Autumn leaves, goldfish and sunsets are all associated with the Netherland’s national colour - orange. And there are many things associated with this colour in a garden too - especially when it comes to veggie gardens. Pumpkins, naartjies, butternuts, carrots, peaches, nasturtiums, mangos and apricots are just a few of the vegetables in this happy hue that is believed to stimulate the appetite and enhance energy levels.
Orange is a confident, flamboyant colour that injects some fun into landscaping. And here are 15 orange flowering plants for a South African landscape.
African daisy (Dimorphotheca sinuata)
The African daisy is a flashy annual that brings colour and warmth to any garden. Namaqualand is famous for these bright flowers in the spring.
Blood lily (Scadoxus multiflorus)
When it comes to the blood lily, it is a question of quality over quantity – this plant’s inflorescence is 25cm wide and 110cm high! That’s a lot of orange at once, even though it only produces one flower a year in late summer. The blood lily requires semi-shade and makes for an interesting cut flower. The plant’s evergreen leaves are carpet-flat so be sure to plant it where it can be seen.
Bush lily (Clivia nobilis)
For those shady areas, clivias are a much loved South African garden plant.
Orange Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis)
The Cape honeysuckle makes for a great hedge or screen. This rambling, fast-growing shrub does need some shearing to keep it in check, but that’s why landscapers love it. Its orange flowers also attract birds and butterflies.
Crane flower (Strelitzia reginae)
The inflorescence of the strelitzia’s orange and blue flowers resembles a Japanese origami crane. The strelitzia is structured and dramatic, and it is a popular indigenous species. It does, however, grow rather large so it’s best to plant it near the back of the bed.
Falling stars (Crocosmia aurea)
Life Landscapes loves falling stars for their easy-going nature and six-month flowering period. Hardy, easy to split, and partial to dappled shade, falling stars make for great ground cover and are a very giving plant, attracting lots of animal life. Aurea is latin for orange and describes its orange flowers.
Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
This farm blommetjie has come a long way from its roots in Barberton. Gerbera daisies are one of the most cheerful plants in the world, so understandably also one of the most popular. There are attractive salmon- and peach-coloured varieties that deviate from the original red. However, those looking to naturescape should avoid using hybridised varieties, as these have little ecological purpose in a garden.
Orange tritonia (Tritonia nelsonii)
No orange garden or veld garden is complete without the Highveld’s delicate orange tritonia. This grassy plant has small pumpkin-coloured blossoms, and its slender disposition is often overshadowed by the grasses, so do plant it near the front of the bed. In our water-scarce country, it is a water-wise choice.
Paintbrush lily (Scadoxus puniceus)
What would an orange planting palette be without the burning orange flowers of the paintbrush lily? This is one of the most striking tropical plants as it produces a large paintbrush-like blossom in spring! It’s perfect for any tropical Durban garden.
Pillans’ watsonia (Watsonia pillansii)
This is a very popular garden plant countrywide, but particularly in the Western Cape. It is hardy with bright naartjie-orange flowers and a neat look. The Watsonia pillansii grows well in grasslands and can be planted in rocky outcrops and up banks.
Orange pincushion (Leucospermum cordifolium)
The pincushion forms a lovely symmetrical bush that is decorated with pincushion-like flowers, so it doesn’t take much imagination to work out how it got its name. The pincushion is an iconic fynbos flower and a must-have in a Cape Town garden. This shrub has a sunny disposition and, like the majority of fynbos species, it likes soil with a low pH, so be careful not to overfertilise.
Red-hot poker (Kniphofia moench)
The kniphofia is a winter flowering plant that will brighten up your garden in the cooler months. It is a useful naturescaping plant choice, as it provides pollen and nectar for birds and bees when very little else is flowering. Kniphofias come in a variety of hot colours from lime green and yellow, to red and, of course, orange. Did you know that 67% of the kniphofia species in Africa occur in South Africa’s Eastern Cape region and there are species of kniphofia that occur in all nine of our country’s provinces? This plant also repels snakes, which is good news for any ophidiophobes.
Orange terracotta gazania (Gazania krebsiana)
This striking perennial also hails from Namaqualand, and is a popular garden specimen that has a long lasting flowering period from August to January.
Wild dagga (Leonotis leonurus)
Wild dagga grows countrywide and is a pioneer species in certain areas. This ambrosial plant is a must-have in any orange-themed garden and is particularly ideal if you wish to attract sunbirds. Of the three colour variations - bright orange, apricot and white - the orange plants are the most common as sunbirds are its pollinator and these birds prefer hotter colours.
And it’s not a hot-coloured garden without aloes because most aloes produce an orange flower in the winter. Here are four species that will be sure to warm up your garden:
- Mountain aloe (Aloe marlothii)
- Bitter aloe (Aloe ferox)
- Cooper’s aloe (Aloe cooperi)
- Krantz aloe (Aloe arborescens)