Looking for a tree for a tiny garden? Train one of these shrubs as an alternative
BUDDLEIA AURICULATA (WEEPING SAGE)
Grow these indigenous buddleias for their highly fragrant flowers which are a magnet for butterflies and bees. Sun loving, drought and frost tolerant, they’re strong growers so need to be trimmed after flowering and are easy to convert from shrubs to trees.
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These are well-known flowering shrubs and standards. Choose between the large voluptuous Hawaiian hibiscus and the dainty pendulous types. They thrive in the subtropics but will also grow in a warm sunny position. They flower on new wood so trimming them will promote better blooming.
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Japanese pittosporum has attractive, leathery dark-green leaves and clusters of fragrant greenish-cream flowers in early summer. It’s evergreen, frost tolerant and drought resistant.
SOLANUM RANTONNETII (BLUE POTATO BUSH)
This makes a rewarding little tree with wiry stems and masses of vivid purple flowers throughout summer. In windy areas, stake it until its stem has thickened. Although best grown in sheltered areas it will tolerate mild frost.
This evergreen shrub has dark green leaves which show off its cluster of white flowers to perfection. It’s one of the easiest shrubs to trim into a multi-stemmed tree. Frost hardy, it can tolerate some shade and can reach 3–4m high.
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OCHNA NATALITIA (NATAL PLANE)
An evergreen tree for many seasons it has large bright yellow blooms and new purple-pink foliage in spring, unusual berries in summer and bright green foliage in summer. Half-hardy and reaching 4–6m, it prefers warm summers and plenty of water but will tolerate moderate droughts.
PAVETTA SPECIES (BRIDE’S BUSH)
There are several species of this half-hardy, indigenous shrub which is covered with clusters of sweetly scented flowers usually in December. Birds are attracted to its black fruits. Sun loving and relatively drought tolerant it can reach 3–4m high.