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Flowers Native to South Africa

Bee landing on an iris image by johnaalex from

Situated at the southernmost tip of Africa is South Africa, a country that encompasses arid desert land, grass lands and the Drakensberg mountains. The diverse landscape of South Africa is home to a tremendous number of flower species, many of which can be cultivated in home gardens throughout the world.

Cape Leadwort

Cape leadwort (Plumbago auriculata), also simply called plumbago, is an evergreen shrub that hails from South Africa. The plant boasts small green leaves and dense clusters of white or blue flowers that resemble phlox flowers. Cape leadwort is often used as a ground cover or border plant, and the plant can also be cultivated indoors. The attractive flowers of the plant, which bloom from spring until fall, will often bring out scores of butterflies. Cape leadwort is best suited for USDA zones 8B to 11. Plant cape leadwort in full sunlight, in a light, well-draining soil. Water frequently, and apply a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks or so during the growing season.

Lion's Ear

A member of the mint family, lion's ear (Leonotus leonurus) is a shrublike perennial notable for its long, dark-green leaves and spherical clusters of tubular orange or red orange flowers. Ideal for a butterfly garden, lion's ear is a distinct-looking plant that looks lovely in a naturalized garden setting. Lion's ear grows best in USDA zones 9 to 11, in full sunlight. The plant is tolerant of a range of soils as long as they are well draining. Lion's ear is fairly easy to care for, and drought-tolerant once established. The flowers can be cut and used in fresh flower bouquets.

African Iris

African iris (Dietes iridioides), also called fortnight lily, is a perennial native to Eastern Africa, Kenya and South Africa. The vertical growing plant boasts tall, spiked leaves and flat-looking, three-pronged flowers in shades of white, blue and yellow. The plant is easy to grow in USDA zones 8 to 10, although they may suffer from frost in zone 8. African iris will grow in many different soil types, particularly well-drained ones. Though drought-tolerant, regular watering will produce the healthiest flowers. If possible, plant African iris in filtered sunlight rather than full sun, especially in zone 10.

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