Banks of varying sizes and degrees of steepness are a common part of many suburban gardens.  Some are contained and stabilised with concrete retaining blocks (which sometimes allow for planting in or between each block) while others are planted with lawn grass for stability.  Lawns make for difficult mowing and maintenance in most instances.  A further option is to stabilise banks with suitable ground cover plants that offer both functionality and ornamental value.  Factors to consider for establishing ground covers is:

  • soil quality and depth
  • erosion and water run-off whilst the plants are establishing 
  • sun or shade conditions

KEY: (E) = evergreen (D) = deciduous (I) = indigenous (S) = full sun (Sh) = shade (Sr) = self-rooting (F) = frost hardy

Agapanthus densiflorus Sprengeri (emerald fern) (I) (E) (S) (Sh)
Agapanthus praecox subsp orientalis
(blue nile lily) (I) (E) (S) (Sh)
Aloe arborescens (Krantz aloe) (I) (E) (S) (F)
Aloe vanbalenii (van Balen’s aloe) (I) (E) (S)
Aptenia cordifolia (baby sun rose) (I) (E) (S) (Sr)
Aristida junciformis (nGongoni grass) (I) (D) (S)
Asystasia gangetica (asystasia) (I) (E) (Sh) (Sr)
Barleria obtusa (bush violet) (I) (E) (S)
Barleria repens (small bush violet) (I) (E) (S)
Bougainvillea – in variety (bougainvillea)  (D) (S)
Bulbine frutenscens (burn jelly plant) (I) (E) (S) (Sh) (Sr)
Bulbine natalensis (Natal bulbine) (I) (E) (S) (Sh)
Cotyledon orbiculata (pig’s ear) (I) (E) (S) (F)
Crassula multicava (fairy crassula) (I) (E) (S) (Sh)
Crassula streyii (purple leaved fairy crassula) (I) (E) (S) (Sh)
Cryptbergia rubra (red leaved bromeliad) (E) (S) (Sh)
Carpobrotus acinaciformis (purple sour fig) (I) (E) (S) (Sr)
Carpobrotus edulis (common sour fig) (I) (E) (S) (Sr)
Delosperma cooperi (rock mesemb) (I) (E) (S) (Sr) (F)
Delosperma tradescantioides (I) (E) (S) (Sr)
Dietes bicolor (yellow wild iris) (I) (E) (S) (Sh) (F)
Dietes grandiflora (wild iris) (I) (E) (S) (Sh) (F)
Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican fleabane) (E) (S) (Sh) (Sr) (F)
Euphorbia milii (crown of thorns) (D) (S)
Ficus repens (tickey creeper) (E) (S) (Sh) (Sr)
Gazania rigens (cream star flower) (I) (E) (S) (Sr) (F)
Gazania uniflora (yellow star flower) (I) (E) (S) (Sr) (F)
Juniperus procumbens nana (shore juniper) (E) (S) (Sr) (F)
Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi (lavender scallops) (E) (S) (Sr)
Kleinia fulgens (I) (E) (S)
Liriope muscari Evergreen Giant (large lily turf) (E) (S) (Sh) (F)
Melinis nerviglumis (pink grass) (I) (D) (S)
Melinis repens (Natal red top) (I) (D) (S)
Muehlenbeckia axillaris (wire vine) (E) (S) (Sh) (F)
Othonna capensis (little pickles) (I) (E) (S) (Sr)
Oscularia deltoides (sandstone vygie) (I) (E) (S) (Sr) (F)
Ophiopogon jaburan (lily turf) (E) (S) (Sh) (F)
Ophiopogon japonica (mondo grass) (E) (S) (Sh) (F)
Pelargonium peltatum hybrids (ivy leaf geranium) (I) (E) (S)
Plectranthus ciliatus (white wild sage) (I) (E) (Sh) (Sr)
Plectranthus madagascariensis (variegated plectranthus) (I) (E) (Sh) (Sr)
Plectranthus neochilus (lobster flower) (I) (E) (S) (Sh) (Sr)
Plectranthus verticillatus (money plant) (I) (E) (Sh) (Sr)
Plumbago auriculata (Cape forget-me-not) (I) (E) (S)
Portulacaria afra aurea (golden pork bush) (I) (E) (S) (Sh)
Portulacaria afra nana (creeping pork bush) (I) (E) (S) (Sh) (Sr)
Russellia equisetiformis (firecracker plant) (E) (S) (Sr)
Sansevieria trifasciata (mother-in-law’s tongue) (E) (S) (Sh)
Senecio macroglossus (wax vine) (I) (E) (S) (Sh) (Sr)
Senecio tamoides (canary creeper) (I) (E) (S) (Sh) (Sr)
Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine) (E) (S) (Sh) (Sr) (F)
Trachelospermum chameleon (pink leaf star jasmine) (E) (S) (Sh) (F)

Whilst every care and caution has been taken in compiling these lists in terms of correctness and accuracy, Blackwood’s, nor any of their employees can be held liable or responsible if any of the recommendations are found to be incorrect in any way whatsoever. They are merely a guide to help gardeners and staff in finding solutions to gardening problems. All plants listed may not be available for sale at times. They do however all grow in the greater KwaZulu-Natal area and are to be found growing successfully in local gardens.