Want to plant your own Karoo Garden? Try these tips ...

With plentiful sunshine and vast stretches of desert landscape, South Africa’s Cape Karoo offers a unique, drought-resistant answer to survival of flora across its dusty expanses.


Now you can bring the beauty and colour of the Cape’s hardy endemic species into your own Karoo garden and assist in the survival of these dwindling beauties.


Last year (2018), South Africa won its 36th Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show in London and The South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI) also won gold for the Kirstenbosch-South Africa exhibit.


Today Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town continues to champion the exploration, conservation, sustainable use, appreciation and enjoyment of South Africa’s exceptionally rich biodiversity for all South Africans and attracts over 1 million visitors to its lush landscape per year from its position at the foot of Table Mountain.


Ask for these species when establishing your own Karoo garden as suggested by Glenice Ebedes of Grounded Landscaping and bring the beauty of the Karoo home with you:


  • Aptenia cordifolia: Considered succulent groundcover, this is a favourite for retaining walls and dry patches of soil where other plants may struggle to grow. You can even use it as lawn replacement for difficult to reach areas. Its rich-green colour is back drop to small pinkish-red flowers. It spreads rapidly and can be used to stabilise soil in areas which may be susceptible to run-off or erosion.
  • Dietes spp: Grass-like perennials are very hardy, and once established require little watering or maintenance. A few varieties are available, including Dietes grandiflora with white flowers, and Dietes bicolor with yellow flowers. They can be mass-planted to create beautiful backdrops to a bed or used as filler shrubs for dry areas in the garden.
  • Tulbaghia violacea: Tulbaghia (Wild Garlic) is one of the hardiest species offering a long-flowering period with a stunning display of pinkish-mauve flowers. It can survive extended dry spells as well as heavy rain.
  • Plectranthus neochilus: This aromatic succulent perennial is ideal for a rockery or retaining wall where it holds a neat shape and provides a wonderful colour. It is hardy and water-wise.
  • Carpobrotus spp: This hardy, evergreen succulent is frequently used as a replacement for lawn, used to stabilise sand-dunes, and can be grown in areas where other plants may struggle. Its leaves and fruit are favoured by birds.
  • Aloe spp: Aloes are hardy, beautiful species that can be used as shrubs or as structural plants in water-wise gardens. Numerous species exist in Southern Africa, and a number of hybrids have been cultivated for the market. Popular species include Aloe arborescens (Krantz Aloe), Aloe marlothii (Mountain Aloe), and Aloe Ferox (Bitter Aloe).
  • Strelitzia reginae: One of South Africa’s favourite exports, these are hardy, and once established can withstand long dry spells and a fair amount of neglect. Plants can be grown in both sun and shade and provide a beautiful structural display when in flower. Flowers resemble the head of a crane.


Visit De Bergkant Lodge in the Great Karoo and marvel at a natural landscape rich in bio-diversity and flora found no where else on earth.

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