Native plants are very popular with Australian gardeners for many reasons. For those who want beautiful plants, flowers, and shrubs while protecting natural ecosystems, native plants are the way to go. Native plants serve several critical roles.
- Biodiversity: Native plants are the backbone of local biodiversity for both flora and fauna. They have evolved alongside local wildlife and have formed perfect symbiotic relationships.
- Adaptation: Native Australian plants are adapted to the specific conditions within their native habitats. The local climate, soil, sun and water levels are best for native rather than non-native plants.
- Pest/Disease: When native plants dominate an area, they protect the environment from pests and diseases. These hardy plants withstand natural pests and diseases better than introduced species.
- Habitat: Native plants provide crucial habitat and shelter for wildlife. Animals and insects of all types need these plants to survive. In turn, they help the plants grow and thrive as well.
- Pollination: Australia’s native plants provide nectar and pollen as food sources for pollinators specific to these regions.
The presence of native Australian plants supports many niche plant and animal relationships. Protecting the local environment means supporting the inclusion of native plants.
Common characteristics of Australian native plants
Australian native plants are known for their unique and distinctive characteristics. Many of these directly respond to the continent’s diverse climates and environmental conditions. Here are some of the notable traits you are likely to find in many Australian native plants:
- Adaptation: Many Australian native plants have evolved to thrive easily in the rough and rugged conditions of the continent, which can include droughts, wildfires, and high temps.
- Foliage: Some Australian native plants have unique shapes and textures to their leaves, which help them collect and retain moisture and endure harsh environmental conditions.
- Insects: Native Australian plants usually need native insects for pollination, and this tight symbiotic relationship helps keep plants and wildlife species alive across the regions.
- Growth: Many of Australia’s native plant species have adapted to the specific area of the continent they are from, such as coastal heathlands, temperate regions, or alpine areas.
- Indigenous: Many Australian native plants are still used by Indigenous peoples and are widely regarded as sacred or important to their cultures.
How do I plan an Australian native garden?
Knowing your local climate is crucial to finding the best native plants for your garden space. You won’t be able to successfully grow plants without knowing what climate they are best suited for. Different plants have varying climate preferences.
Soil type has a huge impact on plant health and growth. Different soil types have distinct properties which affect how plants grow. Native plants are well suited for many conditions, but matching the right plant to the right soil is also important.
The amount of sun your garden receives also has a crucial role in plant growth and health. Some plants need more light than others; some thrive in full sun, others are healthier in shadier spots, and natives are adapted to both.
The time investment required for a garden can vary widely. Time considerations to account for include- planning and preparing the garden space. Many natives are low maintenance, which makes this native Australian plant all the more attractive.
What do you put in a native garden?
Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos)
The unusual tubular flowers grow on tall, fleshy stalks. Flowers are arranged in fan-like rows and covered in velvety fuzz, like a small animal paw. Colours range in red, orange, yellow, and even purple shades. These plants grow fast and are low maintenance, aside from needing a lot of sun and well-drained soil. The Kangaroo Paw is a perfect native plant and flowering hedge to add to your garden plans.
The Waratah is a beautiful yet hardy flowering bush. Five distinct sub-species thrive in Australian gardens. They are sun-loving plants but can also handle moderate to shady conditions. They do well under trees and in semi-shady areas protected from the wind. The Waratah is a colourful and unique native species of native garden flowering plants that is becoming quite popular today.
These stunning natives are among the most popular native Australian plants around. This shrub-like tree attracts pollinators to the garden and gives them a valuable food source. Callistemon citrinus, commonly called scarlet bottlebrush, is native to Australia. They are hardy, grow well in full sun, and are drought- and wind-resistant. It is a large evergreen tree that is a stunning native specimen.
Grevilleas are subtropical and tropical plants commonly seen in needle-leaf and broader-leaf varieties. The grevillea has to be one of the all-time most popular spreading shrubs in Australian gardens. They have a range of growth sizes, from small shrubs to trees and a diverse range of flower colours and types. This makes them the perfect native plant for Australian garden enthusiasts.
Golden Wattle can come in sizes ranging from a medium to large shrub up to a 6-8 meter tree. The bark starts green and turns grey with age, and it is unique in that it has no true leaves to speak of. It can be to provide shady spots for other plants that need less sun. Wattle has also been used by First Nations people for thousands of years for food, medicine and tools; it is perfect for Australian gardens.
Inspiration board for some colourful native gardens
Native plants play a fundamental role in local Australian environments. Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing and to show you just what can be done with the amazingly beautiful Australian native plants have to offer!
How to care for an Australian native garden
Tips on watering:
- Pay attention to the wet and dry seasons in your local area.
- Accommodate for recent rains with your irrigation.
- Water in the morning before it gets hot as much as possible.
Tips on Pruning:
- Deadheading blooms often encourage new ones
- Regular tip trimming keeps plants full and screen plants thick
- Choose plants of the appropriate size to reduce trimming
Tips on Pest Control:
- Know how to identify and remove common pests
- Watch for disease in your native plants
- Use safe and organic products whenever possible
Key takeaways for the best Australian native garden
Native plants are very popular with Australian gardeners for some reasons. They are easy to care for, are well-suited for the environment and climate, are beautiful and versatile plants, are non-invasive, and help protect the delicate natural balance in your yard and garden. If you are searching for the perfect plant to add to your garden space, a stunning Australian native plant is a great option to consider!
What is the best mulch for native Australian plants?
Mulch comes in several types, and finding the best one will largely depend on what you think looks best in your flower beds and what works best for the design elements of your landscape.
What is the best soil for an Australian native garden?
Most Australian plants that are native are used to the conditions around the containment. Still, most plants, in general, need organic matter and well-draining and moisture-retaining soil.
What are some colourful Australian native plants that are easy to grow?
There are many plants worth checking if you want colourful native options, but the bottlebrush, Wattle, and Kangaroo Paw are three great options to get you started off on the right foot.
Can I grow Australian native plants in pots or containers?
Some smaller sub-species of native plants can be kept smaller and grown in containers, but if the usual size is more tree than shrub-like, it may be difficult to keep them small enough to be in a pot.