Take a look at our general FAQ’s.

We get all sorts of questions about gardening from: ‘Should a compost heap be in sun or shade?’ to ‘I need some ideas on what plants and trees to plant at my swimming pool to give it a more tropical look?’. Don’t hesitate to ask us anything!

Contact us if your question doesn’t appear here and you would like to know more.

general questions life is a garden

Does Life is a Garden sell anything?

No, Life is a Garden is an information portal. Please see our Garden Centres page to find your nearest accredited garden centre.

What is the best growing medium to add to my vegetable garden?

Kraal Manure is most suitable for use in vegetable gardens as it is both organic and nutritious, replacing much needed macro and micro nutrients for healthy crop production. Healthy plants are more resistant to pests and diseases which in turn reduces the need to use harsh chemicals for a delicious organic crop.

How does Compost increase the microbial activity of soil?

Compost adds organic material to the soil thus increasing microbial and earthworm activity, which in turn improves the ‘air filled porosity (AFP)’ and ‘water holding capacity (WHC)’. This will result in better root growth and cation exchange improving nutrient uptake for the plant.

Can you add weeds to a compost heap?

I would suggest adding only a few weeds, (not in a great quantity) . Also be sure that you know what type of weed it is that you are adding to your compost heap.

We planted plumbago for our hedge. Been more than three years now. It is bushy, but not growing tall as fast as we wanted. It's in a sunny spot, and I fertilize, water and trim. Why?

Regarding the Plumbago, it is known to attract the Doubled Collared Sunbirds, Crested Black Collard Barbets and the larvae of the Common short Blue Butterfly - (as these larvae feed on the plant). In more traditional medicine the root and leaves are used to relieve headaches and many years back was thought to get rid of warts? If you are feeding the Plumbago with something like 3.1.5. and have planted it in full sun with a regular water there is no reason why it should not be growing.

How much fertilizer should be given to a potted plant?

Firstly never exceed the dosage stated on the package. A good tip is also to first always wet the plant and then apply the fertiliser. I would recommend a third weekly feed.

I have a small garden, can I still have a compost heap?

If you have a small garden we would suggest using a compost bin that you can purchase from your local accredited garden centre. Veggie peels and other organic kitchen waste need to mature, decompose and breakdown properly before you use it as compost so we wouldn't recommend throwing your veggie peels straight into the beds.

Is 3:2:1 fertilizer harmful to dogs and if it is what other products can be used?

We do not think that 3.2.1. is harmful to animals however should the animal eat a large quantity it would most certainly affect them. We would suggest that you maybe use any organic fertiliser (as this does not contain any harmful chemicals).

Hi, wondered if u could help me with perhaps a list of brightly coloured flowering, spreading plants that I can plant between my boundary wall and the road. I have a corner plot and I need ground cover to cover the sandy area there, from the wall to the pavement edge is bout 3 metres and bout 5 or 6 metros from side to side +\-. Cape Flats Cape Town. Your assistance will be much appreciated, Thank You

We would suggest you looked at planting star jasmine, Carissa, abelia, gazania varieties, freylinia or even agapanthus. All of these will add colour to this patch and cover the sandy area. It would be advisable to add compost and super phosphate fertilizer when you plant.

I'm laying rubber paving mats with 3x3cm holes in a very shady area in summer and sun in winter, it a seating/ braai area and the mats will be walked on.I want to plant a cover to grow between the gaps but not take over the soil below is disgusting. What do u suggest or should I keep to filling the gaps with small pebbles

Some fantastic step-on ground cover for between paving include mentha, mazus repens, mondo dwarf, dymondia, lyssimachia or sagina subulata. These will all grow in the conditions you have with menthe having a mint fragrance that would be spread throughout the area after being stepped on.

Please could you let me know what seeds I could be planting this time of the year (October/November)? I would like to have some flowers in my garden through out the year. Something that I would be able to pick and have in a vase in my house, as well as just the most amazing colours in the garden.

You can sow Anchusa (summer forget me not) . Celosia. Chrysanthemum. Cosmos. (yellow and orange) Gaillardia (the blanket flower) . Nigella (love to in the mist) Nicotiana. Scabiosa. Zinnia (tall and dwarf). Marigolds. Also mixed packets of a variety of seeds make a delightful show and some of which make good cut flowers.

I would like to know which herbs and vegetables can I grow for autumn and winter in the Western Cape, and when I can start planting.

Most herbs are available right through the year and can be planted at any stage. Veggies (to name a few): Beetroot, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Cabbages, Carrots, Cauliflower, Leeks, all lettuce, Onions, Peas and Spinach

I need some ideas on what plants and trees to plant at my swimming pool to give it a more tropical look?

It will be best to go for plants such as miniature date palms, tree ferns, asparagus ferns (sprengerii/meyersii ), cycas palms and bamboo palms for shade areas.

I am moving to the south coast of the Western Cape and would like to plant a deciduous shrub to give shade over the Braai area. Flowering shrubs are welcome, but no fruit baring shrubs. The area is full-sun, near the sea and windy.

The best option is the bauhinia galpinii. Has a lovely orange flowers and is indigenous as well.

What proteas are in bloom in April? (in terms of flowers for a wedding)

While it is still a little early for some Proteas there will be flowers available. Protea Susara will be the variety most readily available.

I am looking for some indigenous plants that I can use indoors.... they will not get any natural lighting as the room is completely land locked..... it will only receive fluorescent lighting for about 9hrs a day. Indigenous is best, but if there aren't any then exotics could work as well.

Indigenous: Zamioculcus zamiifolia – foliage plant very well suited for low light areas Chlorophyttum comosum ( hen and chicken) Streptocarpus – flowering plant and might battle in the low light.

Non – Indigenous: Sanseveria (mother in laws tongue) Aspidistra elatior (cast iron plant) very tough and suited for low light Aglaonema Silver – variegated foliage suited for low light.

Im living out in the Muizenberg area. I find the ground to be very dry and my lawn looks as if the sun is burning it . Please advise to how I can make the lawn grow green and what type of plants can I plant in my area?

It will be best to cut out a piece of the lawn and take it to your nearest garden centre, as there can be many problems. It can be worms, fungal infections or watering problems. There are a big range of plants that are available for coastal areas. Herewith a few: Barleria, yuccas, cordylines, Aloes, Elegias, Agathosma, Coleonema.

We have 3 conifer trees with a Gardenia planted between then. (Conifer, Gardenia, Conifer, Gardenia, Conifer!!) in a front south facing bed at our front door. The Gardenias are about chest height and are being smothered by the Conifers. We would like to move them to a semi shady spot. When and how can we do this?

It would be best to wait until it gets a little colder. Please ensure that the area where the plants are being moved to, is prepared before the plants are taken out of the ground. Please ensure that you take as much of the root ball with it upon transplanting.

Should a compost heap be in sun or shade?

A compost heap should be in the sun. Try and get the heap in as much sun as possible.

Please would you advise me - I need to plant an evergreen shrub to screen off the next door property if possible, a quick grower and indigenous a possibility. I look down onto the compost heap and staff quarters of the adjacent property as we are on a fairly steep hill. We do have a view so would not like to block it out - eg wild strelitzia Nikolai too tall.

You could try the Freylinia varieties, Buddleja saligna, Dodonaea angustifolia.

I will be moving home in September and would like to take some of my favourite plants with me. Have you any tips?

It is a good time to transplant/move plants in the cooler months. If you would like to take shrubs with you, prune them shorter and remove with some soil around the root ball. Any perennials like Agapanthus move easily - remove and cut back the leaves and then replant.

I have bought a lot of perennial seeds (agapanthus, diascia, gaura, osteospermum, blue sage, white fairy primrose, gazania & delphinium) and was wondering if it is still too early to start planting the seeds?

If you are going to plant your seed in trays, you can plant them now and keep them in a warm place. If you are going to plant directly in the soil, wait until it is warmer.

I started a subtrobical garden in my small garden then I developed a back problem. Now I want more flowering shrubs and annuals. Can you please give me some tips?

Annuals, although colourful, are a lot of back breaking work as they have to be replaced every 6 months. If you do want annuals, plant them in containers. Flowering shrubs and perennials are less maintenance and once planted, they should last for years. The back breaking bit is the initial planting. They might need a light trimming once a year. Visit your local nursery or garden centre and they will help you with plants that should last.

Do you have a checklist of tools that I will need to invest in to successfully have a kitchen garden in Gauteng?

Invest in a spade, a garden fork, a rake, a hand trowel and fork, a watering can with a rose.

Where do cherries grow in KZN?

Cherries grow best where the winters are really cold. They do not do well in milder winters.

How well do azaleas do in Gauteng?

Azaleas do well in Gauteng. Plant them in the shade or morning sun and afternoon shade.

I really like plants and flowers and want to start our garden, but I don't know where to start and what to plant? I like colourful flowers and green plants. The beddings is already there, I just need to prepare the soil and start planting?

Add well decomposed compost to the soil and dig into the beds. When planting add a little Bone meal to each hole which will help the roots grow strong. Go to your local Nursery or Garden Centre and they will be able to help you with a selection of Annuals for summer e.g. Petunias or Marigolds or buy perennials like Daisies and Gazanias. Look out for Agapanthus or Day Lilies.

I have privet hedges along the driveway between us and the neighbours that are almost bare at the bottom but fairly full on the top. Is it possible to grow Mandevilla vines in between the bare branches at the bottom and will they automatically attach themselves and creep through the privets? If this climber is not suitable, could you possible suggest another one? Would really appreciate your assistance with this as i cannot afford to put a wall up between us and the neighbours.

Mandevilla laxa (Chilean Jasmine) loses the bottom leaves and becomes woody. Try Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jasmine) which is evergreen, fast growing and should twine up the privet hedge.

We are staying next to a river and it is getting cold in the winter and very hot in summer. I've planted L M lawn under the trees but it dies every time. Want to plant lawn seed. Bought canada lawn seed. The packet says for cold and shaded areas. will it work?

Yes the Canada lawn should work.

I live in Pretoria and am starting a new vegetable garden. My soil has different textures. Some part has sand and some parts has stones. I have used the organic compost to cure the soil. I would like to know how much time do I have to leave the soil mixed with compost before I start planting?

If the compost was well decomposed you can start planting immediately.

What can I plant in a shady area that can form a nice tall privacy screen. I stay in Richards Bay. I was thinking about Gardenias but not sure if they will do well in shade.

You can plant Gardenias in the shade. Try Viburnum odoratissimum as the grow in the shade and they grow tall

I am an amateur landscaper, I love the garden and have been gardening since a kid. I've just moved to lichtenburg from jhb. It's so so dry here! Anyway, I've got some landscaping jobs, what plants are water wise but grow lots of colourful flowers, and can be hedged, not so tall about max 40-50 cm?

Try Westringia fruticosa, Euryops pectinatus, Coleonema, Lavandula, Rosmarinus.

I am going to plant my orchid on a tree, will this method work in Johannesburg?

Yes this will work. Make sure that the tree you are going to plant the orchid on is not exposed to frost or the spot used is very cold in the winter.

We have a narrow wide garden along the house- 16m wide and 5deep.The house is North East East facing a long wall which is obviously the opposite. The wall is precast panels, about 7 panels high. What I want to know is: What could I grow against the house? What could I grow up the wall to the side that is South East facing? What could I grow up the long wall facing the house which obviously has morning shade afternoon sun? Could we grow espalier pears, granadilla? We live in heidelberg in Gauteng.

Yes you could grow espalier pears and apples and granadilla up the wall facing the house. If you would like to try climbers you can use Gelsemium sempervirens or Trachelospermum jasminoides.

We live in Muizenberg so the salty, sea air is a big factor in choosing plants that can survive and prosper. What are some varieties we can look at?

These are some plants you could try. Coleonema, Euryops pectinatus, Rhaphiolepis ‘Kruschenia’, Westringia fruticosa, Carissa, Rosmarinus, Phormium tenax varieties, Portulucaria afra, Tarchonanthus, Tulbaghia violacea, Escallonia ‘Pink Princess’.

What seed can be plant to give colour to our office garden, in Eastern Cape. space is 20mx50m.

You can sow Marigolds, Portulaca, Alyssum, Petunia, Salvia, Zinnia, Lobelia.

I'm looking for n ever green climber to cover my palisades. It is in the sun most of the day and can be cold in the winter. I'm living in Lydenburg. Will a Lady Banks Rose (Rosa banksiae) do the trick or a jasmine?

Rosa Banksiae will definitely work.

Which flowers can I plant that will attract bees to my garden?

Some of the plants that will attract bees include: Lampranthus(Vygie), Rosemary, Callistemon, Escallonia, Hebe, Viburnum, Abelia, Aloes, Dianthus, Gaillardia, Duranta, Phlox.

I want to plant veggies (cabbage, carrots, onion, beetroot, spinach, tomato, peppers (green,red and yellow), as well as beans). I already have the place where I can plant but I don't know where or when to start and I don’t even know what to put on the soil to enrich it. Please help.

You can plant all the veggies now. Dig well decomposed compost into the soil. When planting, add bonemeal and a general fertiliser like 2:3:2.

I live in Pretoria. My naartjie tree which is now two years old had lots of blossoms and last week they all fell off but there is no fruit. Do you perhaps know why?

Your naartjie tree needs to be watered well and regularly especially when it has blossoms on. Feed your tree with a 3:1:5 fertiliser. Young trees often blossom without setting fruit. Fruit setting should improve once they are older.

Love flowers for my grandchildren as well. Always just plant petunias in summer and pansies. Lots of pots around pool and patio areas. Plse can you advise what other flowering plants to grow?

You can plant Salvias, Marigolds, Portulaca, Verbena, Lobelia and perennials Pelargoniums, Inca Lilies, Penstemon, Agapanthus, Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

I would like some advice on growing bamboo indoors as a room divider.

It is difficult to grow bamboo indoors. They need good light, high humidity, well drained moist soil, regular water, not over or under watered.

I would like to have a magical garden with tranquility and where people can relax. I want the garden to have edible plants, scented plants, purifying plants, can you give me a list of plants to buy, please!

Some scented plants you can try are Brunfelsia eximia, Gardenia, Abelia, Lavandula, Trachelospermum, edible plants like the herbs, Basil varieties, Lemon Scented Verbena, Mint varieties. Try Blueberries and Gooseberries. Visit your local nurseries as they will have more plants they can help you with.

We live on a farm and I am starting to take care of the garden. The grass is green and coming along but I have so many weeds throughout the lawn that I don't see the light. Is there an easier way than taking out one at a time?? Please help.

Depending on what type of lawn you have, you can spray with a weedkiller like Turfweeder, Hormoban or Banweed.

I want to lure birds to my garden. Which type of trees can I plant?

Some indigenous trees that you can plant are Halleria lucida, Olea Africana, Celtis Africana, Syzygium cordatum, Harpephyllum caffrum.

I have trouble growing back my lawn and I think it is now time to revert to natural indigenous plants instead of temperamental grass that take too much time and resources to upkeep. The problem is, I still want to have all the perks of a lawn - it being low growing, taking traffic and pet friendly. Can you give me any ideas of what to replace my lawn with? It should ideally also take full sun and not a lot of water and feeding (sounds like I'm expecting way too much here). I asked around and somebody suggested natural grasses, but those tend to seed themselves quite vigorously and they do grow tall? Also looking for the best Water Wise ground cover in Pretoria?

Try growing the indigenous Buffalo Grass. It grows in the sun and is water wise. It does not need a lot of upkeep. For the best Water Wise ground cover, try Gazania rigens.

I have small apple trees growing in my garden from seeds that I threw away. Can they survive the Gauteng weather (Pretoria) and bear any fruits?

Yes they can survive the Pretoria weather. They probably won’t bear any fruit and if they do it might take a number of years.

I am a pensioner in Centurion looking after communal gardens in a complex… Need something easy to sow once, in patches around established garden and have a burst of colour from sept to march (???) or longer. Sun and shade and not too thirsty.

Plant Marigolds in the sun. Plant red Salvia that will grow in the sun and some shade. Both these plants are water wise.

Please advise a list of herbs that would flourish in a shaded area.

These herbs should grow in a shaded area: try Basil, Catnip, Lemon Balm, mint and parsley. Ensure that the soil is well drained and do not overwater.

Please advise what is the best month to plant Marigold seeds

Marigold seeds can be sown as soon as the soil starts warming. It is best to sow in spring and early summer.

I recently bought some proteas down in the Cape and had a small oopsie on the way back to KZN. What happened was the tops of the plants got FRIED from the heat under the torno cover of the bakkie. Can we just chop off all the brown steam and leaves or should we just keep on watering them and let them sort themselves out?

Do cut off the dead tops and continue watering the plants. They should start sending new growth again.

We live in Randfontein. Which fruit or nut trees would work in the area?

You could plant peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, figs, grapes, pomegranate, quince, almonds, pecan nut and walnut.

My friend has purchased a property in Pearly Beach and wants to establish a garden to include as many self-sustainable plants ie: vegetable garden etc. Help with the choice of fruit trees would be very much appreciated. Obviously the olive family will do, but what other trees can he consider?

Your friend will need to protect the fruit trees from the salt and the wind and plant them in compost enriched soil. They need to watered regularly and well. He could try the olives, citrus, like lemon, orange and naartjie, some grape varieties, early bearing peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums.

How water wise is a loquat tree? Is it a light of heavy "drinker"?

The Loquat is a category 3 Invader plant and may not be planted. If you have an existing tree you may keep it. It is a heavy ‘drinker’ but once established it is water wise.

Is Angelonia Serena part of the 'tea' family?

No it is not part of the ‘tea’ family

Angelonia Serena is very pretty - is it a shrub?

It is an annual small mounded upright plant that flowers from late spring to autumn. If it is cut back regularly you can get it going through winter. It needs to be fertilised regularly.

Portulaca vignettes are heat resistant, do they grow well in between rocky parts?

Yes they grow well in rocky parts as long as they some soil to grow in. They are shallow-rooted.

I hope you can help with information.  I live on a smallholding and am recovering from tick bite fever.  After doing a bit of research, I've twigged on to Rose Geranium Oil as a natural tick repellent. I was wondering, would planting the actual plant also have some benefit against ticks?

If you plant the actual plant you would have to rub the crushed leaves onto your body. The scent won’t last as long as the concentrated Rose Geranium Oil would and you only need a drop of oil.

Hi, I'm moving this weekend and want to lift my plants to start garden again. Can I lift my plants now and replant immediately? We had rain today? Free State

Yes you can. If the plants are big prune them back to help with the transplanting shock.

Hi,I often read that certain veg.must be planted early spring,but when you go to local nurseries you see them sold now in June (seedlings). Can I plant cucumber, coriander,squash now. KZN

If you are in a cold, frost area of KZN wait until early spring. If you are in a warmer area you can plant them now.

Is it possible to grow a semi tropical food forest in Pretoria? With the extreme temperature and no rain in winter can you still do it by providing sufficient water during winter times and protecting plants from the cold by maybe having a big tree canopy in place or any other way? I want to use local plants and trees but try and have the garden always green not just in the summer.

It would be possible if you do water sufficiently and protect the plants from the cold.

I have a large, sunny concrete area in a complex which I would like to develop into a succulent garden. Materials used would be gravel, stones, rocks, a log or two and succulents in various sizes and heights of pots. I wish to create an area covered by "plastic grass" to soften the effect. 
Can this work? KZN

If the area is suitable for laying the ‘plastic grass’ it would work.

Well decomposed compost - Can I add the compost you get in the bag. Will that help. KZN

Yes you can add the compost you get in a bag.

I've just bought my first piece of land its quite big and I'm aiming to start my own garden and orchard. I'm wondering if you have any information on which fruits, herbs, and veggies to plant when. I'm in KwaZulu Natal Eshowe region.
Please send me any information that you have on starting gardening in South Africa. 

You can plant peaches, plums, apricots, fig, pomegranate, apples, pears, quince. Go to for a vegetable and herb guide.

I live in Edgemead (Western Cape) and have a huge problem with weeds.
I would like to know if your team can advise me on whether or not the below product is the best way to kill creeping sorrel weeds and ground cover. 
I want something I can put over my lawn but will not damage the lawn.
 Lawntyl 500SC was recommended, I would like to try but not lose my Kukui grass in the process?
 Any assistance would be appreciated as we would like to retain a luscious lawn but weed free.

Lawntyl can be used to kill winter grass, try a broadleaf herbicide like Hormoban.

How to improve a garden lawn in Johannesburg?

In spring you need to scarify, fertilise and weed. Apply lawn dressing to fill any holes and even out the lawn and then you can fertilise and start watering again.

I am a keen gardener,but struggling with my irises. Feeding them culterra "fruit and flower" and nitrosol... Not flowering. Gauteng

Irises need to grow in full sun in well drained alkaline soil. Water well but do not overwater. They need to be divided every 3-4 years. Continue with your feeding programme.

I just want to know a bamboo palm is it a indoor plant? North West

Yes you can grow it indoors in a well lit spot.

Good day, my husband is a keen gardener, we have a small garden, live in Kathu, Ncape & experience black frost on & off during winter months. Please advise on plants & shrubs surviving -4 to-5 degrees during nights as we lose the most beautiful plants approximately every 2nd winter. Most of our plants are frost hardy, but black frost poses a serious problem. He becomes very disheartened. We need a green leafy plant for large square pot standing under a lapa & a long stemmed bushy plant with round/pompon top for verandah /pergola covered with white transparent roofing leading out of the lounge. Also other shrubs & smaller plants for flower beds. Cycads seem to do quite well here as well as ferns, pony tails, lavender, rosemary, thatching bamboo-type grass.

Try a Philodendron selloum for a leafy plant and a Viburnum odoratissimum Standard(Pom Pom) for the long stemmed plant. For the flower beds you use Conifers, Escallonia, Gazanias, Spiraea, Teucrium

I'm quite new to all of this and would like to make a small terrarium in a glass jar for my room. What soil would be best? I have read up about different ways to make the terrarium but would like to know of any South African and or recommend soil brands regarding succulents. Gauteng

You could use 1 part river sand to 2 parts potting soil that has bark in it.

I am finding it hard to garden in 2 particular areas of my garden:
1)  The south facing wall on my property- that has full shade in winter and morning sun in summer (and sometimes even full sun in Summer)
 2)  West facing wall that has full shade in winter and afternoon sun in summer and some areas have only a couple of hours of hot afternoon sun all year round……
Please can you advise what is best to plant in these areas, I prefer indigenous, fast and tall growing plants (but will try anything), plants that will thrive in sun or shade……
Your help would be much appreciated.
 Plumstead (Western Cape)

Try Mackaya bella, Plectranthus varieties, Freylinia, Plumbago(indigenous) Camelia, Escallonia, Nandina domestica, Viburnum varieties(exotic) in both areas

I am currently doing a garden in Ezulwini, Swaziland. The previous owners of the property wanted to extend the grounds by adding rubble and soil to their plot. Unfortunately the soil they dumped was all sub soil (bare, red, clayish and devoid of any growth even after 9 months). The property drops into a vlei on the one side, and there is a steep bank (about 4 or 5 metres high) of purely red Swazi sub-soil. I want to plant/terrace/cover this area before the rains come later this year. Please suggest what to plant! The area is mostly shady and the only things growing are bugweed, wild ginger and lantana. I would like to hold and nourish the soil, beautify the slope and avoid planting anything that will run into the vlei and invade

Try Hedera varieties, Vinca, Chlorophytum

Which herbicide is good for weeds on lawn? Free State

Use a selective herbicide for weeds on the lawn like Hormoban, Turfweeder or Banweed.

I’m located on a small holding in Vereeniging and looking to create a borderline with some large trees. We currently have quite a lot of pine trees filling the spaces but a few have fallen and have been struck by lightning over the years. These have been planted by my grandparents over 70 years ago, but now I am trying to restore the area.
I was looking for information on getting pine trees growing e.g., best time of year to plant, size of the holes, and general information regarding, or even if I should look towards another type of large tree

Most Pine trees are on the invader list and may not be planted. You could try Cupressocyparis leylandii which is a large fast growing conifer. If it is in a container it can be planted anytime of the year. The size of the hole will depend on the container size. Make a square hole and add well decomposed compost to the soil.

What variety olive will grow best in the South Western Free State?

The Mission Olive

When can I plant lawn. I am starting a garden and need to know when to plant the lawn and what to plant now. It is a very small garden. Gauteng

You can plant lawn towards the end of August/September.

When is the best time to plant iceberg roses? Limpopo

If the roses are in containers they can be planted any time of the year. As soon as they are available in August/September is a good time.

What can I grow (veg and flowers) in kind of sea sand type ground in Maitland Cape Town?

Add well decomposed compost to the soil to help with water retention. Plant beetroot, carrots, peas, spinach, lettuce, radish in vegetables and in flowers try Gazanias, Osteospermums, Argyranthemums.

I am busy renovating a wonderful old Cape cottage which is surrounded by vineyard, English oak trees and in the part of the garden where I want to plant 3 small trees ( less than either 3 metres  or less than 4 metres .) there is a large plane tree.
I want to plant 3 identical small trees either in front of  the low werf wall you see in the pics ( wall about 850mm high)where I need 2-3 metre trees. They will be spaced equally along the length of the wall.
behind the werf wall where a car is parked( here the ground level is much lower and the wall is maximum 2 metres height where I would need 3- 3.5 metre trees. ( Spaced equally along the length of the wall ) or a 3 metre hedge behind the werf wall  ( Viburnum Sinensis?)
The reason for planting is to block out some neighbours houses AND  to give my neighbour a bit of privacy when someone is in this garden.  ( unless I plant a hedhge , they will never get complete privacy ...and that would be a shame to hide the werf wall .
I am reluctant  introduce a Cape town non-farmy tree, or something completely different to what is around,( I want to keep it all low-key) so my thoughts are :
Lemon ...Meyer or Eureka ( at least it produces edible fruit )and I like its lightness Lime Pomegranate ( looks a bit dense ?) Calamondin Olive ( too large?) Bladdernut Dombeya Rotundifolia ( but actually no good as they are deciduous ?) Buddleja Saligna Tree Wisteria ?
Which would tolerate a bit of South Easter wind and a shade in summer from the Plane Tree (only the left hand one of the three would get shade ) The 
low side of the werf wall faces North West.

Buddleja saligna is a good idea as it can tolerate wind and a bit of shade, is fast growing and can be trimmed if wanted.

I would like to get married in May and my colours are shades of purple and mint green so would it be possible to send a list of the flowers in those colours that bloom that time of year.

Purple Lisianthus, Purple and lime Chrysanthemum

Goodday, I am in Swaziland and would like to know when is the best time to put manure on my garden? (organic)

You can put well decomposed manure on the garden at the beginning of spring.

I live in Mpumalanga and I would like to know which vegetables and herbs can I plant this time of the year?

Beans, carrots, spinach, radish, cucumber, squashes, mealies, brinjals, peppers, chillies, pumpkin, parsley and coriander

I have a small garden and would like to plant one peach tree - which one will bear the most with the least problems? Thank you. (Gauteng)

Culemborg-white free stone, San Pedro-yellow free stone, Oom Sarel-yellow cling, May Glo-nectarine.

I've moved from a big garden to a small garden, from Kwazulu Natal to the Western Cape, I really need help to make a beautiful garden, do not know what grows because of the small garden and climate, windy.

Plant indigenous plants like Proteas, Leucospermums, Tecoma, Euryops pectinatus, Gazanias, Agapanthus, Polygala ‘Petite Butterfly’.

Have you heard of GingerGreen - a type of lawn that grows anywhere shade sun poor soil etc - sounds too good to be true! Western Cape

GingerGreen is a seed grown lawn. For  more info go to

My garden is mostly loose soil no nutrition or what so ever. I have zero knowledge about plants and love them. I have roses for a bargain palm trees. What fertiliser can I use to feed the soil for please? Eastern Cape

Add as much well decomposed compost as you can to the soil. When planting add Bio Ocean to the soil.

I am staying around Mokopane at least 34km from this town and would like to know what types of veggies and whether to plant in "plantjies" or use packeted seeds in backyard garden at this time. It's a new erf on years ago left unused plot. Limpopo

You can plant seed of beans, carrots, radish, mealies, pumpkins, squash and melons. Use seedlings (plantjies) of peppers, chillies and spinach.

Want to prepare a flowerbed that has been standing empty for 2-3 years, what do I use to work into the ground for summer flowers. half shade, half sun bed. Gauteng

Dig in well decomposed compost.

At last summer, my grass developed dead/white patches (something like boiled water was poured over grass). What can I do to keep it healthy and never to have those dead patches again? Gauteng

The dead patches could have been worms. Start now by spreading a thin layer of lawn dressing over the lawn, feed with Bio Ganic Lawns fertiliser and water well. Continue watering the lawn especially in hot weather.

Can i use pinewood mulch for my aloe/fatplant garden because of the acidity of pinewood trees? KZN

Yes you can use pine bark mulch in your aloe/succulent garden.

I life in Waterfall KZN & have a large garden that is +- 60% grass & as my wife & I are now retired we are looking to change the garden to low or no maintenance. To this end the grass must or be minimised so we are thinking ground cover. which raises the following question that I hope you will have answers for.
 Can groundcover seed be spread over the existing lawns to take over the grass OR does the old grass have to be removed in order to spread a ground? Either method could you please suggest a suitable fast growing groundcover?

If the existing lawn is still strong growing it would be best to remove it. If not you could over seed it with a ground cover like Dichondra repens (Wonder Lawn). It is a fast spreading ground cover that could take over the lawn when it grows well.

Any tips for gardeners planting the seeds of Ericas, pincushions and proteas in Limpopo? What kind of soil and weather conditions are best?

Plant the seeds in spring or autumn in a well drained acidic soil mix(PH 5.5). You could use coarse river sand, peat, vermiculte with the ratio 2:2:1. Soil mix must be damp when planting. Plant the seed to a depth equal to the size of the seed. Water well. Do not let it dry out. Keep in a semi-shade area. Seeds could take 1-3 months before they germinate.

Good day, I have built a raised bed around a large tree in my front garden. please give me suggestions for plants which I could plant in the bed as well as in containers under this tree for spring/summer. Gauteng

Try Impatiens, Begonias, Aquilegia, Fuchsia, Hydrangeas, Rhododendrons

What type of grass seeds to buy for a shady area? Free State

Try GingerGreen.

A suitable fast growing tree to give us privacy from traffic passing our house. House is approximately 80m from road with lot of traffic. Free State

Ceratonia siliqua.

When is the best time to transplant Celtis africana? Northern Cape

In winter when it is dormant.

Do you have any ideas on a indigenous flowering potted plant that can be propagated from seed or cutting that will flower in September/October? Western Cape

Gazania, Nemesia, Osteospermum, Mesembryanthemum. It is too late for propagating for this September/October flowering

We are in Plett and the area on our property is on north sloping ground with a fair amount of sun. I have an aloe thriving there so am keen to add a few more aloes and some proteas but know nothing about selecting one which is beautiful long flowering and not tall, say maximum one meter. Your assistance will be most appreciated. Western Cape

Protea cynaroides (King Protea), Protea magnifica. The hybridised Proteas are also smaller and flower well. Visit your local nurseries to see what they have.

How to attract wild birds to my garden? Northern Cape

Plant fruit bearing plants like Rhus crenata, Halleria lucida, Celtis Africa, Olea Africana, Cotoneaster, Pyracantha and nectar filled plants like Aloes, Tecoma, Leonotus, Sutherlandia, Agapanthus, Hibiscus, Strelitzia.

I would like to know if it worth the effort of growing litchis , mangos and cherries in Johannesburg. In the summer I have seen a few mango trees with fruit. If so where can I get the Mauritius, Salathial litchi and Long green, Joa mango in Gauteng. Will cherries crop in our area?

Plant the litchi and mango in a warm frost protected spot. Cherries will bear as they need a cold winter. You need to plant 2  different cherry trees for cross pollination for bearing.

Are all salvia perennial? Gauteng

Most Salvias are perennial. Some Salvias like Salvia Splendens could die if the winters are too cold.

I have a very large tiled balcony patio. Please send some ideas of potted plants that would provide some screening as well. I was thinking of some bamboo in planters? Many thanks in advance. Gauteng

You can use Bamboo, also try Nandina domestica, Viburnum varieties, Schefflera, Cordyline ‘Electric Pink, Freylinia, Escallonia.

I run a creche and would like to start a veg garden in the front yard. Where do I start? Gauteng

Vegetables like to grow in the sun in soil that well decomposed compost has been added. You can sow carrots, beetroot, beans, cabbage and spinach seed now.

Will a Protea grow in a pot? KZN

Yes a protea can grow in a pot as long as it is planted in well drained soil that is acidic.

I am busy putting together an urban veggie garden. I would like to plant grasses that will benefit the birds in some way. Produce seed maybe. I do have a bee hive and have planted for them but I would like to accommodate the birds into the planting as well. I do feed and have a big bird population. About 7 - 10 different species at the moment. Gauteng

Setaria, Restios.

Ideas for a small garden in a complex. Gauteng

Make flowing beds on the boundaries with a small centre lawn. Plant 1 to 2 small trees and some large shrubs, in the gaps add perennials like Daisies, Lavenders, Gazanias, Gauras. If more colour is wanted add seasonal annuals.

Please advise what months are best for planting these vegetables; this is in accordance with availability. I have scheduled as follows but would like any advice on changes if required:
Sept/Oct: Parsley, spring onion, leeks, celery, coriander
Nov/Dec: Basil, brinjal, sweet peppers (capsicum), cayenne chillies.

Your schedule of planting is perfect

I stay in Laezonia and my soil is a loose sandy soil with abundant quartz stones. Flowers do not grow , they wither and die. Kindly advise which plants or flowers can withstand this soil type as I would like to plant flowers and have a beautiful garden. Gauteng

Succulents and Aloes. Gazanias, Euryops pectinatus, Felicias, Plumbago, Tecoma, Limonium.

Can I plant petunias in Secunda in August? Its still cold at night and mornings? Mpumalanga

Wait for the cold to pass before planting your petunias

I have ivy growing in my garden. My manager wants to grow ivy at my workplace. Can I cut a piece of our ivy in the garden and plant it at work to grow? Gauteng

If it is Hedera helix (small leaf green Ivy) it is an Category 3 Invader and you may not propagate it. If it is any other Ivy you may take cuttings from it to grow.

Can pincushions be planted here in Gauteng?

Pincushions (Leucospermums) can be planted in Gauteng. Plant in well drained acidic soil in a sunny position where there is air circulation.

Please could you suggest a good plant with dark green waxy leaves to use as a small hedge? I live in Pietermaritzburg, KZN and will be planting a low hedge against the front wall of my house. Gets mostly afternoon sun.

Use Buxus sempervirens ‘Faulkner’.

What is the main reason if you planted seeds of green peas the same day but they germinate at different times?

Perhaps they were not planted at the same depth, or they did not receive the same amount of water.

Is rooikrans trees a invasive species? Western Cape

Rooikrans (Acacia Cyclops) is a Category 2 Invader and must be removed.

What type of plants can i put into my garden? We live in Piet Retief in Mpumalanga and have a little river that runs opposite our property which makes our area very cold at times,and it is also a area that has black frost in winter.

Aloes, Carnations, Gazanias, Lavenders, Viburnums, Photinia, Rosemary, Agapanthus, Hydrangea, Salvia leucantha, Roses, Crassula ovate.

I considered planting Proteas in the Heidelberg Gauteng area. It’s windy and very cold during winters.
 Do you have any recommendations Please?

Plant in acidic well drained soil in a sunny position. They do like air circulation around them.

We have a very small garden with a mophead tree (which we cannot cut down because it is our only welcome shade in the summer). We are battling to grow grass under the tree, but also have grass which has sun all day. What would be the best...shade grass all over or any other specific grass? Gauteng

Plant GingerGreen lawn seed. It grows in sun or shade and is green throughout the year, so it would work for planting underneath the Mophead.

I would like to grow an amaryllis in a vase with water. How do I do this please? Western Cape

Use a container with a ‘neck’ where the bulb can rest on. Fill with water to just below the bottom of the bulb(it must not touch the water). Keep in a well lit warm spot.

Can you tell me if I can grow a lemon tree in a small garden? I live in Welkom in the free state. I don't want it to grow to big. When can I plant a lemon tree and what will be best for my small garden and can I grow a lemon tree in a large pot or just a small pot. I stay in a complex I would like to grow a lemon tree in a container so if we ever move I can take it with me. I would like to buy one the 1st September at the nursery must I buy a big pot and what compost and pest control for a lemon tree?

Plant the lemon in a large pot in well drained compost enriched soil. Place the pot in a sunny spot. Water well and regularly. Feed with a 3:1:5 fertiliser. Eureka is a good lemon variety.

What & when should I feed camellias? Mine are well established camellia japonicas, in flower at the moment but the leaves are looking slightly yellow.

Mulch them with an acid compost and feed them with Acid Plant Food.

We just got a 4 Hectare piece of Land in Gouna, in land from Knysna and would like to get a list of fruit and nut trees that we can grow in this area. Please assist if possible.

Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, figs, citrus, blueberries, strawberries, banana, granadilla, pomegranate.

Can you suggest indigenous plants and/or ground covers suitable for irrigating with 'grey' water to plant in our area? Limpopo

Gazanias, Agapanthus, Aloes, Crassulas,Dietes, Euryops pectinatus, Portulucaria, Strelitzia.

Can a pomegranate be pruned and when? Northern Cape

A pomegranate can be pruned to keep its shape. Do this in winter.

My very steep garden was washed away in the last flood (July). I need plants to stop the erosion. Its all ending up ln my pool. Need to know what I can use. Before the flood it was covered with Buffalo grass but now that's all gone. The roots of the trees are all exposed so I'd say I've lost most of my top soil. The area has mottled shade. Would really appreciate some suggestions. KZN

You'll need to get soil in and build terraces or retaining walls. The Buffalo grass is good. You could also try the indigenous Chlorophytum comosum varieties, Asystasia gangetica. Perhaps ask your local garden centre for some advice

Please can you tell me when is a good time of the year to transplant an aloe ferrox. It is in the ground at the poolside but is under shade of trees so it is not doing too well with droopy leaves and has constant insect infestations. I would like to move it to a sunnier spot. It is around 1.2m high.

Spring is a good time to transplant. Remove Aloe with a root ball and leave out for a week before planting it in a prepared hole that has well drained soil. Water, wait for soil to dry out before re-watering. Do not over water.

Please will you advise whether the Viburnum Sinensis will be suitable for a hedge for privacy and will be able to withstand the hot and windy conditions of the northern suburbs of Cape Town?

Viburnum sinensis would be suitable for a hedge and would be able to withstand the conditions.

I have made a vegetable patch which is about approx. 10m wide by 2m and about 1m deep.  I want to use it to plant and grow good quality vegetables and herbs. Please advise what should I fill the patch with, what type of soil and other other stuff which I need to fill it with before I start planting

Well drained garden loam and well decomposed compost.

I am a 'new' gardener and planted lots of roses which I believe will be 'ready' in Feb.
 Any advice on WHITE bulbs/ flowers I can plant now to bloom in Dec?
 Western Cape

If the roses were rooted they should start with new growth now and can bloom end of October. Agapanthus, Gladiolus, Dahlia bulbs. Petunia, Alyssum, carnation, impatiens, begonia, dianthus

It would be appreciated if you could give us the names of a few ground covers that will grow in reasonably full shade. We live west of Johannesburg.

Hedera Glory de Marengo, Viola hederacea, Ajuga, Lysimachia, Vinca major, Chlorophytum comosum

I love the Garden so I want to know what type of flowers I can plant in my province out side and inside? Limpopo

Lavenders, Petunias, Daisies, Agapanthus, Carnation, Dianthus, Alyssum for outside. African Violets, Chrysanthemums, Begonias, Anthuriums for indoors.

We have a very large amount of exotic Port Jacksons growing on our farm. We want to remove them but the soil is beach sand & very poor, as we the farm is close to the ocean. What indigenous trees & shrubs can we plant in that poor soil which will also help prevent soil erosion. Eastern Cape

Brachylaena, Buddleja saligna, Olea Africana, Tarchonanthus, Metalasia muricata, Salvia Africana lutea, Helichrysum petiolare, Eriocephalis africanus, Euryops pectinatus, Agapanthus, Tulbaghia.

We need an expert's advice in our office, to maintain our current plants and also to advise us on the right plants to keep. At the moment we have Chrysalidosarpus (6 of them) but we don’t know if it is the right plant for our Lowveld weather or for the plants to be inside the office.
 Our office space is big (6mx15m) 
It has light through out the day, and at night it is dark and all doors are closed and locked
. We actually just need plants that will go well with our display are but that could also adapt to the weather, or just someone that can advise us on how to take better care of the current plants and how much water they need daily as well as what soil is best for them. Mpumalanga

The Chrysalidocarpus should work well in the office if there is enough light. It does not need direct sunlight. Plant it in well drained potting soil and water when the soil is dry. Do not over water.

What's the best time of year to plant French/Mexican marigolds (Tagetes) in PE? Eastern Cape

You can sow the seeds now in September through to December. Seedlings can be planted from September through to March.

Which flowers to plant now for summer season in Potchefstroom? North West

Marigolds, Petunias, Alyssum, Portulaca, Zinnia, Asters, Lobelia, Salvia

I am planning to can plant at least six trees on the 10th September with my grand kids of 6-13yrs old, what types of trees can I plant, I am in Mokopane (new erf with cottage as my house). Limpopo

Nuxia floribunda, Vepris lanceolata, Dais cotinifolia, Syzygium cordatum, Heteropyxis, Rhus lancea, Betula.

Kan jy vygies met n stiggie plant? Gauteng

Die meerjarige vygies kan met stiggies geplant word. Soorte soos Lampranthus, Delosperma

Is there a more common name for Marigold flower, or how does it look? North West

The botanical name is Tagetes. Marigold is the well known common name, In Afrikaans they are known as Afrikaners. (They are not indigenous)

I live in Komatipoort where we have no frost.  However it does get up to the mid forties in summer. My garden is very shady and I have lots of space to plant begonias. Is it too hot here for them? I experience problems growing the wild rhubarb plant as it is too hot for it to thrive in this climate. I do have enough water for the plants and it is fairly humid here.  Please let me know what your thoughts are. Mpumalanga

You should be able to plant Begonias there. Plant in well drained compost enriched soil. Water well but do not over water. Watch out for mildew in your humid weather.

I have a massive field next to my property. Have extensive damage done by moles that i do not have lawn any more just sand patches. Have tried everything but nothing helps. still want a lawn and flower beddings. My flower beds barely survive. Have a fairly big plot. 
Any Ideas what to do. I like flowers and greenery and don't want to put down concrete slabs. Western Cape

Moles are really difficult to get rid of. You can try pouring garlic concentrate down the holes.(Cut up garlic soak in water, dilute when pouring down the holes)

A couple months ago I planted pea seeds straight in soil- receiving sun,water but no germination up to now - planted end of winter. KZN
Perhaps the seeds were planted too deep, or the soil was too wet. They like sun and plant in well drained compost enriched soil.

Perhaps the seeds were planted too deep, or the soil was too wet. They like sun and plant in well drained compost enriched soil.

Is it true that if you plant them close together the colour bleeds and they all become white???? also how many colours and where can we get them????? (Zantedeschia Hybrids)

No it is not true. It is better to plant the hybrids in their own spot and not next to the white Arums. Coloured Zantedeschias are available as bulbs and are at nurseries and garden centres.

I live in a complex and have a tiny garden. The problem though is because of the tall building in front of me, my garden is in constant shade. i have been struggling to grow grass even. i have a few groundcover plants that have survived but my beds are depressingly bare and lifeless. how can i add some cheer to my forever shady garden? Are there shade loving beautiful flowers? the only thing thats flourishing is a little lemon tree which catches what little sun i get. 

Impatiens, Begonias, Fuchsias, Rhododendrons, Plectranthus, Arum Lily

Are there indigenous shrubs which can take semi sun or shade, and can take our highveld frost? Or non indigenous, too? I have Mackaya bella, heteropexis, and buddleia, but are there others perhaps?

Hypoestes aristata, Jasminum multipartitum Plectranthus varieties, Dietes grandiflora, Clivias, Helichrysum petiolare are all indigenous

What flowers can I plant that will flower in April in the Tweespruit Area? Eastern Free State

You can plant Petunias, Marigolds, Dianthus, Phlox, Verbena, Alyssum, Lobelia, Salvia in January to flower in April. As it is hot and dry then you will need to keep the plants well watered.

How to extract seeds (tiny brown) of eggplant-brinjaal? Do you germinate straight to soil.or use seedlings containers? KZN

It is difficult to harvest the seeds. The fruit will have to be old then you will be able to collect the seeds. It is better to buy a packet of seed or seedlings. Plant seed in seedling containers and transplant when big enough.

How should I make tea from goat's manure? It is not fresh manure from goats living in the veld in the Bushveld. Will this tea be beneficial on tomatoes grown in my home garden? Will dark coloured tea be too strong for the plants?

Fill a container two thirds full with water and fill to the top with the manure, Stir and let it steep for a day or two, stirring once or twice a day. Dilute the mature tea to the colour of weak tea, pale brownish yellow when you want to use it. It will be beneficial for your tomatoes.

What is goat moth? Western Cape

A Goat moth is a large moth. The larvae tunnels under the bark of trees.

 Why is my lemon tree not bearing fruit? Gauteng

Lemons like to grow in the sun in well drained compost enriched soil. Water well and regularly but do not overwater. Fertilise with a 3:1:5 fertiliser in July, December and March.

I'd like to know what fruit trees are suitable to plant in the durban area. And what fruit trees bear fruit quickly? KZN

Bananas, Mangoes, Avocado, Granadilla(bears quickly), oranges, lemons, grapefruit. If the trees are grafted they bear sooner.

I planted some broccoli seedlings about two months ago however; no heads of broccoli seem to be growing just lots of leaves and the plants are getting taller. Is this normal or is there something wrong?

It could take 3-4 months before they make heads.

I believe I have a very large Monkey thorn in my very small garden ( just moved in - Rental property).
 I would like to know what I can plant under the tree. Some info:
 The tree canopy is + 2 storeys high. 
The entire ground area is just covered in compacted sand. 
I was told that the tree gives off a toxin that kills off other plants.
 The ground gets morning sun. No afternoon sun.
 Help please as I need to establish a ground cover before the rain comes otherwise it will be a mud slush/ slide/ mess. Gauteng

Try planting Hedera Gloire de Marengo or Trachelospermum jasminoides.

Looking for a low level growing ground cover. 90% shaded area. Tried various types of grass - not working. Small areas to cover. Must be evergreen. Gauteng

Try Periwinkle, Ajuga, Viola hederacea, Penny Royal, Dichondra repens (Wonder Lawn)

What can I plant at my front door (south facing) in pots that looks attractive. Gauteng

Cordyline ‘Electric Pink’ or ‘Electric Flash’, Bamboo Palm, Ficus Standard (Lollipop), Impatiens, Begonia

Types of grasses (bushes) to plant in large duck cage? Northern Cape

Elegia, Carex varieties, Dietes, Juncus, Pennisetum

I recently did some renovating and expanded my garden a bit, but the expanded area is mostly in shade (except in summer) and is bordered by a high, white wall which I desperately want to at least partially cover (and plant in front of) as quickly as possible. Ideally I would like to use indigenous plants (or at least non invasive aliens) which do not use too much water. Is this impossible? As part of the solution I was thinking of putting small rocks on the ground here and there. The space is about 5 metres by 3.2 metres... Gauteng

You can try Mackaya Bella, Viburnums and Nandina domestica,

I found your website and have just recently planted a variety of proteas in my garden. I have a variety of proteas, pin cushions and I just want to know what other plants can I plant with the proteas to make the garden look fuller. It is a new garden.

Coleonema, Eriocephalus africanus, Metalasia, Agapanthus, Felicia, Dietes, Elegia

Any suggestions for water wise ground covers to plant around my roses?

Try Gazania rigens, Dymondia or Pennyroyal.

I am based near the Atlantis area of the Western Cape (lots of sun and sand, but we do have lots of water). I am looking for shade giving trees, preferably indigenous, preferably fast-growing and it's to provide shade and non poisonous. Any suggestions?

Try Syzygium cordatum, Vepris lancelata, Harpephyllum caffrum, Celtis Africana. When planting add lots of compost to your sandy soil.

I am looking for a small water wise perennial that will grow in full shade, as it will be planted in a hanging basket - the soil depth is shallow. Western Cape

Try Crassula multicava, Ajuga reptans and Viola hederacea

Would like to plant ground cover between cement blocks in my garden what would you recommend on a budget? Western Cape

Pennyroyal is a fast growing ground cover with a peppermint smell. Small bits root easily.

Are proteas affected by weed killers?

They can be damaged by weedkillers.

Will Columnar Basil grow in a tub in full sun? And will the Correa Alba and/or Greek Basil grow in well drained pots in full sun. KZN

Yes to all 3. The Basils will need more water. Correa alba is water wise.

What should i use to get pesky mushrooms off my lawn?

Mushrooms grow on decaying matter. Do not overwater the lawn and check that there is good drainage. Water less so the lawn dries out as mushrooms don’t grow on dry soil.

I live in Mossel Bay area and would like to plant a small/medium tree (with a max of 3m height and 2m diameter) in my garden. I need something that will be sort of ornamental and evergreen to form a shield and vocal point. It must also be fast growing, and ideally allow for the planting of annuals under and around it. :) Tall order hence my quandary. Western cape

Try planting Viburnum odoratissum or Syzygium paniculatum. Train the plants by cutting the lower branches off to form a single stem.

How often should the cupressus be watered? Western Cape

Water the Cupressus thoroughly but allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering.

What could I plant as a ground cover instead of lawn, which is hardy as I have 3 large dogs? It is not a very large area about 30 - 40 square meters. Western Cape

Plant Dichondra repens (Wonder Lawn)

We are proposing to allow our verge/pavement to " revert " to nature to assist biodiversity but need advise on what to grow. Can you assist with advice please? Gauteng

Try Vygies, Gazanias, Felicia bergeriana, Agapanthus, Helichrysum petiolare, Scabiosa, Dietes, Tulbaghia.

I have just moved in a new area in Atteridgeville, West of Pretoria. it has a lot of rocks. my favourite fruit trees are mango and lemon. how do I get about starting a new garden for flowers, herbs and trees? Gauteng

Try and remove some of the rocks. Dig compost into the soil. When planting add bonemeal or Super Phosphate.

My late husband left me with a tunnel 40 m long 6m high with 40% black shade net as a last farewell gift... I don't know what to plant ..will fruit trees grow...? also an irrigation system of borehole water... Free State

Grow strawberries or blueberries in the tunnel. Borehole water can be used as long as it not too alkaline.

Please suggest a list of shrubs and plants that will flower in April?....inland....frost free. Eston/Mid Illovo. KZN

Marigolds, Alyssum, Petunia, Asters, Tecoma, Plumbago, Vincas, Hibiscus, Correa alba, Duranta ‘Sapphire Showers’ Gaura

Which proteas would you recommend for planting in my garden in Polokwane? Limpopo

Any of the proteas will grow there. Look out for some of the newer varieties.

I’d like to know if one can use bath water to water plants – not necessarily the leaves, but the soil. 

Yes bath water can be used on plants.

What types of aloes can I plant (just to add) in my garden, I do like one or couple of aloe plants among flowers or shorter trees as they stick above.

Try Aloe barberae, Aloe ferox or Aloe Africana.

We live in Knysna, in an estate on hilly ground. The house is mostly surrounded by retaining walls in front and back with hights graduating from level ground up to 3 meters in front and a straight wall of about 2,5 meters in back, both about 50 meters long.The retaining walls (Sholin) consist of concrete blocks stacked upon one another, slightly receding as they go up, leaving a small space of about 5 to 7cm per layer to plant in. In the walls we have planted a type of vygie from cuttings taken from those that were already planted in the wall helter skelter. The walls are pretty well covered now with a mass of hanging dark green vygies of which we unfortunately cannot determine the name - it has tiny white flowers which make it a bit drab.
We have been going through websites in order to find a more colourful climber/creeper/cover/etc which we could plant in this wall, mostly covering the ugly concrete and possibly cascading down. Nearly the whole of the present garden consists of indigenous plants and also mostly indigenous to this particular region.
Perhaps you could give us some ideas of what would work here?

Try Delosperma cooperi(a Vygie with purple flowers) Gazania rigens(Yellow flowers) Dymondia margaretae(Yellow flowers although it is slower growing)

I know that birds love Panicum maximum, but what other grasses do see eating birds particularly like? 

Unfortunately, we cannot advise on grass names, however, some suggest buying bird seed and sowing that.

I'm wondering  whether it's the right time for me to make rose cuttings for propagation. Some roses have just started blooming and some not yet,I'm an amateur.

The best time to take rose cuttings is in the winter when the roses are dormant.

I don't know if you will be able to assist or advise me on who can or perhaps recommend a book that can guide me?
I currently live in Pretoria and am moving to Schweizer-reneke in the North West.
I have absolutely no idea what works plant, shrub and flower wise in that area with limited water and very hot summers and cold winters?
We will have to do proper ground preparation as the ground in the yard doesn't seem very favorable for anything. Please help.

Perhaps you'd like to get some expert advice from a nursery in Schweizer-Reneke. Please visit the garden centres section on our website, to view the details of our member garden centres in each region. Add as much well decomposed compost to the soil as you can. When planting, plant with Bonemeal/Super Phosphate and Atlantic’s All Purpose fertiliser.

When must spring-flowering bulbs be lifted? Western Cape

As soon as the leaves go brown they can be lifted.

We farm in the Robertson area. It can get very cold with frost in the winter and extremely hot in the summer with wind mostly in the afternoons. I need to plant a dam wall in full sun with a groundcover that is fastgrowing and can endure extreme conditions. Can you advise me on a few ideas? Western Cape

Try Aptenia cordifolia, Gazania repens, Oscularia deltoids, Delosperma cooperi

We have a large area (about 80 square meters) on our verge that is full sun. We are not gardeners, so want to plant something that needs very little TLC and little water. Could you possibly suggest something?
Western Cape

What About different vaieties of Agapanthus. You could add Tulbaghia violacea and Dietes to the Agapanthus.

How do I attract birds to my garden? Gauteng

Plant fruit bearing plants like Sysyzium paniculatum, Halleria lucida, Pyracantha and Cotoneaster. Nectar bearing plants like Aloes, Tecomas. See that there is water and put out food tables with seed on them.

I have a hornbill that sometimes comes into my garden, how can I get it to come back? Gauteng

Hornbills are fruit eating birds. You could plant Halleria lucida, Harpephyllum or Celtis Africana.

What fertiliser and soil do i use for potted cactus? Eastern Cape

Cactus must grow in a well drained soil mix. The mix must not be water retentive. You don’t have to use fertiliser.

Do you need to remove the frost cover when you water the garden or does it go through?

It will go through, but it is best to remove it when watering.

Please I am an amateur gardener. I have a west facing wall which gets afternoon sun only.   There are already a number of tall shrubs growing against the wall - however just in front and underneath them it is pure sand.  Nothing is growing there.  I would like to know whether there are plants which I could plant there which would grow. It is also to add to my woes a slope. I would appreciate it very much if you could assist me. I have been thinking of Clivias and Agapanthus. Even Gazanias. Your advice in much appreciated. Eastern Cape

Add as much well decomposed compost to the sandy soil as you can. Also put a layer of mulch around the plants to help conserve the moisture. The Clivias would work, give them as much shade as possible. The Agapanthus is good they are tough and hardy. Try Arthropodium cirratum, Tulbaghia violacea, Dietes grandiflora.

Please recommend summer plants for hanging baskets,early morning sun.
 Western Cape

Calibrachoa, Bacopa, Scaveola, Begonia

I'm hoping you can advise. I have an empty north facing house wall. I really like the sub tropical look but as it is in full sun not much will grow. Also i wanted to plant palms but am worried they will get too tall and roots will mess up the foundations. Hope you can help. Eastern Cape

Palms have a small rootball and won’t mess up the foundations. Try Howea forsteriana it is shorter with lovely tropical looking fronds. Phoenix roebelenii(miniature date palm) is good too. Phormiums (New Zealand Flax) and comes in many leaf colours and Cordyline ‘Electric Pink and Flash’ would give a tropical look.

We live in George and I wonder if you can help regarding storage of the bulbs for the next season which include Dutch Irises, Chasmanthe, Ixia and Tritonia.

As soon as the leaves have died the bulbs can be lifted and put in a cool dry place to dry off (soil). Once soil is dry, clean soil off and put bulbs in a single layer in a flat box in a cool spot indoors. Leave bulbs open so that they get air circulation.

I am looking for something that I can plant in my very small garden that bares fruits one can eat. but I can put in a semi shade place something that can also withstand this heat. Gauteng

Try planting Blueberries.

My lawn is planted on sandy soil.What can I do to ensure water retention? Northern Cape

Top dress the lawn with compost as this will help with water retention.

Good Day. 
I am looking for plants that can relive sinus congestion. Do such plants exist? My entire family suffers with sinus, including myself. 
Please let me know if you can assist.

Peppermint, Eucalyptus oil

Are the yellow cloud salvias or any other yellow flowered sages available in South Africa. Particularly in Somerset West or Cape Town. Would so much appreciate any info. you could give me.

The only yellow sage we know of is the indigenous Salvia Africana lutea.

I stay on a farm and would like to know what indigenous shrubs can you recommend. Limpopo

Plumbago, Tecoma, Agapanthus, Coleonema, Polygala myrtifolia, Portulucaria afra, Helichrysum petiolare, Tulbaghia, Dietes, Carissa macrocarpa, Crassula ovate.

Living in potch. Very small garden. Need a tree with a non aggressive root system because there isn't much place. North West

Try Vepris lanceolata, Betula alba ‘Pendula’, Dais cotinifolia

Can I grow herbal pots plants in the kitchen. Eastern Cape

Yes you can if the kitchen gets some sun, a sunny window sill works well.

I live on the top floor (3rd) apartment in (very) windy Gordon's Bay. I want to create a roof garden and specifically plant some creepers. This must have a shallow root system and be strong enough to withstand strong wind. The planters will probably have to be long boxes around 500mm high and I can put up steel trellises. The wall will get mostly afternoon sun. I also love white flowers. Any ideas? Western Cape

Trachelospermum  jasminoides(Star Jasmine)

I need advice on what to grow as a ground cover, in St helena bay. Also pet resistant. Western Cape

Gazania rigens, Dymondia margaretae

I want to find out which tree would work in my garden around 5 metres from house. Want a big tree that is evergreen and doesn't lift up or damage pipes or paving. That is super fast growing for Vanderbijlpark area. Gauteng

Try Ceratonia siliqua

I am looking for the name of a vygie plant that has "Hair" like structures on the leaves. I don't have a picture, but we were told about this plant, the farmers in our area plant them to keep snakes off their property, apparently it does not smell very nice.

It is not a Vygie but it could be Plectranthus neochillis a plant that has succulent like leaves and a strong smell, It is said that Tulbaghia violacea (Wild Garlic) will also keep snakes away.

I live in Pinelands. We do not have typical soil for the area as our property was build on the old UCT sports field. We have also added quality top soil so we have at least 50 cm of good soil before reaching sandy soil. (Western Cape)

Add as much well decomposed compost to the soil when planting.

Are the following plant water wise? Nandina Pygmaea, Corex autum glow? Eastern Cape

Both the plants are water wise once they are established.

Wanting to start a lemon tree plantation on my farm outside Vaalwater Limpopo. It was a tobacco farm earlier, iIpresume the soil will be suitable? I do grow around my farm enclosure and they perform well, including limes. Limpopo

Lemons prefer well drained soil and need to be watered well.

I’ve just read an article on your website. I’m a chairperson at a retirement village. The elderly people use their grey water to water the rose garden – I see it is not good according to your article. I know that the lady who is in charge of the rose garden once mentioned it to me that somebody said you can use grey water on roses, but at least once a week you also have to give the roses clean water. Can you please assist me in this matter?

It is better not to use grey water on the roses, but if you have to try and give the roses clean water every alternate water.

I have an arch. Which would be the best creeper to plant for it that will flower often through the year and will be fast growing? KZN

Try Pandorea jasminoides.

What annuals can I plant to flower in March. I have a small garden so keep to pinks purple lilacs blues and white. KZN

Allysum, Petunias, Portulaca, Verbena and Lobelia

Good day, I have moved to Port Elizabeth. What can I plant that will take full sun in summer and shade in winter.

Try the Viburnum varieties, Gardenia, Dietes, Plectranthus chimanimaniensis, Nandina domestica

I'm looking for eco friendly solutions as alternatives to planting a lawn in an area where nothing has been planted as yet. I want an alternative that requires little watering, fertilising, mowing, etc. Ideally it should be something 2 kids and 1 pet dog friendly. 
I've read about the clover alternative and have come across conflicting views. Also, all places including 2 plant nurseries in my are do not have in stock the clover seeds. Would clover be a good alternative given my requirements, and what breed of clover should I consider? I live in Midrand, Johannesburg.

Wonder Lawn (Dichondra repens) has small clover-like leaves. You should get seed at the nurseries or garden centres.

I am looking for a very low-growing, mat-forming vygie to surround a wetland area. Delosperma seems the best since it will last longer but will they cope with little or no summer rain? Any other ideas? Western Cape

Delosperma is the best as it can cope with little rain, but see that it is planted in well drained soil as it could rot if it has too much water in winter.

I want to grow beans and tomatoes in black bags. I need advice how to do that successfully. Gauteng

You can grow them in black bags. Place the bags in the sun and fill the bags with well draining compost enriched soil. When planting add some Bonemeal. Water well but do not overwater.

I have just moved into Southbroom, KZN. The garden soil is poor and you need a pickaxe to dig to plant anything. Nothing can grow with out new soil. It's on a sloping and stony soil. Can I start now or wait for winter. I did gardening in Bethlehem Freestate and do not know Natal gardens.

Rather start in March as it is very hot now.

I am wanting to grow a vegetable garden in my backyard... I'm wondering if you can offer any assistance with that... I would appreciate any guidance or help, even if it is just help with farming herbs.. Pietermaritzburg, KZN

Vegetables prefer to grow in the sun. Dig over the soil and add well decomposed compost. Make beds that can be reached from both sides. When planting add Bonemeal.

The alkalinity of my soil is 8.5, how do I reduce it 5.5. Western Cape

You can add granular sulphur to the soil to bring the ph down.

Trees for small garden, fast growing, coastal windy area? Eastern Cape

Vepris lanceolata, Nuxia floribunda, Ceratonia siliqua.

For a new Shade garden, waterwise, suggest please background tall shrubs, coming forward. Gauteng

Tall-Viburnum varieties, Escallonia, Nandina domestica, Medium- Phygelius capensis, Fuschsia, Strobilanthes, small-Nandina pygmaea, Liriope varieties, Ophiopogon varieties, Trachelospermum jasminoides.

I need to plant some colourful and evergreen plants in Sasolburg, Freestate which will handle the climate. It's for a small shopping centre which needs to be done up.

Try Lavenders, Rosemary, Agapanthus, Gauras, Abelia ‘Kaleidoscope’,  Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’ Phormiums.

Half my garden gets full sun, whilst the other half is in perpetual shade thanks to the massive tree on my pavement. On the sunny side i've recently planted spekboom (to eventually form a hedge) and wild garlic as a border around paving. I've put in succulents (they are amongst my favourite plants) in three small areas. What do i put in the shaded areas that's similar (hardy, water-wise) to what i already have in my garden? I need something that'll eventually form a hedge. Western Cape

Myrtus, Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’ or Gold Mine’, Nandina domestica.

What's the difference between organic and chemical fertilisers?

Organic fertilisers are derived from living things such as animals and plants, and release their nutrients at a slower rate. Inorganic(chemical) fertilisers are man made and come from minerals. They release their nutrients faster.

There is a beautiful smell in the fynbos of the Eastern Cape and I am dying to know what plant or mixture of plant creates it. It is unique, I think to the Eastern Cape. I smell it every where in the Eastern Cape at my camp site near Van staadens mouth. It smells almost like a sweet basil or lavender type of smell. Please help me identify the smell? Thanks

I know the lovely herb-like smell he you are speaking of, but exactly which plants I don’t know. It could be the Agathosmas, Metalasia, Athanasia and many more.

I have clay to heavy clay soil in my garden. what can I do to better the drainage. I want to plant Citrus in the ground and not containers but a hole in the clay is like a container with no drainage holes. Free State

Add lots of compost. You can also add Gypsum to the soil. Citrus like to grow in well drained soil.

We recently moved to Paarl, where it gets really hot and dry in Summer and snow-on-the-mountains cold and rainy in Winter. 
The pool area is small and a blank canvas at the moment. Please would you recommend a small fast growing evergreen tree that would be suitable to stand about 2m from the pool and 1m from the paving. The ideal would be a 'local' (inheemse), hardy tree which can provide some shade.

Buddleja saligna, Vepris lanceolata, Indigofera frutescens, Heteropyxis natalensis, Dais continifolia.

Would it be possible please to send me a list of shrubs and ground covers that are hardy and ingenious to Gauteng. Our trees have got rather large and the grass is not doing very well. I would like to remove the grass and add stepping stones, some plants and shrubs.

For shrubs try Plectranthus varieties, Mackaya bella, Hypoestes aristata, Dietes grandiflora, for groundcovers try Chlorophytum vittatus, Asparagus ‘Mazeppa’.

I'm looking for plants that flower or look good in winter (July). Preferably indigenous. Sun and shade. Gauteng

For the sun Aloes, some Proteas, Leonotus,Halleria lucida, Euryops pectinatus, Osteospermums , for the shade some Plectranthus will still flower.

Can you suggest some colourful plants/shrubs for shady areas? I try to plant only indigenous but am open to suggestion. Eastern Cape

Hypoestes aristata, Mackaya bella, Plectranthus varieties, Clivias, Crassula multicava, Chlorophytum vittatum, Phygelius varieties.

I want some colour on the east side of my house. What flowers can I plant now that will flourish in morning sun? North West

Begonias, Impatiens

How does one get rid of three leaf clover and the wild onion that has just become a problem. Have tried some weed killers but it does seem to have any effect on there two problems. Gauteng

Use Roundup Gel. It is a weedkiller that can be applied directly to the leaves of the plants.

I have never done gardening before. I just bought a small complex and we don't have a lot of space my best bet will be to use pot plants, but I want to start with just 5. My garden will be exposed to the sun half the day. It’s only a small area in the patio where there is shade throughout the day. What will be ideal to plant in Pinetown at this time of the year? KZN

For colour try Begonias and New Guinea Impatiens. For shrubs and perennials try Fuchsias, Euphorbia ‘Diamond Star’, Plectranthus, Mandevilla, Digiplexis, Cordyline ‘Electric Pink’

Plants suitable for window boxes facing north? (Position very hot) Western Cape  

Succulents, Rosemary, Lavender, Portulaca, Phormiums, Salvias, Marigolds

I wonder if you can give me some advice regarding what to plant now in my garden so as to be flowering mid April. 
My mother in law is getting married at our house and i am wanting to prepare the garden for her special day on the 15th April. I live in Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape.
The bed is going to be planted beneath a hedge of Tecoma which is trimmed back, the bed will probably get 80% sunshine during the day. It is a very narrow straight bed. I tend to stick to indigenous plants in my garden but seeing as i am preparing it for a wedding i thought some colour might be nice. I also try and plant things that will attract birds, butterflies, bees etc.
Can you please suggest a few options for me.

Portulaca, Alyssum, Salvia, Petunias, Marigolds (Bedding Plants) Syncarpha argentea, Hypoestes aristata (Indigenous perennials), Gaura, Salvia leucantha, Angelonia

I'm struggling with downy mildew on my roses. They're in pots so never have water on the leaves & we've not had rain. I water 2/3 times a week in the morning, fertilising with Ludwigs rose fertiliser monthly. I've sprayed with Rose care & Chronos but no joy. Advice would be appreciated. Western Cape

The roses need to be in the sun with good air circulation around them. You are watering correctly. You will need to spray the fungicide weekly when you have mildew. Both Rose Care and Chronos is good. You could also try Dithane or Virikop

What types of plants that I can put in my garden ? I'm a school caretaker so I wanna make the garden look good. So what are good types of plants that can grow nice in KZN?

Try Agapanthus, Dietes, Tulbaghia, Rosemary, Lavender, Phormiums(Flax), Westringia, Succulents

We have the pom pom weed in our grazing. How can we get rid of it? We have a farm in Delmas. Mpumalanga

I'm afraid our experts cannot advise how to get rid of the Pom Pom weed - it is a category 1 invader. We have heard that spraying with herbicides such as Garlon or Ridder is quite effective. Being a farm owner, perhaps you'd like to contact your local GCA Garden Centre for their expert advice? Please click on the "Garden Centres section on our website to view the details of garden centres near you.

What fertiliser is best for succulents? Eastern Cape

A liquid fertiliser is best.

I am situated in Dewetsdorp Southern Free State. I want to grow veggies for 6 people. (Us and two workers with families).

Veggies like to grow in the sun in soil to which well decomposed compost has been added. You can sow carrots, beetroot, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and radishes now.

Please can you advise which plants and/or herbs and veg will grow well in full summer sun? Gauteng

Most herbs and veg grow in sun.

May you kindly advise on which species of roses would be suitable for Nongoma in Northern KZN?

It would be best if they visit a nursery near them that sells roses as they would know which varieties grow best.

What veggies and herbs can i plant through out the whole year? I am going to start a vegetable garden and I am going to build a greenhouse. I have planted certain herbs like parsley, mint and spring onion and veggies like cabbage, carrots and spinach. Gauteng

Go to www.seedsfor and it will give you a chart for the year.

I live in the KZN midlands and we get frost. What shrubs can be planted for winter colour? KZN

You can plant Rhododendrons, Annuals like Pansies, Violas, Calendula, Snapdragons and Stocks.

I have a small rock garden that would like to put some plants into. I am not sure which plants would be most suitable for this climate/region. please help. Free State

Try succulents like the Echeveria species, Vygies and Crassulas

I want to plant flowers that will be in bloom or are colorful all year round year. What suggestions do you have? Gauteng

Try planting shrubs with colourful leaves like Phormiums (New Zealand Flax), Coprosma varieties, Abelia ‘Hopleys’ and ‘Francis Mason’, and Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’

Winter flowering perennials that die down in summer and are self-seeding?

Try Marigolds, Portulaca and Petunia.

I am seriously considering removing my grass for ground cover, what would you recommend? Western Cape

Try Dichondra repens (Wonder Lawn)

What vegetables can I plant in March that are also winter friendly? KZN

Beetroot, carrot, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, onion, and spinach

What fruit trees could I successfully cultivate in Hillcrest/Waterfall in KZN? I am planning a small garden orchard and want to plant as much variety as possible, so preferably not only citrus but also some deciduous varieties it at all possible. KZN

Some deciduous fruit you can try are plums, peaches and nectarines, apricots, figs, pomegranate.

How to plant green pepper? Eastern Cape

Green peppers like to grow in a warm sunny spot in well drained compost enriched soil. Seedlings should be planted in November. Water well but do not over water.

I want to plant spinach and carrots and butternut i want to know that i am planting at the right time? Limpopo

Spinach and carrots can be planted now (late Feb), wait until August for the butternut.

Can you kindly advise what seeds can be sown for flowers from now (late Feb) till April. Western Cape

Sow Namaqualand daisies, sweet peas, larkspurs, Bokbaai Vygies, calendula.

Are dahlias cultigens? Gauteng

Yes the garden dahlias are cultigens.

I have started growing butternuts vertically and have had as many as 8 butternuts on one plant. ALL are stung and then the larvae feast on the butternut. I support the actual fruits with a soft tying tape which does not burden the mother plant with their weight. I have destroyed these plants and infected fruit. 1) Is it too late to replant seeds ? How do I keep these pests under control? Gauteng

It is too late to plant butternut now. Spay the fruit with Garden ripcord or Malasol

We farm in the Jansenville area and I'm interested in growing beans and tomatoes for my home use. Our water is brak and so are the soils. I would appreciate any advice on how to plant these...should I use containers/trellis/garbage cans etc? I've seen a lot of ideas on pinterest. When is the time to plant these vegetables? What other vegetables would suit this Karoo climate? Eastern Cape

As the soil and water is brak it would be better to plant in good well drained compost enriched soil in containers. Plant the beans and tomatoes once the frost has passed. You can sow carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, swiss chard and onions now.

I would like to have a whole new garden planned and planted. Which is the best time of year to do that in order to establish best growth and strong root development? We live in Stellenbosch. Thank you for your professional service. Western Cape

Autumn is a good time to plant a garden as the roots settle and when spring comes the plants will grow strongly.

I planted the rainbow pepper's stems with its seeds and now my sister tells me that she also planted tomatoes seeds at the same spot I planted my stems. Now there is like more than 50 trees and I can't tell the difference which is which. Please advise - they are small.

The peppers will have small green leaves and the tomatoes will have slightly furry toothed leaves.

Please advise - according to my knowledge, Rhagodia hastata is not indigenous - am I wrong? Western Cape

Rhagoda hastata (Berry Saltbush) is not indigenous

Is March a good time to plant potato trees? Gauteng

It is best to plant potato tubers in spring, early September when the days start warming up.

I need a fast-growing tree to provide a screen between our house & the neighbours. We live on the beach on the north coast of KZN & the aspect is East. I would like something evergreen to provide a dense screen. I would rather not have Wild Banana or Silverleaf but would like an indigenous plant. KZN

Buddleja saligna, Dodonaea angustifolia, Freylinia tropica

I need advice for a good ground cover with low maintenance. KZN

Gazania rigens, Lampranthus, Pratia, Dymondia, Mentha requenii

I stay in Waterkloof Park and am looking for plants to use in flower beds in driveway under olive trees, half shade half sun, in fact more shade now, they mustn't grow higher than say 45cm and would luv colour - purple, yellow, white
. The beds are 1mx1m (3) and 4mx1m (1) bed. Pls assist and what compost etc swell. Gauteng

Plectranthus varieties, Dietes grandiflora and bicolor, Nandina ‘Pygmaea’, Abelia ‘Hopleys’ Aquilegia, Impatiens ‘SunPatiens’

4) What flowers should be planted in March? Gauteng

You can start sowing Namaqualand Daisy, Bokbaai Vygie, Sweet Pea and Virginian Stock seeds, soon Dianthus, Snapdragons, Pansies, Violas, Calendula seedlings will be available

I would like to get a list of colorful flowers that is indigenous to KZN as I live in an echo estate and can't plant just anything. KZN

Plumbago auriculata, Tecoma capensis, Dietes grandiflora, Agapanthus, Gazania, Leonotus, Barleria obtuse, Asystasia

I am looking for low lying border plants filled with colour and preferably scented. That will grow year after year. Please tell me what to buy. I don't want to grow from seed. Eastern Cape

Lobularia maitama, Dianthus, Carnations, Thyme, low growing Lavender, scented Geraniums

Please tell me what the difference between a white milkwood and a red milkwood are they seem to have totally different names.

White Milkwood (Sideroxylon inerme) milky latex, leaves elliptic to obovate, thickly leathery, shiny dark green above, paler green below, unpleasantly scented clusters of whitish-green flowers, purple to blackish berries. Red Milkwood (Mimusops obovata) milky latex, leaves obovate, oblong, thinly leathery, shiny dark green above, dull green below, white flower, shiny orange-red fruit

Which colours attracts birds to you garden? Limpopo

Red and orange, Yellow, pink and blue

Does blueberry grow in west jhb-tarlton region- lots of wind and gets cold in winter? Gauteng

It can grow if planted in a sunny protected spot.

My parents sadly has to move to Cape town and leave their beautiful garden and many species birds behind. What can my parents do to attract birds to their new garden once in melkbosstrand? I'm trying to give my parents some peace of mind that they will have a garden filled with little visitors again.

To attract birds in the garden, plant shrubs and trees that bear fruit/berries for fruit eating birds and flower shrubs like Aloes for nectar eating birds.

What type of flowering plant can I have during winter? KZN

You can plant Pansies, Violas, Calendulas, Bokbaai Vygies, Snapdragons, Stocks.

After 18 years, my mom's townhouse garden has lost its luster. The grass, although fed and aerated is dying and with the rain, most of the good soil has washed away it seems.
 She would like to revitalise the grass. It is about 3m by 10m only, and she wants to remove the grass, rest the soil and feed it. And in a week or so replant with new grass.
 It is almost winter, how do we go about it? Centurion

The best time to plant is spring, but you can still do it in autumn. Remove the grass, dig over the soil adding compost, water it. Wait a day or two(a week if you want) then you can replant.

My neighbour and I want to cover our 25m diamond mesh fence at the top of a steep slope which is under an Oak tree, thus semi-shaded area. Would you recommend planting jasmine and what kind? I want a neat hedge that grows to 1.5 meters that will work in my waterwise garden. The more I google hedges the more confused I get since I do not have green fingers and want to avoid costly mistakes in my garden. Western Cape

Star Jasmine(Trachelospermum jasminoides) would work well as it grows in semi-shade and is water wise.

Pls id like to find out what flower plants veggies fruits and trees wil do best in port alfred. Thanks a lot. Eastern Cape

Petunias, Marigolds, Salvias, Pansies, Violas, Stocks, Snapdragons, Carrots, Beetroot, Spinach, Citrus, Harpephyllum, Sideroxylon. Visit your local nursery as they will help you with what is available.

My wedding anniversary is on 7 May. Which flowers bloom in autumn? More specifically, are daffodils available? We will be married for 10 years and daffodils are symbolic of our anniversary. if not, what else is second best? Western Cape

Daffodils flower in spring. What about Chrysanthemums or Roses.

We live in the north of Pretoria and we have long boundary  walls on either side of our house and I would like make a flower/shrub bed. Please advise me which plants I can plant against a north facing wall which gets very hot and all day sun and the other one is south facing with a little sun in the morning. Your early response will be greatly appreciated.

On the sunny side plant Roses, Lavenders, Angelonia, Escallonia, Gaura, Salvias, Duranta, Phormiums, in the shade plant Impatiens, Begonias, Fuchsia, Hydrangea

I live in Geelong Australia, my question is will vinca plants survive the winter in our region of Australia south east? They get early morning sun until 2pm.
 They have been exceptional plants through this Summer and still look good at April.

They can over winter if the temperatures are not freezing over a long period. If it very cold protect the plants with a layer of mulch.

We live in Centurion and would like to redo one of our garden beds. At the back of the bed is a large red hibiscus which my husband wants to leave in the garden. What other plants can we add that will compliment the existing hibiscus? Gauteng

Try Abelia varieties, Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’, Escallonia, Phormiums, Lavender, Rosemary.

Want to plant winter veggies. Sweet potato and butternut and normal potato and Tomatoes. No clue how to start or even prepare the soil. What do I need to do? What do I need to buy? I already have all plants mentioned. KZN

Veggies need to be planted in the sun. Dig over the beds adding well decomposed compost. When planting dig in some Bone Meal.

What to plant now (April) for winter, vegetables and herb wise? Gauteng

You can plant carrots, beet, radishes, spinach, Kale, Broad Beans.

I have a huge piece of land available in the Kromdraai, Muldersdrift area and I would love to turn it into a lavender field as it will be a great use of the land. What I want to know is, will the Margaret Roberts Lavender do well there because I just love them? Hope to hear from you soon, Gauteng

Yes they should.

My husband and I have moved to Cape Town from up country and have no idea yet how different it will be to have a pretty garden with winter coming. We have an extremely small court yard where we have a container garden.
The straight narrow bed faces north. We have put hydrangeas, ferns, impatience, rosemary and fuchsias into pots. Plectranthus  is doing well in the ground between pots.
I would like advice about putting in bulbs and other winter flowering plants so that we have loads of colour so I look forward to reading your newsletters.
 I would like to put in Lily of the Valley or Snow Drops. Which will grow here?

From the plants you have in the bed, it must be getting quite a bit of shade, if so try Primulas and Cineraria, if more sun try Pansies and Violas too. The Snow Drops should grow there.

Which veggies to plant in April/May? Maipelo, North West

Carrots, beet, radish, spinach, broad beans, kale.

I have a question that I would like to know I live in Rustenburg in the north west I want to know what flower seeds I can sow that will bring colour to my garden through autumn and winter months?

Namaqualand Daisies, Virginian stocks, Bokbaai Vygies.

I have an area on the south side of my house that I want a ground cover to go either side of a path. I stay in Alberton, Gauteng, the area in the garden is shaded, dry and the soil does not retain water well. Do you have any ground covers that you can recommend?

Crassula multicava, Chlorophytum comosum ‘Vittatum’, Plectranthus madacariensis ‘Variegata’

Please advise what a good tree would be for an area between two houses - to block out the neighbour's garage - the area is very shady and it is to go in a fairly narrow passage way - thank you. Eastern Cape

Halleria lucida, Vepris lanceolata, Viburnum odoratissimum (trained into a tree)

Our garden is indigenous and we need a climber, to grow up a metal support, the support is N/S and we want the climber for privacy and shade on the patio on the East side of the support. The climber must be able to take the full West sun as well. Any ideas? Gauteng

Senecio tamoides (Canary Creeper), Thunbergia alata (Black-eyed Susan)

How can I improve the quality of sandy soil? Gauteng

Add as much well decomposed compost as possible.

How to prepare my soil for my garden? I have a new house developed. House is built on a rock. I need less water requiring plants. I also like food and fruits garden.
 Free State

If you have soil in the garden add well decomposed compost. If you don’t have soil, think of gardening in containers. Succulents and Aloes are water wise. Vegetables do not need deep soil, but fruit trees do so rather plant them in containers.

My garden has taken a beating with lack of water and I am tempted to feed plants with compost and topsoil to be ready for when the rain starts. Is it a good time now to feed? Western Cape

Yes it is a good time in autumn.

Our family farm is near Victoria West in the Karoo. 
The farm is at around 1,500m altitude, and therefore is prone to frequent and late frost. We can easily still get frost in September or October
. We have kudu frequenting the garden often, currently they are destroying our peach, fig and plumb trees, as well as the vineyards. 
We have irrigation water available, to irrigate any trees
. We have good success with pomegranates and "kwepers". 
There are also some hazel nut trees that seem to grow very well
. Reliable labour to properly spray and tend to the trees is a problem, as we stay in Cape Town and only visit the farm once every two months
. Currently we have around 50 fruit trees, but harvest no fruit from any, except the pomegranate and "kwepers". I am considering to pull all the other trees out, and replant with some trees that will withstand the cold (and kudu's and poor management!) and that will also bear fruit that can be stored or processed. We have thought of:
 Pecan nuts
, Hazelnuts
, Pomegranate
, Kwepers.

Besides the 4 mentioned you could also try Almonds and Walnuts.

Which plants will thrive in clay soil? Free State

Dig as much well decomposed compost into the clay soil to help with drainage. Try the Cyperus family, Acorus ‘Golden Edge’, Miscanthus, Viburnums, Pennisetums, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Can I grow pincushion flowers in central California, specifically Visalia, Ca. 93291

You should be able to. Pincushions like to grow in the sun in acidic well drained soil. They like air circulation around the plants. They need to be watered well but do not overwater.

Please advise on soil preparation when planting petunias in retaining wall pockets and, on the watering thanks. KZN

Use soil that has well decomposed compost added to it. It must drain well. Water well but do not overwater.

I live in the north eastern suburbs of Johannesburg. I really would love to plant a few veggies in the garden, but the soil is that awful red clay type. What should I do to make it "friendlier" for vegetables? Gauteng

Work as much well decomposed compost into the soil as possible.

I have recently bought a house in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. This area has sandy soil. There is basically no garden and the drought has left its mark. The front garden is small and it gets very hot in this area. The wall next to the gate faces north. I want to plant one or two trees here that can give me dappled shade so that I can plant ferns, etc under the trees. Because of the location, I cannot plant a tree with an extensive root system. I thought of something like a leopard tree, but I believe the roots will be a problem. I read that the Silver Birch could be a possibility. If possible, it should be growing fast. At the back, there is an unfinished koi pond that I will get going. There is an attempt to create a waterfall effect. Any idea for shade, or should I consider a pergola? Then to the left, I want to plant a row of evergreen trees that can cover the wall. In the front thereof, shorter shrubs. I would again appreciate trees that grow fast. I like a tropical look. I look forward to your advice.      

The Silver Birch is fast growing, deciduous, will give you dappled shade in summer. What about Vepris lanceolata an indigenous, fast growing tree, gives dappled shade. For the koi pond if you have the space use the Leopard tree. Try buddleja saligna for the row of trees.

I can only plant 6 roses in containers on North facing deck. Which ones would you recommend? I would like them to flower for a long time and have a strong fragrance. I would like hybrid teas with a ground cover Rose at bottom. Eastern Cape

Some fragrant hybrid teas are Double Delight, Garden Queen, Burning Sky, Fragrant Peace, Papa Meilland, Duftwolke. For the ground cover try the Sunsation range.

HI I have just purchased a 21 hectare ex stud farm The paddocks are over run by vygie I think the name is lampranthus. What is the best method to clear 15 hectares? They have a root and long strips of runner leaves. Is it best to remove by hand or spray? Western Cape

If you do not want to kill the rest of plants growing, it would be best to remove the vygie by hand - using a weedkiller would kill other plants too.

I would like to know which vegetables are good to plant in winter? Limpopo

Beetroot, carrots, spinach, beans, peas, radish, cabbage, and lettuce

I live in Durbanville, Cape Town. I have a bed that get full sun in summer but just about no sun in winter.
I wanted to plant things like aloes, strelitzia, proteas and succulents there until I realized the bed does not receive sun in winter.
What do you suggest I plant in this bed? It is in a corner, triangle shape with 2 side of about 2.5 m and front side facing the lawn about 4m. The neighbours have large edge shrubs against the wall blocking out the sun in winter.

Try Pentas lanceolata, Viburnum varieties, Plectranthus chimanimaniensis, Hypoestes aristata, Cordyline ‘Electric Pink’

Good morning. I would like to know what vegetables to grow here in Frankfort, Free State.  It is very cold in the mornings but lovely during the day and at night cold.  I am busy building a garden shed made out of shade cloth.  What can I plant now (May)?

Broad beans, spinach, peas, onions, turnips, radish

What can I plant in full sun for winter colour? I just took my roses out, because we have serious water shortage. Mpumalanga

Osteospermum varieties, Arctotis, Euryops daisy, Aloes, Poppies, Pansies, Viola, Snapdragons, Bokbaai Vygie, Calendula,

Please can you tell me how to improve Wonder lawn. I have just moved to a town house with a tiny garden most of which is covered in wonderlawn in poor condition.
 Can I put top soil on it? Mpumalanga

Yes you get a lawn dressing mix that you can spread thinly over the Wonder Lawn.

All my indoor plants had a type of white mold on them, including my Moth Orchids. I sprayed with Orius. I misread the instructions and made the mixture far, far to strong and have burnt all the leaves. Must I cut the orchid's leaves away or leave them. Will my orchids die? Gauteng

You could lose the orchids, do remove the leaves, hopefully you will get new growth.

I am looking for very perfumed roses - what would you suggest? We live near Port Alfred, EC.

Double Delight, Garden Queen, Duftwolke, South Africa, Mr Lincoln, Gwern Fagan, Burning Sky, Papa Meliland, Fragrant Peace

Im living at the West Coast in Port Owen. We have borehole water which is a bit salty. Can you recommend plants, shrubs to plant please? Im not a big fan of vetplante.

Rhaphiolepis, Hibiscus, Photinia, Buxus ‘Faulkner’, Rosemary, Euryops pectinatus, Agapanthus, Agave.

What other plants grow well with roses in one bed? Mpumalanga

Catmint, Gaura, Lavender, Alstroemeria, Daisies, Tulbaghia, Scabiosa

When do we plant guavadilla seeds in PE? does it need a trellis and how long does it take to bear fruit?

Gauvadilla may not be planted as it is on the Invader list.

Is it to late to plant sweet peas and poppies? (May) Gauteng

You can still plant both now, but you will have a later flowering. If you can get Poppy seedlings, rather than seeds, plant them as it will give you a show earlier.

We live in the Northern suburbs in Johannesburg and hate to confess have neglected our garden’s “health”. We intend on spending time and money on it and I want to get this right. (I am not a gardener!!) We have clay soil, so my questions are as follows
What can we do to improve the drainage / nourishment etc of the soil
What plants work best in this type of soil?

Dig in as much decomposed compost as possible to the soil. Most plants will then grow.

I need to make 100 burlap seed bags for wedding favours. What seeds would you recommend to put in the bag? Gauteng

Herb seed like coriander, fennel, parsley, celery, nasturtium.

What can I plant (veggies) this season? I just wanna start my own vegetable garden. I've never planted before except trees and flowers. I don't have any knowledge on planting veggies please advise. Mpumalanga

Plant the vegetables in the sun in well drained, compost enriched soil. You can plant carrots, beetroot, spinach, beans, cabbage, peas, lettuce, turnips

I would like a small shrub for height in two pots. The pots are under a canopy in the shade. Any suggestions please? North West

Viburnum varieties, Cordyline ‘Electric Pink, Strobilanthes anisophyllus, Camelia, Gardenia, Nandina domestica

My name is  Refilwe Malatji , a new Horticulturist for Pretoria National Botanical Garden. I am currently planning to develop an annual lawn maintenance  plan for our botanical garden, as it has never been maintained well for the past 7 years. May I ask for your expertise in this regards or can I ask  what kind of treatment must I apply each season, or do you perhaps have a developed seasonal lawn treatment plan ?

In spring, scarify the lawn by mowing with the blade set low so that you can remove all the brown grass. Aerate the lawn by using a garden fork to spike it. Apply a lawn dressing to fill out any holes and to even out the lawn. Fertilise with a lawn fertiliser and water well. Fertilise every 6 weeks during the growing season and water regularly.

I read your article on grey water use in the garden and have a specific question; my wife and I make our own bath salt using 2 parts pink salt and 1 part epsom salt. We use a big handful in each bath. I know the epsom salt is good, but does the double dose of pink salt off-set any possible advantage? Should we water our garden with this water and should we add fertiliser to this water before watering? We have a small lawn that is recovering from the drought but looks like it is going to make it (it's about 2/3 grey-brown and 1/3 good long and green). We also have two small beds with herbs (new seedlings) and lavender (older plants also recovering).

In the long run the pink salt would build up in the soil and that is not good for plants. If you want to use the water rather use it on the lawn and not the herbs and lavender.

I cant win the battle of weeds on my lawn - is there any solution? and which flowers can i plant in winter? i stay in zeerust town. North West

Spray with a herbicide to kill the weeds, go to your nursery they will help you choose the correct one for your lawn, Plant pansies, violas, snapdragons, stocks, calendulas, Bokbaai vygies, primulas.

Is it advisable or what is the success rate of taking/making cuttings in winter? 
I'm looking into trying a rough skinned lemon cutting but not too sure if its a good idea in Winter.

Spring is the better time.

I want to plant a windbreak in concrete rectangular planters sized 40cm (high) x 80cm (long). I have 2 of these planters and want to provide shelter from north-easterly winds. Ideally the trees must still have a neat structure since my garden is small (6m x 5m) - which are the best hedges/trees to use? Is bamboo a possibility? Western Cape

I don’t think bamboo would work as it has runners and would be a problem in the planters. You could try Syzygium paniculatum (fast, trims well), Viburnum odoratissimum, Correa alba.

I have covered some of my plants with the frost cover cloth do i have to open them during the day. Kindly advise. Zeerust

Yes they must be removed once the frost has thawed during the day to allow light around the plants.

I want to plant a white climbing rose over an arch - a multiflora, tough one - any suggestions? Eastern Cape

Iceberg climber

We have started a veggie garden at Protea Old Age Home and we want to plant everything but not sure what is seasonal in Gauteng at the moment?

As it so cold it is better to wait for planting in June. You could try garden peas.

I have a fountain in my garden in Sedgefield which get sun from morning till noon. I plan to plant Cupheas, but they look not so good in the nursery. Will they survive the sun in my garden? I am looking for a short growing shrub (30-50cm) that will grow in full sun. Western Cape

Yes they will survive in the sun, plant in well drained compost enriched soil, water well, wait for soil to dry out before watering again.

What type of garden sand to use for a vegetable garden? Gauteng

Well drained compost enriched soil.

I want to plant something in containers on a paved pathway that runs next to my house. It only gets late afternoon sun. I have this "romantic" idea of something with a fragrance so that the scent drifts in through the open windows!!! Eastern Cape

Try Lobularia ‘Snow Princess’ (Allysum) a perennial that has a lovely fragrance and flowers for months on end.

I have a small pavement with grass under three olive trees. I need to replace the grass with a ground cover that will grow in the shade, should be indigenous and water wise. What would you recommend please. Gauteng

Try Asystasia gangetica or Chlorophytum ‘Vittatum’

I am planting a herb garden in pots that fit on a frame in full sun outdoors.
 1. Type of fertiliser, amount, how often? 
2. Watering, how often? 
3. Which veggies and herbs can I plant now?
 4. I had YEAR round spinach in a large pot on my patio - can I plant chard/spinach again now? Western Cape

Use Atlantics Bio Ocean every six weeks. Water when plants are dry. You can plant celery, peas, radish, potatoes, parsnip, broad beans. Wait until it is warmer to plant spinach.

Is it ok to divide established plants in winter in Durban? And planting of new plants? Is it ok cool I do so in winter. I have been dividing plants before in the winter months. No plants have died. I water well after planting then every third day after doing the finger test to see if soil is moist or dry. I am under the impression that in winter it is the best time. The roots become established before spring starts where the plant needs to grow and push new shoots and flowers. KZN

You can divide plants and plant new plants in your area in winter. You are correct that the roots become established before the new growth in spring.

Is the desert rose succulent poisonous? Free State

It is said that it is not toxic(poisonous)

What is the difference between Lampranthus pink and Delosperma cooperi pink? Gauteng

Lampranthus has smooth shiny leaves and larger flowers. Delosperma have small closely branched leaves that have a glistening quality to them and smaller flowers.

We have a flat roof covered in pebbles getting sun all day. We want to fill 10 pots with succulents, but do not want massive pots; although the roof is approx 7 x 7 meters. How do we go about this? Possibly 1 plant variety per pot? We want to save water so watering once a month would be the objective. Should all pots be the same size or have different styles? Gauteng

The pots can be different sizes. The style is a personal preference, one style in different sizes always looks good. You can plant one variety per pot or you can mix and match.

I bought some naartjies at our local Co-op some are still very green how do I assist them with the ripening process? KZN

Once picked, very green naartjies do not ripen much.

I have been wondering which indigenous shrub or small tree I could plant in my yard that is possibly helping to conserve a species of tree. If I can get it as a seeding or pup, and not to slow growing.. I also don't want to spend to much money buying it.
I enjoy contributing to nature and environment. With the size of my back yard its quite a chore to work through. So keeping little maintenance in mind along with drought tolerant depending on the years rainfall..
I mainly work organic compost and bone meal into my soil...
I have some space for 2 or 3. Gauteng

These trees are not threatened yet, but you could plant, Heteropyxis, Buddleja saligna, Dais continifolia, halleria lucida.

We want to move a small fever tree in our garden. When is the best time to do that?

The best time to move it is when it is dormant in winter.

I'm looking for evergreen bulbs for my garden. Please be so kind and forward me a list of names? Much appreciated. Gauteng

Agapanthus varieties, Dietes varieties, Arthropodium, White Arums, Bulbinella, Clivia, Kniphofia

What type of ground cover can I plant in a generally sunny area that will last all year round? Gauteng

Delosperma cooperi, Dymondia margaretae, Aptenia cordifilia, Convulus mautanicus

I am looking for a ground cover that can be occasionally walked on that is drought tolerant and grows in clay rich soil. In sun and partial shade areas? Western Cape

Most groundcovers prefer well drained soil. The only groundcover that our experts can recommend is Viola hederacea

We are sea facing and my front garden is completely in the shade in winter. What can I plant in the shade? Western Cape

Try Dietes grandiflora, Bromeliads, Trachelospermum jasminoides, Crassula ovata, Hypoestes aristata.

I live in Ntuzuma and I love beautiful garden so I want know more about plants I can plant in my area? KZN

You may like to get some advice from some of the nurseries in KZN, which are listed under the garden centres section on our website. Other plants are Gazanias, Osteospermums, Argyranthemums, Lavenders, Agapanthus, Escallonia, Dietes, Leptospermum.

I have just recently started a vegetable garden. I would like to know when is the best time to plant beans. My whole garden is covered with shade net. KZN

From August to January

I reside in Emmarentia, Johannesburg. I have a face brick window box, 3 layers, that's running next to my stairs where one goes to the front door. I currently have ivy growing there, it gives no colour and it keeps growing and clinging to other parts of the wall, where it shouldn't grow, this area gets a lot of sun. I don't know what to grow in its place. Star Jasmine has been suggested - I am afraid that it attracts a lot of bees , because it will be close to my front door . I need something that will also hang over on the other side . I don't know if Wisteria will be the solution. I would appreciate your suggestions.

Star Jasmine is a good suggestion as it is tough and hardy. Wisteria is beautiful when it flowers, but it can become woody and it loses it leaves in winter. What about Pandorea jasminoides.

What other seeds can I plant for colour? I have a north, east and west wall. I want to start a small vegetable garden too. Gauteng   

Wait until the worst cold  is over then you can sow Marigolds, Portulaca, Alyssum, for summer colour. Your vegetable garden should get as much sun as possible.

I would like advice on a suitable ground cover, green, grey white, for the current drought conditions. My preference was diamond frost, but I gather not suitable for the current drought conditions. The garden is in Camps Bay. Western Cape

Cerastium tomentosum, Convulus mautanicus

Can you still eat strawberries if they have bite marks from slugs?

Yes you can, cut the bite marks away.

Can I use Pinebark Mulch on roses and other parts of my garden ie vegetables. What is the difference between Mushroom compost and Pinebark Mulch?

Pinebark Mulch will conserve the moisture in the soil, also keep the soil warm in winter and cool in summer and can be used on all plants. Mushroom compost is decomposed material that can be dug into the soil to improve drainage.

I have a large garden with no trees. I want to know if there are any trees that grow fast and makes a lot of shade that I can plant. And that will cope with the weather of Lydenburg . Preferably no thorns since we have toddlers. Mpumalanga

Searsia lancea, Celtis africana, Ceratonia siliqua

When would be the best time for me to plant evergreen groundcover? Gauteng

Spring is a good time to plant.

What veggies can one grow now (August)? Eastern Cape

Beetroot, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, turnips

We have a small townhouse garden with a lot of dappled shade. We before the leopard tree got to its size now we had no problem with summer blommetjies. We need some ideas of flowering plants for limited sun and dappled shade please. East of Pretoria Lynnwood. Gauteng

Impatiens, Begonias

When is the best time to mow your lawn for the first time after winter? First rains? Gauteng

In late winter, just before spring.

Looking for a flower for a small bed area mostly shady and shallow root system? Gauteng

Try Impatiens and begonias.

Does full sun exclude shade cloth? Eastern Cape

Shade cloth is not full sun. Shade cloth has a percentage of shade.

What is the best way to apply 3:1:5 to potted plants? Gauteng

Lightly dig the fertilizer in around the plant and water well.

I would like to plant a wall of protea bushes along my top fence. The area is in full sun and the ground is on a slight slope. In the winter there is the odd day of frost but nothing to severe. I would like to plant a variety so that there are flowers blooming all year round. Do you have any suggestions of what type of protea's would best suit this? Gauteng

Protea cynaroides-June to October, Mandala-August to October, Pink Ice-January to April, Red Repens-December to Febuary, Susara-January to March. Leucospermum High Gold-September/October,
Tango-September/October, Rigoletto-August/September, Soleil-August/September

I live in the small WestCoast town of Velddrif, although there are a couple  of nurseries around, they do not  offer a lot of  support.
As a fairly new comer to this area I am having a  bit of a problem of what to grow .
The soil is river sand white and coarse and without any life
what can I do to improve the soil, we have the extremes very hot dry summers cold and wet winter. Any help will  be appreciated.

Dig in as much decomposed compost as possible and do this at least twice a year. Feed with small quantities of fertilser more frequently. Water more frequently.

Ground cover for full shade areas? Gauteng

Lamium, Viola hederacea, Asystasia gangetica, Crassula multicava

I'm starting a planter bed over concrete approximately 3mX2m in a fairly sunny area.
I would like to create a floral garden that could be a feature through the sitting room window. Eastern Cape

Try Petunias, Dianthus, Marigolds, Phlox,

What seeds should I plant now for: 

-full sun

- semi shade
? Gauteng

Sun: Marigolds, Portulaca, Salvia, Alyssum, Lobelia, Sunflower, Phlox, Celosia, Zinnia, Dianthus
Semi-shade: Begonia

We are about to develop a new garden at a recently built home on a hillside overlooking Knysna lagoon. Much of the soil has a high clay content and although we will use a lot of top soil and compost when planting out trees and shrubs we were wondering what are the best shrubs and plants for high clay soils?
 I have heard that the waterberry tree is quite good in clay soils, but they tend to have aggressive root systems near house foundations.

Trees: Waterberry, Acacia xanthophloea, Betula pendulum, Liquidamber
Plants: Zantedeschia, Dietes grandiflora, Aristea, Maidenhair fern

Where does lime, lemon, orange and grapefruit grow in south africa? Eastern Cape

Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, Kwazulu Natal

Please could you give me some advice on which plants to plant in my garden. I would like to plant plants which are evergreen and that don’t need much work as I don’t have the time. I would like to fill the empty spaces between the trees and shrubs with ever green plants.
My flowerbed is surrounded by a wall so I do get some shade in the flowerbeds.
I would also like to be advised on which mulch to use as I would like to conserve water. Gauteng

Perennials like Dietes grandiflora, Day Lilies, Ophiopogon varieties, Plectranthus varieties, Hebe diosmifolia, Trachelospermum jasminoides. Most mulches will help conserve moisture, pine bark mulch doesn’t break down that quickly so lasts longer. 

I need a recipe for a soil mix for succulents? KZN

Mix 3 parts potting soil, 2 parts river sand and part perlite

We have bought a holiday home near Tokai in the Cape - near Cape Town. We have an empty pot at the back of the house which receives lots of summer sun and much less in winter. We would like to hide the aircon unit with a suitable shrub that gives colour in the summer and remains green during winter and only needs minimal looking after. Any suggestions please?

Try Viburnum tinus ‘Lucidum’ which flowers late winter/spring, is evergreen, grows in sun or semi-shade and is water wise.

Please could you inform me what perennials I can plant in Johannesburg and also annuals for summer. I have a north facing area with small patch of lawn. Need colour.

Perennials-Agapanthus, Penstemon, Salvia varieties, Scabiosa, Day Lilies, Pelargoniums. Annuals-Petunias, Dianthus, Alyssum, Marigolds, Salvia, Zinnia, Verbena.

Just wanted to find out whether a confetti bush and an Australian tea tree are the same plant?

Confetti bush-Coleonema, Australian tea tree-Leptospermum. No they are not the same.

I need a little advice i was told catnip is very good to keep cats out your garden i live in a T/H and a cat digging up my garden to poo. Please can you tell me if i get catnip will help someone told me cats love rolling in catnip. Otherwise, any other suggestions?

Cats love catnip so it won’t keep them out. Plants they don’t like the smell of is rue, lavender, rosemary and penny royal. You could try cayenne pepper flakes or ammonia.

I have a bed in my garden - (about 1m X 6m) - that has full sun in summer and in winter is in shade. I live on the Hout Bay mountainside, not near the sea, in an area rich with fynbos. What do you suggest I plant there?

Plectranthus chimanimaniensis, Diestes grandiflora, Arthropodium, Coleonema

I am very new to gardening and would like to start an indigenous type garden in an area of about 20m2, however the soil is a clay type soil which worries me. What can I do to prepare the soil before planting? KZN

Add as much well decomposed compost as possible.

If I want to attract a lot of sunbirds and small species what type of plants would be best in Rustenburg. North West

Plant Aloes, Red Hot Pokers, Leonotus, Tecoma, Agapanthus, Euryops pectinatus, Anthericum saundersiae

I am a retired person loving gardening, who is currently facing a terrible garden facing issue. I reside in a townhouse facing North-east with neighbour's fencing approximately 1,8m high that causes a lot of shade with low sunshine all year. What would you recommend planting in such a difficult area?
 Free State

Plant Azaleas/Rhododendrons, Camelias, Hydrangeas

Quick growing creeper to cover an unsightly brick well. North facing. Gauteng

Jasminum polyanthum, Gelsemium Sempervirens, Pandorea jasminoides

I live in Table View and want to start a small flowering garden. The patch of garden gets full sun almost all day. What are the best flowers and shrubs to plant that will grow in the full sun. I've never done any gardening before. Western Cape

Try Lavender, Daisies, Salvia, Dianthus, Agapanthus, Gazania, Osteospermum, Alstroemerias, Marigolds, and Petunias.

What can I plant in a small (10 x 3m) south facing garden. Only some morning sun. I thought an hibiscus on the east facing wall and some iceberg roses on the west facing wall. Gauteng

You can plant Iceberg roses on the west facing wall as long as it gets 6 hours of sun. The Hibiscus needs to get sun to grow.

Indigenous trees that can be grown around a sports field? Eastern Cape

Nuxia floribunda, Euclea natalensis, Vepris lanceolata, Searsia lancea, and Searsia chiridensis

How do you grow aloes from the leaf? Gauteng

It is difficult to get an aloe to grow from a leaf. Use a clean knife to cut the aloe leaf (the cut must be straight at the bottom). Leave the leaf in a warm place for it to form a film over the cut part, it could take up to to two weeks. Fill a pot with a well drained potting mixture. Dip the leaf into a rooting hormone and put one third of the leaf in the soil. Put the pot in a warm and sunny place. Keep the soil moist for the first 4 weeks then wait until the soil is dry before watering again.

We are struggling desperately with the drought here, and trying to maintain the gardens at our guest farm is so hard. What are the hardiest indigenous plants with a bit of colour that we can plant? Extreme heat and extreme cold? Also have areas with full sun and no sun at all? We are at our wits end and desperate for advice? Eastern Cape

Try Euryops pectinatus, Felicia bergeriana, Aloes, Agapanthus, Red Hot Pokers, Gazanias.

Please help i am looking for quite a big shrub to put in the garden in a shade spot what can you recommend?

Rhododendron magenta, Mackaya bella, Viburnum ordoratissimum, Nandina domestica

Good day. Hope this finds you well. I am a newly appointed SRC at the university of the Free State and I contact you seeking assistance. I plan on planting fruit trees here on campus such as those that are casually found in backyards, those of low maintenance. I plan to plant orange, apple, and peach trees.
I would appreciate some guidance on which trees to go for, when is the right time to plant is and other necessary information relevant to my idea such as soil type and fertilization.
Your feedback would be highly appreciated as it would serve as direction on how to execute my idea.

Orange trees do not grow well in  Bloemfontein. Peach, nectarine, plum and apricot grow well. If you plant apple trees you will need 2 varieties for cross pollination. Plant them in soil to which well decomposed compost is added. When planting add bonemeal to the soil as well as Bio Ganic All Purpose fertilizer.

Finally moved and have decided on installing a pergola in my small garden space- 2mx6mx2.5m high, I would like to know what pergola plant would you recommend: 
- fast growing 
- "low maintenance" 
- fragrant....... 
- to grow in pots(what size). 
- how many plants( pergola will have 6/8 posts) 3/4 against the wall and 3/4 facing the front. 
will I need a plant at each post or just the front facing posts? Photo 1 is taken from my door leading to the back garden where I want to install the pergola against the wall but not attached to wall. From the paved slab to the wall is 2m(width). The second pic (Photo 2)
is the length of the pergola(6m) from the wall corner where the bench is. Would you suggest an L pergola or rectangular pergola? Free State

A rectangular pergola would be better. Try Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine) - it grows in sun and shade, is fast growing, has fragrant white flowers from late spring into summer. Plant them in large pots at the front 3 / 4 posts and allow them to climb over the pergola.

I would like to buy some Jasmine plants this season. Can I plant them in pots? And in what like conditions would they thrive? 
I'd also like to know if the varieties available at Starke Ayres could be used for tea? 
I read on the internet that the sambac varieties could be used for teas but I dont see such cultivars in the nursery. Thanks very much. Western Cape

Our experts advise that they have also found that the sambac varieties are used for teas. You could plant Jasminum polyanthum (Chinese Jasmine) and Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine) in pots.

I have a very sunny garden. Which flowers can i plant. Annuals and seasonal Gauteng

Try Marigolds, petunias, salvia, portulaca, bedding dahlias, alyssum, gazanias.

My question: What grows successfully under an Oak tree? I've tried Azalea and Gardenia but they don't flower. The Clivia are doing well and I have lots but I want a selection of plants. Gauteng

Try Dietes grandiflora, Daylilies, Ophiopogon varieties, Ferns, Nandina domestica, Hostas

What can I plant on an east facing wall in Howick? KZN

Rhododendron, Camelia, Mackaya bella, Viburnum varieties, and Fuchsia

Please could you recommend a small tree or large shrub that will grow in the shade. I want it to form a screen from my neighbours but it mustn't have invasive roots or drop leaves as it is close the pool. The area is completely shaded in the winter and has a little sun in the summer. Western Cape

Try Viburnum odoratissimum

We are quoting on a Television Commercial for which we need lots of Jasmine - we are based in Cape Town, and the shoot would take place during the last week of November or first week of December, Which variety of Jasmine would be in bloom then?

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine) would be in flower then.

I have recently relocated to Howick KZN from Gauteng.  I have an East facing wall which was just sword ferns, which I have removed.
 What can I plant here? I don’t want anything that grows too big, and considering water restrictions, I’m at a loss. 
I have  renovated the front garden but don’t know much about KZN Midlands weather or gardening. Please help!!

Rhododendrons, Fuchsia, Aquilegia, Ophiopogon, Liriope, Day Lilies

I have a rooftop garden on the Durban coast that experiences harsh salty winds at times. Which palms can I grow that are hardy enough?

Sabal palmetto, Chamaerops humilis, Trachycarpus fortunei, Butia capitata, Phoenix reclinata, Phoenix canariensis

What other summer flowers (sowing) can u recommend sowing for the PE coastal area, except for Portulaca vignettes and marigolds?

Cosmos, Lobelia, Alyssum, Zinnia, Nasturtium, Petunia

I am retired and have a very small garden. I love salads and love to add leaves of easy growing herbs or leaves from eg rocket or other leafy plants. it gets "dappled "sun. What "herbs" would you suggest that can grow close together? Western Cape

Lettuce, Rocket and Mizuna

I have about a 40-50m property border, which has a retainer wall (we are on the top end... Top part of the Retailer wall is ground level for us)..
It has about a 1.7m high fence and I would like to plant a windbreak hedge for privacy.
I want it to be indigenous, evergreen, water-wise and with a non-invasive root system...
I researched a bit and came up with the cape honeysuckle and cape leadwort as options...
Could you please tell me which one has a "prettier" look (nice bright green leaves for when there are no flowers)?
I also like the idea of attracting birds and butterflies.
I would like to plant them within about a month... Say end October..
If I buy plants that are already quite tall (say 1m), would this be possible to plant in November? I understand they are fast growers as well... Will it be necessary to train them up the fence, so that they grow as close to the fence as possible and also higher than the fence?
 Western Cape

The Cape Honeysuckle would be better, it attracts birds and butterflies, leaves are bright green, grows fast. You can train it up the fence or you can clip it into a bush. If the plants are in containers you can plant them out any time of the year.

Which plants or flowers can I plant in clay soil that can add some colour to my garden? Free State

Add as much compost to the soil to help with drainage. Asters, Coreopsis, Dietes, Perevskia, Day Lilies

I would just like to know, a list of names of plants that grow well near the beach and in a windy area. Also, which palm tree is most suitable for the above mentioned area and weather. Any advice would be much appreciated. KZN

Rhaphiolepis, Westringia, Agapanthus, Coprosma, Phormium. Phoenix reclinata for the palm.

I am making raised beds to plant vegetables. Is potting soil or compost the best soil to use? I want to minimize having to add fertilizers afterwards. Helen

If the potting soil has organic material in it and drains well that is fine, otherwise mix the potting soil and compost. Compost improves the condition of the soil, you could still use organic fertilizers to feed the plants.

Kindly advise on the most fragrant indoor perennial available flower. Also which kind of jasmine is the most fragrant one. Gauteng

Jasminum polyanthum, Scented Geraniums, Gardenia(These need sun or very bright light to grow in) Hoya
All Jasmines have strong fragrance. Jasminum polyanthum is the sweetest.

I’m currently working on a project in Waterval Boven, Mpumalanga. One of the projects I’ve been tasked with is growing Ruby Grapefruit for the owner. (He has 11 very small ones that he grew from seeds taken from trees in his mother’s garden in Rustenburg.)
Please would you give me some guidance on the best way to care for these trees in this area.
Here is an overview of the climate in Waterval Boven:
The climate is warm and temperate in Waterval Boven. When compared with winter, the summers have much more rainfall. The climate here is classified as Cwb by the Köppen-Geiger system. The average temperature in Waterval Boven is 16.6 °C. In a year, the average rainfall is 851 mm.
The driest month is July, with 6 mm of rainfall. In December, the precipitation reaches its peak, with an average of 134 mm.
The warmest month of the year is February, with an average temperature of 20.3 °C. At 10.8 °C on average, June is the coldest month of the year. On occasions, this area gets frost.

The trees must grow in the sun in well drained compost enriched soil. Feed the trees with Bio Ocean.

Garages are at the back and cars drive over grass resulting in that grass is patchy in places. Anything I can do to get it lush again? My husband does not want to pave. Mpumalanga

It will be difficult to get it looking lush if cars are driving over it. You could fertilize with Bio Ganic Lawns and water well especially in summer.

I want block-off my neighbours, I need to plant a screening to say. Will the viburnum odoratissimum be suitable choice that grow fast. What will be the preferred distance apart from each other and from the wall? ]

Yes Viburnum odoratissimum is a good choice. 75cm apart will fill quicker otherwise 1m apart. 75cm from the wall.

Please advise me which Climber Jasmine to use if I want to make a diamond shape against a wall. Gauteng

Try Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine)

My lounge faces east and gets the sun for about 3hours in the morning. What indoor plant can I plant near the window? Gauteng

Try the Bamboo Palm or one of the Ficus varieties.

13) Does one get a yellow geranium? Riethe, Gauteng


Looking for an indoor plant for my office? Western Cape

Try Spathiphyllum, Sansevieria trifasciata, Agloanema, Dieffenbachia

Hello! What ground cover would out suggest for the hard soils in noordhoek , Cape Town in place of grass. Something water wise to cope with the water issues here. Western Cape

Dymondia margaretae-water wise, slower growing, Dichondra repens/ Wonderlawn-fast, once established it is water wise, Lippia repens-water wise

With our drought we are looking for alternatives to a grass lawn. Lippia was suggested, however, websites list lippia as an invasive species or weed. What do you suggest as an alternative to a grass lawn that is drought resistant and free growing? Western Cape

Lippia is not an invasive species in South Africa. You could try Dymaondia margaretae or Dichondra repens

I am considering a camellia japonica standard which I want to plant on the border of my garden (dappled shade). Do you know what the growth rate is? I have looked all over the internet but can't find anything. I am looking for a tree that will act as a screen for privacy and then I want to put star jasmine creepers along the wall underneath. I am considering the camellia japonica or a brush cherry tree. What would u recommend?

The Camellia is slow growing. The Brush Cherry is a fast grower.

What do I use to disinfect my pots with? KZN

Wash the pots with a vinegar and water solution

Which berry plants will do well in the North-Eastern Cape region of Burgersdorp/ South Free state region of Bethulie?

Raspberries, strawberries

Need to know which fast growing hedge to plant in sandy soil near coast? You mentioned the Pondo Water wood? ]Western Cape

You can plant Pondo Water Wood or Tecoma capensis, Brachylaena discolor, Portulucaria afra

My sister is moving to Oudtshoorn in the Karoo. What type of plants do you recommend for that area?

You can grow trees, shrubs, groundcovers, succulents. Visit Swans Nursery and they can recommend plants.

We live right on the corner of a busy intersection. It's a retirement complex in Fairlands, Randburg and we are virtually opposite World Wear (now Fairlands Walk). We have a sparse hedge but the traffic noise is SO unbearable we cannot even hear each other speak! What's the best shrubs, bird baths (not fountains) or any other structures to help block out the traffic noise? Gauteng

Plants to use for a tall hedge are Buddleja saligna, Viburnum odoratissimum, Syzygium paniculatum, Freylinia tropica, for a shorter hedge try Abelia grandiflora.

We intend to plant some trees to give us privacy from being overlooked so they will need to grow to about 6 to 8 metres. The problem is we are on the coast so wind is a major consideration as is the sand that the plot consists of. Which trees would be suitable for these conditions? Western Cape

Sideroxylon inerme, Olea Africana, Brachylaena discolor, Tarchonanthes camphoratus

When adding a water soluble fertilser or pellets does one have to keep moving the mulch away from the area around the stem and then replace the mulch?

It is better if you can remove the mulch, scatter the fertiliser, replace the mulch and then water.

Which citrus is best to plant in a pot? Gauteng

All citrus can be planted in large pots.

Can I use my shower water for my roses? Western Cape

If possible don’t use the shower water on the roses, if you must try and use it once every three waterings.

Looking for cultivars of fruit trees...peach, plum, nectarine, apricot etc.
We've just relocated from KZN & don't know what'll do well here. Gauteng

Peach, plum, nectarine, apricot, fig, pomegranate, lemons, blueberries would work. The varieties would depend on the nursery you visit

We want to look at replacing our grass with some sort of ground cover but it must be something that you are able to walk on. We have young kids who love to play outside. The reason we want to replace the grass is that our lawn is being taken over by clovers and time and again one of my kids walk into small thorns hidden under the clover. We have tried putting lime into the soil to make it more alkaline but seems to be a losing battle. Gauteng

Wonder Lawn (Dichondra repens)

I'm about to begin a veggie patch. We live in windy Pringle Bay on the Western Cape coast. Sandy soil. We've planted vygies around the immediate borders of the property as a sort of firebreak. I love vygies. So hardy, water wise and good ground cover. But they are going brown and dying in patches. The first signs are as if their tips are withering or, bitten off. Then they become shrivelled, brown and dry up. This doesn't happen everywhere in the yard but I can't find a common clue in terms of soil, shade or moisture to find a cause. Are vygies susceptible to disease?

Vygies prefer to grow in sun in well drained soil. Water when the soil is dry and less in autumn and winter. The brown patches could be root rot. Cut the healthy plants back to encourage new growth.

I want to create a hanging garden outside my bedroom window. The window looks into an alleyway connected to our house. The area does not get a lot of sun. What plants would you suggest? I'm not sure where to start. Western Cape

Ferns, Plectranthus varieties, Crassula multicava, Asystasia gangetica, Ajuga

I have a west facing wall which gets no morning sun, but quite a lot of afternoon sun, from about 1pm. What can I plant there? Gauteng

Viburnums, Coprosmas, Duranta, Nandina, Phormiums, Ophiopogon varieties, Liriope varieties, Arthropodium, Escallonia.

My garden is bland and I am not so attentive to it. I want to add colour, life and flowers that don't require much from me. I also want a space where I can relax. Any suggestions? Mpumalanga

Plant perennials like Agapanthus varieties, Day Lilies, Salvia varieties, Pentas, Pelargoniums, Limonium.

Which crops and herbs should I plant during summer? Eastern Cape

Carrots, Beetroot, Beans, Cabbage, sweetcorn, watermelons, squash, lettuce, spinach. Herbs-Basil, coriander, rocket, parsley, fennell

What can I plant in December that will flower in March? Gauteng

Petunias, Salvias, Portulaca, Zinnias, Asters, Marigolds, Celosia.

I have a Croton plant in my lounge in a rather large planter.
 As it looks rather lost maybe I could plant a poinsettia next to it? Gauteng

You can plant a Poinsettia next to it. Check that the soil drains well and do not overwater.

Perennials, annuals and shrubs for my region? Gauteng

Shrubs: Lavender, Rosemary, Escallonia, Viburnum, Callistemon, Westringia, Duranta varieties, Nandina, conifer varieties, Phormium; Perennials: agapanthus, Salvia varieties, Penstemon, Gaillardia, Gaura; Annuals: Marigolds, Portulaca, Salvia, Petunia, Lobelia

I have a number of various different proteas to plant. Should I plant each specific type together or can i mix it up? Gauteng

You can mix it up if you like or if you like uniformity plant the types together.

I want to plant grass seeds but i want to know what the soil product i can buy to plant the seeds in. I need proper soil please. Eastern Cape

If you want to sow the seeds as a lawn dig compost into the soil.

My daughter and her husband have bought a small holding in Oribi gorge area, KZN, and need advice about which indigenous trees (and other plants) to plant where. We`re thinking of bougainvillea’s, frangipanis, coral trees, acacias, etc. but aren’t sure if they are indigenous or appropriate for that climate ?
Their farm is high above a gorge on a hill about 30 km from the beach and quite windy. They will probably have an electric fence on the boundary.
They need to screen the farmhouse from the dusty district road which runs behind and above their house.
They need some shady trees which will still allow the  grass to grow on the front lawn.
They love wildlife especially the birds like Narina trogon and loeries found in the area but would love to keep the samango monkeys at bay! A leopard was seen on their farm this month which is very exciting.
They have a new baby so we need to keep in mind that poisonous plants at toddler level should be avoided. They would also love to have a tree strong enough to hang a swing in one day.

Indigenous trees to gow are Podocarpus falcatus, latifolius & henkelii, Ptaerocylon obilquum, Nuxua floribunda, Celtis Africana, Rapanea melanophloes.

What kind of fast growing self creeper plant would you suggest for Phalaborwa region. Need to cover large perimeter (wired fence - to hide storage area. Will be planted in full/half sun area - partly under a large thorn hill tree. Limpopo

Try Gelsemium sempervirens, Jasminum polyanthum, Trachelospermum jasminoides, Pandorea jasminoides

Where do Gauras originate from? Western Cape

Southern Louisiana and Texas

I want to start a new organic veg garden in flower boxes. What soil do I start with? Gauteng

A well drained potting soil

I built a trellis on my vibacrete and am looking for a climbing plant that will flower year long. Can you help?

Most climbers don’t flower throughout the year. Thunbergia alata (Black-Eyed-Susan) and Pandorea jasminoides have long flowering periods.

Can I use water from washing machine; contains clothes washing powder and softeners on "vet Plante"? Western Cape

Yes you can, your vetplante can survive with less water.

I live on a farm in the Klerksdorp district and would like to start a garden, pref. perennials and veggies. The house had beddings on all sides. I am very new to gardening and would like plants that are colourful and easy to grow. Water is not a problem an I have access to chicken manure. North West

The vegetable garden must get sun all day. Perennials to try are Agapanthus, Lavenders, Salvias, Gazanias, Angelonias, Vincas, Tulbaghia, Alstroemeria

We recently bought a smallholding Pretoria North. The soil is shale ridden. I need to know which trees can be planted for shade. There are a few black wattle trees on the premises. I would ideally need quick growing trees.

Indigenous-Searsia lancea and pendulina, Buddleja saligna, Dais cotonifolia, Celtis Africana, and Exotic-Ceratonia siliqua

I need to plant palm trees but not sure which is suitable for home? Gauteng

You can plant the Foxtail Palm or try Syagrus romanzoffiana (Queen Palm)

I have about 8 hanging baskets that get full afternoon sun. I planted Petunias in them but they all died, what else can I plant in them that will make nice flowers. I also have 3 that get morning sun. Would appreciate your help. Gauteng

Try Portulaca or Calibrachoa for the full sun and Lobelia for the morning sun.

Any info on planting an indigenous garden in the Cape Winelands? Especially waterwise? Western Cape

You could use Agapanthus, Euryops, Gazanias, Felicia, Aloes, Succulents, Eriocephalus, Carissa, Buddleja saligna, Helichrysum, Metalasia, Portulucaria, Tulbaghia, and Strelitzia reginae

I would like to find out about invasive root systems, as i have noticed a developing crack on the bottom of my swimming pool which is 2m deep. I have a crocus palm on a rockery very close to my pool that is about 8m high, but on the internet is says that they do not have an invasive root system. then I have a Albizia julidrissim about 5m from the pool wall, and 2m from the crack & was wondering if this tree could perhaps be the problem. The tree has been there for many years - I have been living in the house for 35 years & the tree was already there. I need to do a process of elimination, as i would be very sad to lose my crocus palm - it is a feature in the garden. Gauteng

The Cocos palm does not have a big root system. It could be the roots of the Albizzia seeing that it is so old.

I am looking for a Fast Growing tree for shade as I don't have much trees in my yard...on the internet it says something about Hybrid Poplar. Can you please recommend any fastest growing tree. Gauteng

Searsia lancea or Searsia pendulina

I have jasmine both in pots and the ground but none of them have more than a few flowers. Why? Gauteng

If it is Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), these will flower less in they are grown in more shade than sun.

I have purchased a number of seeds and am confused re the flowering times:
- Platycodon balloon flower: flowering 12 to 14 weeks
- Verbena: 80 days
- Snapdragon: 95 days 
- Only marigold: is 8 – 12 weeks – which brings me to April. 
I do not understand this, as most of the other seeds are the same – which means I am into winter and these are supposed to be summer flowering? Please explain? Gauteng

The summer flowering seeds are generally available from August so it would depend on the time they are sown to flowering.

Sea facing in Cape St francis; what will grow? Eastern Cape

Milkwood trees, Aloes, Rhaphiolepis, Callistemon, Cordyline, Phormium, Gazania, Yucca, Carissa, Agapanthus, Tulbaghia, Metrosideros ‘Variegata, Strelitzias reginae

When planting groundcovers between pavers, what depth below paver should I plant or must they be planted level with paver? Western Cape

It will depend on the type of groundcover planted, plant below, not level.

How to get grass to grow back under shaded tree without much sunlight? Free State

It is difficult to get grass to grow in shade, you can try and prune the lower branches of the tree to allow more sunlight in or over seed the patch with a shade loving grass like Shade Over.

Hello there, I recently just moved into a new house and I want to create a beautiful garden around in and plant some trees also, I don't know where to start. Gauteng

Our experts have suggested that you visit your local garden centre for some ideas and advice, I do suggest that you must decide where you want trees, then plant these first and then decide when you want beds.

How can I achieve a well drained soil in order to grow a Syzygium Pondoenese successfully? I've lost two plants so far. Western Cape

Add  well decomposed compost to the soil to help with drainage. Do not let the plant dry out.

What can I plant now in Jan in my garden keeping in mind that winter is coming. North West

Marigolds, Portulaca, Zinnias, Petunias, Salvias

When espaliering roses, what is the best material to tie the branch to the trellis?

Cut strips of pantyhose to tie with.