Twenty natives to plant now
Use hardy natives to create a garden that not only survives but thrives.
Go for the local variety
Australian native plants are well adapted to our varied and sometimes challenging climate. They’re reliable, tough and relatively easy going, but sadly, they’re frequently undervalued.
“Native plants are often underestimated for their variety of foliage, flowers, landscaping appeal and drought tolerance,” says garden designer and horticulturist Narelle Happ of A Garden for Life. Here are 20 we think worth considering for your green spaces.
Flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia): grafted eucalypts with gorgeous flowers in red, pink, white and orange.
Fan flower (Scaevola aemula): a groundcover with sweet purple, blue or white fan-shaped flowers in summer.
Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos spp.): an iconic plant with flowers in single and bi-colour forms.
Grevillea (Grevillea spp.): available in trees, groundcovers and shrubs, with blooms in various colours.
Liriope (Liriope cvs): strappy-leaved grasses, perfect for spilling over the edge of garden beds or pots.
Native violet (Viola hederacea): dense groundcover with dainty purple and white blooms.
Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora): a medium-sized shrub or tree with white blooms and scented leaves.
Brown boronia (Boronia megastigma): a small shrub with reddish-brown blooms from spring.
Pigface (Carpobrotus glaucescens): hardy, low-growing and creeping succulent with pink, daisy-like flowers.
Cushion bush (Leucophyta brownii): the silvery-grey stems and leaves of this small shrub grow into a neat, compact mound.
Wattle (Acacia spp.): an ideal feature tree, with golden-yellow blooms hanging from pendulous branches in late winter.
Tea tree (Leptospermum spp.): medium shrubs with an upright or weeping habit, and pink or white blooms in spring.
Coastal rosemary (Westringia fruticosa): bushy shrub with silver-green foliage and small lilac or white flowers.
Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus): large red flower heads appear in autumn and spring.
Giant candles (Banksia): a very hardy medium shrub with large bronze-orange spikes.
Wax flower (Philotheca myoporoides): provides white star-shaped flowers from late winter.
Lomandra (Lomandra spp.): one of the toughest native grasses, its strappy foliage forms a tuft-like habit.
Native daisy (Brachyscome multifida): soft mauve, lilac-blue or white flowers with yellow centres appear almost all year round.
False sarsaparilla (Hardenbergia violacea): a sprawling native covered with a sea of purple blooms in spring, this can creep up structures up to 2m tall.
Weeping lilly pilly (Waterhousea floribunda): a medium shrub or large tree whose wavy-edged leaves start off pink and turn shades of green. Fluffy white flowers appear in summer.
Extend your plant supply with propagation
Propagating plants by taking cuttings is a thrifty way to fill every nook and cranny of your garden with plants. Some cuttings will strike (root) easily, while others won’t at all! If you’re a keen propagator, Narelle Happ suggests trying grevillea, leptospermum, myoporum, philotheca and melaleucas. “Use a good-quality propagating mix and a cutting gel – this aids with root development,” she explains.
Take cuttings between 15 and 20cm long and remove soft new growth from the tip.
Cut below the node (where the leaf attaches to the stem) and remove bottom leaves, ensuring there are at least 2-3 leaves on the cutting.
Gently scrape 1-2cm of bark from the base of the cutting to expose the green cambium.
Dip the end into a rooting gel or powder and plant up in a pot or trays filled with a propagating mix.
Position in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight. Cover with a plastic lid or bag to maintain humidity and mist regularly to keep the soil moist. It can take between 6 and 8 weeks to root. Pot up once the roots are 5cm long.
Start planting today
First time planting natives? Here’s everything you need to know about planting, growing and pruning grevilleas.
Photo credit: Alamy Stock Photo, Getty Images and Gap Photos/Brent Wilson.
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