire of touching and gazing upon. The plant grows up to about 20 centimetres in height, and showcases a gorgeous display of tall panicles that bear orange or red flowers in late spring. Although it may appear slightly menacing due to its small white bumps and bristly margin, this plant is perfectly safe for curious kids and pets.
Like many other succulents, lace aloe does not require regular watering, and endures drought conditions in short periods. When you do water it, ensure that you water it deeply (and only if the soil is dry). Further, make sure that you do not let water stand in the rosettes. This indigenous plant is not specially fast-growing, which means that should you grow it in a pot outdoors, it will be a while before you need to worry about re-potting it.
Known in the scientific community as Halleria lucida, the tree-fuchsia plant is a beacon for indigenous birds and insects. This can be attributed to its tendency of producing tubular flowers that are bursting full with nectar. The flowers are then followed by fleshy fruits that are appealing to most nearby wildlife species. The plant takes the form of either a large shrub or an evergreen tree that is multi-stemmed and boasts a spreading crown with bright green foliage.
It is also recognisable by its drooping and arching branches. In forests, this plant has been known to grow up to 20 metres, but in garden settings it usually presents itself as a stocky, shrubby tree of about 2 to 5 metres in height – making it the perfect addition to your property. The fruits take the form of small, spherical and green berries that grow to become juicy and black when fully ripe. Unfortunately for us, although they are edible, these fruits are not tasty, and tend to dry out the mouth.
Despite this, you can take joy in the fact that your garden, with the addition of a tree-fuchsia, is offering up a tasty buffet for birds and insects alike. Traditionally, in the Zulu culture, tree-fuchsia is often used to treat ear and skin complaints. The dry leaves of the plant are soaked in water and are then squeezed into the ear in attempt to relieve aches. When it comes to maintaining this tree, it is unlikely that your Stihl brushcutter will be of assistance. You may need to source a saw to deal with problematic branches as it grows.
This indigenous species comes in a variety of hybrids, and as such is often referred to as Trailing Gazania Hybrids. The plant takes the form of colourful and cheerful flowers that work well as a means of ground cover. The flowers are often described to be “daisy-like”, who open in the sun and present in a variety of colours. They are inexpensive to buy, and should you look after them properly, they will flower repeatedly throughout the year much to the enjoyment of all who visit your home.
Gazania is relatively drought-hardy, and as such should not be place in an area that is watered too frequently. With good-quality garden soil, and regular watering, you will be rewarded with heaps of beautiful flowers. Butterflies, bees and various other insects will flock to visit this spot in your garden for your viewing pleasure. When it comes to maintaining this plant, you are advised to carefully move your Stihl brushcutters along the border you wish to keep tight.
Buying Stihl brushcutters from us at BS Power
Nearly every indigenous plant species mentioned above can be easily maintained with Stihl brushcutters, and should take no time at all. Should you wish your native vegetation to take on a more “wilder” appearance in your garden, you can forgo the use of Stihl brushcutters for months on end and see what shape your indigenous plants take for the fun of it. Regardless, making use of Stihl brushcutters to keep your garden looking neat – despite the addition of indigenous plants – is an easier and more time-saving way than kneeling down next to each plant and getting your hands dirty.