Top 3 Coastal Toughies

Top 3: Coastal toughies

Rhaphiolepis indica – Indian Hawthorn:

This is one of our ultimate favourite exotic shrubs or sometimes small tree’s. It is extremely tough and you have little chance of something going wrong when you plant this. It will grow between 1,5 – 2m high sometimes taller and about 1m wide or so. One can also purchase this plant in a lollipop form, and it lends itself to pruning into a hedge and shaped plants. Indian hawthorn has dark green leathery leaves and produces masses of white, light pink or dark pink flowers in profusion, creating quite a spectacular sight. The flowers are followed by black berries which are edible when cooked, and a jam can be made from them. The berries are also very popular with birds. Rhaphiolepis can be grown in sun / semi-shade, is drought hardy, can tolerate heavy winds, including those of coastal/saline gardens and grows in almost all soils. Is it any wonder that we are in love with this spectacular plant? The only negative thing that I can say about this plant is that they are slow growing, so you either have to be patient or purchase more mature plants.

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Osteospermum (previously Chrysanthemoides) moniflora – Bush Tick Berry:

Tick berry is a fast growing semi-succulent indigenous shrub which is classified as a pioneer plant and is found naturally growing all over South Africa in many different biomes. It actually usually appears after fires have taken place. This shrub grows between 1,5 – 2m high and about 1 – 1,5m wide, but it can be cut to keep it controlled and is also often hedged. Tick berries produce bunches of bright yellow daisies throughout the year, but their main flowering seasons are actually autumn and winter. These flowers are visited by many insects, including being very popular with bees. The purplish, black berries which follow are loved by masses of birds as well as humans. Tick berries are extremely drought tolerant (succulent like), enjoy a well-drained sandy soil, hot sun/ half day sun and are usually pest free plants. This shrub makes an excellent hedge, wind breaker or ornamental shrub and is bound to take off like a lightning bolt in your garden. Osteospermum incanum is another variety of tick berry, with greyer leaves. This variety is a smaller more compact variety.

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Pelargonium capitatum – Rose scented/ Coastal Pelargonium

Rose scented pelargoniums are shrubby, low growing plants that will usually grow to a height of between 0-3m to an absolute max 1m, but usually stay on the smaller side (More of a groundcover). The fuzzy stems and leaves are sweetly scented, with a rose scent and because of this are cultivated to make rose scented oils. It has many culinary and medicinal purposes and a calming tea is made from the leaves, which also aids stomach problems. From September to October rose scented geraniums form masses of bright pink attractive flowers. This species can be grown in most gardens but is actually more at home in coastal gardens, as it prefers full sun, sandy very well-drained soil and is drought tolerant, actually preferring not to be over watered. It can be planted among smaller herbaceous border plants, be planted in retaining block walls and be planted in herbal/medicinal gardens.

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