Native plants outstrip their imported competitors when it comes to survivability in Australian conditions and thanks to careful cultivation, rival their exotic cousins in terms of desirability.
“Clever plant breeding and selection over recent years has seen large numbers of new cultivars of Australian native plants released, which have been developed to better suit our modern backyards, including compact and pest-resistant varieties,” Yates horticulturist Angie Thomas says.
Here are a few of the best releases to go in your gardens or outdoor projects.
Flowering gums are a magnificent plant, however mature sizing can sometimes be an issue to be wary of. Luckily they now come in dwarf form as well, making them beautiful and practical for smaller backyards and projects.
Two particular varieties suited to small gardens are Corymbia ficifolia Mini Orange and Mini Red that get to just 2.5m high and 2m wide, or the hot-pink Summer Glory, Summer Red and the pink Summer Beauty.
Most gardeners would be aware of the floral emblem for NSW, the waratah Telopea speciosissima, however they are usually inconveniently located in high bushes – up 3m to 4m high! A solution has been bred with the 2015-released hybrid waratah Essie’s Gift, a compact, low-growing bush, that only grows to around 1m tall and 1.5m wide. Grow in full sun or part shade, preferably in fertile, well-drained soils.
Usually a Western Australia native, experimentation has allowed Melbourne gardeners to grow one of WA’s showiest native plants - the Qualup bell (Pimelea physodes). Once mainly available as a cut flower in florists, it has now become more available with its masses of drooping bell-shaped flowers because the plant is being grafted on to rootstock that copes with Victoria’s heavier soils.
These aforementioned native plants are relatively easy to keep happy with Yates horticulturist Angie Thomas recommending regular light pruning, which is believed to be the key to keeping most native plants looking fresh and healthy, as it promotes new growth and flowers each season. She also recommends fertilising native plants with specifically formulated blends for Australian plants.
Top | Corymbia ficifolia Mini Orange
2nd | Essie’s Gift
3rd | The Qualup bell