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7 flowers to grow during winter in South African gardens

Embracing a winter wonderland: Flowers to plant in your South African winter garden.

When we think of planting flowers, we often envision the vibrant colours of spring or the bountiful blooms of summer. However, in (largely) sunny South Africa, where the seasons dance to a different rhythm, winter offers a unique opportunity to create a breath-taking floral tapestry right outside your front door.

Contrary to popular belief, winter isn’t just a time of hibernation for nature; it can also be a season filled with magic and wonder. From the Western Cape to the Limpopo Province, South Africa’s diverse climate and rich biodiversity present a multitude of possibilities for cultivating stunning winter gardens.

While the idea of gardening in winter may seem unconventional, it holds countless advantages for both experienced gardeners and those new to the world of plants. South Africa’s temperate winters provide a favourable environment for a wide array of flowers, allowing them to flourish in ways that would not be possible during the scorching heat of summer. By embracing the colder months and exploring the possibilities of winter gardening, we unlock a world of beauty, serenity, and a deeper connection with nature.

So, grab your gardening gloves, view the winter catalogue here to pick out the best tools for the job, and join us as we share seven of our favourite blooms to paint your garden with.

1. Iceland Poppies

These hardy flowers thrive in sunnier spots and tolerate frost with ease. Standing at approximately 30 to 45cm in height, Iceland Poppies bring joy to any garden in vivid red hues. For optimal growth, sow the seeds directly into well-prepared garden beds, or transplant strong seedlings when they’re ready. Let these exquisite flowers brighten even the coldest of winter days.

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2. Bellis or English Daisies

These beauties flourish nationwide with proper watering in dry regions. Hardy to frost, these charming flowers reach a height of 10 to 15cm, thriving in semi-shade to full sun. Adored for their double daisy blooms, they come in shades of pink, rose, scarlet, and white. Perfect for pots, borders, and bedding, they adapt effortlessly. Plant seeds directly in well-prepared garden beds or seedling trays during autumn for optimal growth. Enjoy the beauty of English Daisies as they bring life and colour to your garden.

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3. Stocks

If you’re a fan of the gardens in “Bridgerton,” you’re going to love these opulent Stocks blossoms. Stocks are beloved and timeless garden flowers. Thriving in full sun, they brave frost with resilience. These cut flowers emit a sweet fragrance at night, showcasing hues of pink, mauve, crimson, purple, cream, yellow, peach, and white. Choose from dwarf and tall varieties, standing at heights of approximately 30 to 70cm. Stocks enhance flower borders and flourish effortlessly in containers. You’re about to be the envy of your whole block!

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4. Snapdragons

Snapdragons thrive in full sun and withstand frost with a tenacity as fierce as their namesake. Available in both dwarf and tall variaties, these charming flowers exhibit a wide spectrum of colours, including red, bronze, yellow, orange, pink, purple, cream, and white. Short varieties make excellent edging plants and thrive in containers, while taller varieties blend harmoniously with other plants in flower borders. Whether sown in trays or directly in garden beds, Snapdragons can be planted almost year-round in South Africa. Embrace the beauty and versatility of Snapdragons as they add vibrancy to your garden.

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5. Sweetpeas

Sweetpeas, scented and delightful, bring dainty joy to winter days. They withstand moderate frost and flourish throughout South Africa, excluding extremely cold regions. In those colder areas, spring an summer usually remain cool. Climber reach approximately 2m in height, while bush varieties range from 30 to 90cm. Explore the dwarf types for pots, hanging baskets, window boxes, or as borders. Grow climbers against protected, sunny walls or fences. Plant seeds directly in garden beds or seedling trays for easy cultivation. You got this, sweetpea!

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6. Poor Man’s Orchids

With such a memorable name, these flowers come in a wide range of unforgettable colours too. Poor Man’s Orchids thrive across South Africa, except in regions prone to severe frost. They prefer cool, sunny spots. In cooler areas, plant them in sun to light shade, while in hotter regions, semi-shade works best. Hybrids, ranging from approximately 20 to 40cm tall, produce abundant cut flowers in an array of colours, including pink, blue, violet, lavender, magenta, white, yellow, orange, gold, red, and salmon. They excel as border plants and bloom best when their roots are confined, making them ideal for containers. Don’t let the name fool you, a bed of these looks luxurious, no matter where it’s planted.

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7. Ornamental Kale

And here you thought kale was just another super food trend we (thankfully) left in 2014… now say hello to Ornamental Kale! It loves full sun and is completely hardy to cold and frost, with the colourful pigmentations only appearing after prolonged cold weather and frosts. This is a fun plant if you want something a bit different to add impact to your garden. It grows +-30cm tall and the foliage can be plain or ruffled, and is available in white, pink, purple, or red. Ornamental kale looks spectacular if planted in large groups and does well in containers. Seeds can be sown into trays or directly into garden beds. This one is also edible but has a bitter taste, as you might expect. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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Which one of these winer wonderland plants are you going to plant in your garden? Share your progress with the community on our Facebook and Instagram pages and let’s grow together! We can’t wait to see your cold-weather crop, grown with the help of Garden Master products from a Game, Makro or Builders’ Warehouse near you!