Think maintaining a lush garden is a full-time job? Think again, these waterwise plants are as easy to care for as they are striking…

Tired of watering your plants, or worse, tired of your plants dying when there isn’t enough rain? Try planting some of these indigenous South African plants.


Every gardener worth his or her salt loves these amazing agapanthus – just look at any garden in South Africa! Whether you’re a fan of the purplish-blue blooms or the white variety, these indigenous perennials are a must in any garden. Although they like water once they’re being established, they’re pretty fuss free, and will survive almost any conditions – and their evergreen foliage is an added bonus.

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Read more: 8 indigenous plants that attract birds to your garden

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What can we say about aloes that you don’t already know? South African gardeners know to invest in aloe plants. They’re striking and hate being overwatered, making them ideal for waterwise gardens. If overwatered, they become prone to disease, so plant them in well-draining soil in a sunny spot.

Dymondia margaretae or carpet daisy

This lush ground cover needs some initial watering when being established, but once settled in, the plants will be happy with minimal water. It makes a great alternative to big patches of lawn and the small, yellow flowers will add pops of colour to your garden.

Ledebouria petiolate or leopard lily

The leopard lily is a bulbous plant with gorgeous spotty leaves that works beautifully as a ground cover. Although it likes shade, it’ll do well in sunny spots as well.

Sansevieria trifasciata or mother in law’s tongue

These hardy plants love shady areas and do well in containers and as indoor plants. They also act as air purifiers, so should definitely be considered as part of your decor scheme. They’re almost impossible to kill, so give them a try if you don’t exactly have a green thumb.

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This has to be one of the most loved plants in South Africa, mainly due to their beautiful flowers, resembling the head of a crane. Once established they can be left to their own devices. And as a bonus they make lovely cut flowers, and their leaves look gorgeous in leaf arrangements.

Various succulents

Succulents, in all their shapes, sizes and colours, are your best option when you’re after waterwise, hardy plants. As long as they’re planted in well-draining soil and don’t get watered too often, they’ll be happy to grow on by themselves.

Tulbaghia violacea or wild garlic

Wild Garlic is one of the hardiest plants around and it’s popular due to its long flowering period and pretty pink flowers. What’s more, it does well in periods of drought and heavy rain, plus it propagates easily.

Wild irises

These hardy plants are seen all over South Africa and rightly so! They’re extremely tough and need hardly any care. They come in a variety of colours, including Dietes bicolor with yellow flowers and Dietes grandiflora with white flowers.

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Now read: 5 indigenous trees for a small garden