Plants suitable for Bank Stabilization

Note: Heights are approximate and can vary widely according to climate and care.
Whether you have a moderate slope or a steep bank, some form of stabilisation of the soil must take place to prevent erosion by wind or water and increase the absorption of water. The best strategy is to use a variety of plants that root at different depths, to encourage a dense web of roots to hold your soil. Mixed vegetation will absorb rainfall energy and prevent soil compaction, while the roots physically bind soil particles which improves soil structure. Foliage from above slows the speed of run-off thereby reducing erosion and increasing absorption.
Other benefits of using a variety of plant forms:
- introduction, restoration and conservation of soil nutrients
- prevention of the establishment of invasive weeds
- creation of a habitat for wildlife
- improved aesthetics
Erosion-prone terrain is often harsh and plants must be tolerant of extremes such as flooding and drought. For this reason it makes sense to plant indigenous plants from the immediate area in which you live.
Grasses often rank high for erosion control because of their spreading mat-like roots that hold soil very well. (The list below does not contain many species and expert opinion should be sought for guidance on the best indigenous grasses to use for your area and needs.)
Shrubs and perennial ground covers protect soil from wind, sun and downpours.
Trees can be used for larger banks and windbreaks.They will provide shade for other plants and the leaves they shed will add mulch and nutrients to the soil.
Key for height:  
VS: Very small Key for position:
S: Small FS: Full sun
M: Medium SS: Some Sun, Some Shade
L: Large MS: Mostly Shade
VL Very Large  
Botanical name Common name Height Position
Brachylaena discolor Coastal silver-oak S FS/SS/MS
Brachylaena elliptica Bitter-leaf silver-oak S FS/SS/MS
Buddleja saligna False olive M FS
Ficus burtt-davyi Scrambling Fig S FS/SS
Maytenus procumbens Dune koko-tree S FS/SS/MS
Olea europaea subsp. Africana Wild olive S FS
Portulacaria afra Spekboom VS FS/SS
Botanical name Common name Height Position
Athanasia parviflora Coulter bush M FS
Barleria obtusa Forest violet S FS/SS
Barleria repens Small bush violet S FS/SS
Buddleja salviifolia Sagewood L FS
Chrysanthemoides incana Bietou M FS/SS
Chrysanthemoides monilifera Bush tick berry M FS/SS
Cineraria geifolia Cineraria S FS/SS
Cineraria saxifraga Wild cineraria S FS/SS
Cliffortia ferruginea Glastee M FS/SS
Cliffortia odorata Wildewingerd M FS/SS
Didelta carnosa var. tomentosa xxx S FS
Eriocephalus africanus Wild sage S FS
Euryops pectinatus Golden Euryops S/M FS
Euryops virgineus Honey euryops M FS
Felicia species Felicia, blue daisy S FS
Hermannia species Doll's roses VS/S FS
Hypoestes aristata Ribbon bush S FS/SS
Jasminum multipartitum hybrid Wild Jasmin – Bush form S/M FS/SS
Leonotis leonurus Lion's ear M FS
Leonotis ocymifolia Minaret flower M FS
Metalasia muricata White bristle bush L FS
Morella cordifolia Dune waxberry M FS/SS
Oftia africana Lazy bush S FS
Passerina corymbosa Gonna bush L/VL FS/SS
Passerina ericoides Christmas berry M FS/SS
Passerina filiformis Bakkerbos M/L FS/SS
Pelargonium varieties Pelargonium S/M/L FS/SS
Plectranthus varieties Plectranthus VS/S/M SS/MS
Plumbago auriculata Plumbago M/L FS/SS
Podalyria calyptrata Sweetpea bush S/M FS
Polygala fruticosa Butterfly bush S/M FS
Polygala myrtifolia September bush S/M FS
Salvia africana-lutea Beach sage M FS
Salvia chamelaeagnea Rough blue sage M FS
Searsia crenata Dune Crowberry L FS/SS
Selago corymbosa Bitterblombos S/M FS/SS
Selago thunbergii Selago S/M FS/SS
Sutherlandia frutescens Cancer bush M FS
Tarchonanthus camphoratus Camphor bush L FS/SS
Tetragonia fruticosa Kinkelbossie S FS/SS
Botanical name Common name Height Position
Aizoon glinoides   VS FS/SS
Arctotis stoechadifolia Arctotis M FS
Arctotis varieties      
Chlorophytum comosum varieties Hen and chickens S SS
Dymondia margaretae   VZ FS
Gazania varieties Gazania M FS
Geranium incanum Carpet geranium M FS/SS
Helichrysum crispum Kooigoed M FS
Helichrysum petiolare Kooigoed M FS
Hypoestes aistata Ribbon bush L SS
Jasminum varieties Wild jasmine M FS/SS
Justicia capensis Businessmans bush S SS
Monsonia emarginata Dysentry herb S FS/SS
Osteospermum varieties Osterspermum M FS/SS
Pelargonium varieties Pelargonium S/M/L FS/SS
Plectranthus varieties Plectranthus S/M/L SS/MS
Portulacaria afra 'Prostrate' Dwarf spekboom S FS/SS
Scabiosa varieties Scabious M/L FS/SS
Botanical name Common name Height Position
Agapanthus species Agapanthus S-L FS/SS
Albuca species Albuca S/M/L FS
Chlorophytum comosum Hen and chickens S/M SS/MS
Crocosmia aurea Falling stars M SS
Dietes bicolor Yellow wild iris L FS/SS
Dietes grandiflora Large wild Iris L FS/SS
Dietes iridioides Cape iris L FS/SS
Hypoxis species Yellow stars, African potato S-M FS/SS
Strelitzia reginae Strelitzia L/VL FS/SS
Tulbaghia fragrans Scented wild garlic M FS
Tulbaghia violacea Wild garlic S FS
Tulbaghia violacea 'Silver Lace' Wild garlic S FS
Wachendorfia thyrsiflora Bloodroot VL FS
Watsonia varieties Watsonia M FS
Botanical name Common name Height Position
Aizoaceae: vygie family
Aptenia cordifolia Baby sun rose, Brakvygie S FS/SS
Acrodon species Vygie S-M FS
Antimina species Vygie S-M FS
Bergaranthus species Bergaranthus VS FS
Carpobrotus species Sour fig S-M FS
Conophytum species Vygie S-M FS
Delosperma species Ice plant S-M FS
Disphyma species Vygie S-M FS
Dorotheanthus species Vygie S-M FS
Drosanthemum species Ice plant S-M FS
Gibbaeum species Vygie S-M FS
Glottiphylum species Tongue plant S-M FS
Lampranthus species Vygie S-M FS
Malephora species Vygie S-M FS
Mesembryanthemum species Vygie S-M FS
Oscularia species Vygie S-M FS
Ruschia bina Vygie sp. S FS
Ruschia maxima Giant mountain vygie M/L FS
Ruschia species Vygie S-M FS
Tetragonia decumbens Klappiesbrak S FS
Tetragonia fruticosa Kinkelbossie S FS
Asphodelaceae: aloe family
Aloe africana Uitenhage Aloe VL FS
Aloe ferox Bitter aloe VL FS
Aloe maculata Soap aloe M FS
Aloe striata Coral aloe M FS
Aloe tenuior Fence aloe M FS
And many more
Bulbine species
Bulbine abbysinica Cat's tail M FS
Bulbine altissima Bushy bulbine M FS
Bulbine frutescens Rooiwortel M FS
Bulbine narcissifolia Snake flower M FS
Bulbine natalensis Geelkatstert M FS/SS/MS
Cotyledon species
Cotyledon campanulata Vingerplakkie S-M FS
Cotyledon orbiculata varieties Pig's ear S-M FS
Cotyledon velutina   S-M FS
Crassula species
Crassula lanceolata   VS FS/SS
Crassula multicava Fairy crassula S FS/SS
Crassula pellucida   S-M FS/SS
Crassula pellucida ssp. Brachypetala   S-M FS/SS
Crassula pellucida ssp. Marginalis   S-M FS/SS
Crassula spatulata   S SS/MS
Crassula streyi Pondoland crassula S SS/MS
Senecio species
Senecio radicans Baboon toes VS FS/SS
Senecio serpens Small blue chalk sticks VS FS
Senecio talinoides Blue chalk sticks M-L FS
Senecio crassulaeformis   VS FS
Miscellaneous succulents
Drimiopsis maculata Little white soldiers VS-S SS/MS
Othonna capensis   S FS/SS
Peperomia blanda Large wild peperomia S-M SS
Portulacaria afra 'Prostrate' X 'Green Carpet' S FS/SS
Botanical name Common name Height Position
Asystasia gangetica creeping foxglove S/M SS/MS
Carissa macrocarpa Hybrid 'Green Carpet' S FS/SS
Chaetacanthus setiger   S FS/SS
Dipogon lignosus Cape sweet pea VS/S FS/SS
Falkia repens Oortjies VS FS/SS
Jasmine multipartitum Wild jasmine M FS/SS
Pelargonium peltatum Ivy-leaved pelargonium S/M FS/SS
Senecio macroglossus Cape ivy M SS/MS
Senecio quinquelobus   M/L SS/MS
Senecio talinoides   L/VL FS/SS
Senecio tamoides Canary creeper L/VL SS/MS
Tecoma capensis Cape honeysuckle L FS/SS
Thunbergia alata Black-eyed Susan M FS/SS
Botanical name Common name Height Position
Asparagus africanus African asparagus M – L SS
Asparagus asparagoides Smilax M – L SS
Asparagus densiflorus 'Mazeppa' Asparagus fern M – L SS
Asparagus densiflorus 'Meyersii' Foxtail fern M – L SS
Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengerii' Basket asparagus M – L SS
Asparagus macowanii Asparagus fern S/M FS/SS
Asparagus setaceus Lace or feathery fern M – L SS
Asparagus virgatus Asparagus fern S/M FS/SS
Rumohra adiantiformis Seven-weeks-fern M – L SS
Selaginella kraussiana African clubmoss S SS/MS
Botanical name Common name Height Position
Cyperus albostriatus Forest star sedge M FS/SS
Cyperus albostriatus 'Variegated' Forest star sedge M FS/SS
Cyperus prolifer Miniature papyrus L – VL FS
Elegia cuspidata Blombesie M – VL FS
Elegia stipularis Cushion restio M – VL FS
Ficinia dunensis   VS – S FS
Ischyrolepis sieberi   L – VL FS
Restio festuciformis Groengasriet M FS
Thamnochortus cinereus Silver reed L – VL FS
Thamnochortus lucens   S – L FS
Thamnochortus nutans Jakkelsstertriet L FS
Thamnochortus pellucidus Dwarf restio L FS


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