Today’s blog is about what plants are looking hot as the weather gets chilly

Finally the retail plant nurseries are open again for business. This means you can now occupy some of the lockdown time sprucing up your garden and adding some plants to your green spaces that are looking a little sparse. So this blog is a list of just some of the plants which you should be able to find at local retailers flowering and looking good. Without further ado…

Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’ H:25cm W:30cm

Although this plant is not indigenous and originates from Central America, it as hardy as other indigenous counter parts and provides colour in the form of its purple-blushed leaves. This is a succulent groundcover which forms medium rosettes and beautiful arched flowers which attract butterflies. This plant can be grown in sun as well as semi-shade, and is great for containers and pots, slopes, retaining walls etc. This plant is an extremely water wise plant and if anything can tend to rot if over watered. The juicy leaves can be attacked by snails so put some snail ban down or use a natural snail control method if you pick up a problem.

Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’

Euphorbia tirucalli – Firesticks H:5-10m S:3-5m

This indigenous, succulent shrub or small tree is extremely eye catching and forms masses of brush shaped stems. This is not really classified as a flowerer as the flowers are yellow and inconspicuous (spring) but rather relies on the fiery coloured stems (green, yellow, peach flushed). Something that is very important to know about this plant is that it is toxic to animals and is a skin irritant so please place it very carefully and thoughtfully. This is classified as a form plant and makes a fantastic pot plant. Plant something cascading around it in the pot with a fiery colour like Lotus berthelotti or a succulent groundcover like Lampranthus aureus to create a hardy eye catching piece. This plant does best in full sun but can also be planted in an area with at least half a day of good sun. If planted in the shade it loses its lovely colour. This is a very drought tolerant and resilient plant.

Euphorbia tirucalli – Firesticks

Euryops pectinatus Max H:1m varies Max W:1m

This free-flowering and fast growing indigenous shrub is truly the perfect addition to any garden and will give you years of sunshine like colour. The grey foliage and bright yellow daisy like flowers are extremely eye catching. The flowers attract pollinators which in turn attract birds so it is the perfect plant for the nature enthusiast. This is a rough and tough plant and does not require that much attention. This shrub does best when placed in a full sun position and prefers a light, well-drained soil and would appreciate being composted when planting. This plant benefits from being regularly dead headed and requires some pruning in winter otherwise it can become woody and then often requires replacing. This shrub should naturally be replaced after 4-5 years to keep them looking at their best. I believe every garden should contain at least a couple of these plants because they are the all-round package.

Euryops pectinatus Max

Gazania ‘Gazoo’ H:25cm W:30cm

Gazania ‘Gazoo’ is an indigenous, fast growing, clump forming hybrid groundcover with silver foliage and large bright daisy flowers in an array of colours. This plant does best in full sun and likes a well-drained soil which doesn’t have to have much nutrition in it. This is a serious toughie and will flower on an off throughout the year. Great for mass ground covering, retaining blocks, hanging baskets pots etc. There are other types of Gazania on the market which are all great. If you feel that you don’t really have green fingers then this plant will be the perfect addition to your garden.

Gazania ‘Gazoo’

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’ H:75cm W:75cm

This extremely popular, indigenous, fast growing, herbaceous perennial, which grows into a small rounded dense shrub has dark green, glossy leaves with intense purple undersides. In autumn this beautiful plant sports masses of sprays of lavender flowers with purple markings which attract butterflies. This plant will burn if it receives too much sunshine and won’t flower well in deep shade so make sure to plant it in a semi-shaded or morning light sun condition. This Plectranthus requires regular watering but let soil dry in between watering’s so it doesn’t rot. The soil must be well composted when planted to really make it thrive.

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

Salvia ‘Black and bloom’ H:1m W:1m

This very tough perennial shrub features showy spikes of dark blue flowers which emerge from black calyces. This plant has a long blooming time, starting from late spring and going through until autumn time often. The foliage has a light anise scent when bruised. This is a fast growing shrub which attracts butterflies and sunbirds. This beauty prefers to be planted in full sun or half day sun, well-drained soil and is drought tolerant so overwatering is not recommended. If grown in too much shade the plant can stretch and will land up falling over. Deadheading is recommended to encourage further flowering and plants should be cut back after blooming to regrow. Although this plant can be planted in a lot of different parts of the garden, it makes a really great focal point in the center of a pot surrounded by annuals and cascading groundcovers.

Salvia ‘Black and bloom’

Scabiosa ‘Blue butterfly’ H:30cm W:30cm

This indigenous plant commonly known as a pincushion is an awe inspiring fast growing perennial with fine grey-green foliage and pretty mauve-blue flowers which are displayed on long stalks which sway in the wind. The flowers attract pollinators like butterflies which in turn attracts birds, so again great for the nature garden. This plant looks best when planted in mass as this brings out there true beauty. These plants need a sunny spot and a well-drained composted soil, and water regularly but don’t over water. Deadheading and removing of branches and stalks is advised in order to keep this plant neat, tidy and looking great. Fertilising will provide best results. After 2-3 years they have usually reached their full life cycle and should be replaced.

Scabiosa ‘Blue butterfly’

Nemesia species H:25cm W:25cm

These indigenous showy groundcovers come in a range of colours and are great for pots, retaining blocks, hanging baskets etc. They do best when planted in sunny spots and like a well-drained, sandy, composted soil. Water regularly but do not overwater. These plants are classified as annuals/biannuals and might need to be replaced but are well worth purchasing and planting as they will give you spectacular colour for a long time.

Nemesia Banana swirl

Dipladenia Diamantina H:40cm x W:40cm

This is an exotic, compact, low growing; evergreen shrub which is one of the most floriferous shrubs which one can get and is an amazing pot plant (can also be grown in the garden). These plants bloom from late spring though to autumn, but regular fertilising definitely increases these plants flowering capacity as well as will prevent leaves from going yellow. There are a variety of colours ranging from white to a jaw dropping deep maroon. These plants can sometimes create growth shoots which will climb if given the opportunity, so if you would like it to stay a compact shrub these must be pruned away. Dipladenia’s should be planted in full sun otherwise they stretch, and prefer a rich well drained soil. Let them dry out in between watering as water-logging can lead to fatalities.

Dipladenia Diamantina

Heliotrope ‘Florence Nightingale’

Although this bushy evergreen exotic perennial shrub is not new to the market and has been around for quite a while, it is a plant that we would definitely recommend adding to your garden. This shrub bears clusters of dark purple flowers which have an intense vanilla smell. In warmer areas this plant is classified as perennial but in cooler areas has to be treated as an annual and requires replacement. Plants can flower from May through to September putting on a serious show. It is important to know that parts of this plant are toxic to animals and humans so be careful where you place it, inform family to not handle plant and if you have an animal which you know eats plants maybe avoid planting. Heliotrope is happiest in full sun but can also be grown in partial shade. This plant prefers moderate watering and doesn’t like drying out, soil must be well drained. Plants benefit from deadheading and often require pruning back after flowering has taken place.

Heliotrope ‘Florence Nightingale’

In conclusion we hope this list has inspired you to get into the garden and get planting and that these plants once they settle into your garden give you as much joy as they have us and our clients whose gardens we have planted them in. We wish you happy gardening… remember that gardening will keep your body, mind and soul happy and healthy.

We would like to thank Shadowlands Wholesale nursery for providing us with the beautiful images which you see in this blog.

Article written by Jessica Ruger.

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