Ready to branch out and buy your first tree? 5 ...

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Trees, hedges and borders

You’re a dedicated plant parent. You know your way around indirect sunlight and partial shade, and you have your watering schedule down to a tee. However, the thought of adding a tree to the mix seems a little too much of a commitment. Those roots! The space! The thought is enough to make you turn to a fake fiddle leaf in a pot and call it a day.

Don’t worry, trees can be easier to care for than many leafy or flowering plants. Here are five trees that are perfect for first-timers. What can we say, they’re tree-riffic!

POMPON TREE (DAIS COTINIFOLIA)

The pompon tree is a beautiful indigenous tree. A relatively fast grower – and frost-tolerant – it’s particularly popular in Johannesburg and surrounds, and for good reason. While it can grow to a height of over 8m, it’s usually in the region of 6–8m, making it a perfect choice for a smaller garden too.

Why we love it: The flurry of pink flowers in summer will have you longing to spend time outdoors.

Read more: The best trees for small gardens

TREE WISTERIA (BOLUSANTHUS SPECIOSUS)

Think of the Tree Wisteria as a local alternative to the exotic jacaranda, giving you beautiful mauve flowers in spring, but at a fraction of the size. Generally considered a small- to medium-sized tree, it grows at a medium pace and so needs a little patience, but you’ll definitely be rewarded!

Why we love it: It has a garden-friendly root system and so won’t be overly aggressive towards existing plants.

Read more: Tree-planting tips

CAPE HOLLY (ILEX MITIS)

The Cape holly is a compact tree with dense, dark green foliage and a beautifully pale and sturdy trunk. It’s a medium-paced grower, so you’ll need to give it some time – but it’s a beautiful addition to any garden.

Why we love it: Its edible red berries will help encourage an abundance of birdlife in your garden too.

WHITE PEAR (APODYTES DIMIDIATA)

This is a lovely addition to your garden that will bring with it the subtle fragrance of fresh coconuts. White pear is well suited to small gardens and will generally grow to between 6 and 8m tall. Just give it some time.

Why we love them: Its dark, evergreen leaves make it a great option for adding privacy to a garden – and can even make a dense hedge if properly pruned.

LAVENDER TREE (HETEROPYXIS NATALENSIS)

The bad news first: the lavender tree is a slow grower. But, with its pale bark and beautiful shape, it’s still one of our favourites.

Why we love it: It’s not only a great option for first-time tree owners, it’s perfect for smaller gardens too.