Native plants in your garden

Native plants create a low maintenance, sustainable and water-wise garden that is worth the time and effort, writes S GOPIKA

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Planning to buy some new plants to freshen up your garden? Give a thought to Australian natives. Distinct and diverse, native plants do not disappoint when it comes to colour, texture, form and foliage, and can be adapted to any style of garden.

Not only will they provide aesthetic appeal, they will also benefit you cost-wise: once established they require minimal care. Creating an Aussie oasis in your yard will provide a low maintenance, sustainable and water-wise garden that is worth the time and effort.

When it comes to choosing native plants, it’s a wise idea to find out which natives thrive well in your particular local area. Below are a few suggestions that will thrive well in suburban gardens in Sydney.

(If you live outside of Sydney, drop us a note to tell us the kind of natives that grow in your area, or in your garden!)

Whether you are keen on grassy plants, low level hedging, screening plants, groundcover, feature trees and climbers, there is a good range of native plants to choose from.

Low level shrubs (grass variety)

Anigozanthos (Kangaroo paw yellow) Source: Flickr/Brewbooks
  • Anigozanthos (Kangaroo paw yellow): Planted in mass, this will provide a colorful border. Combining it with Kangaroo paw red will give your garden a striking look when in bloom.
  • Lomandra Longifolia ’Tanika’ (Lomandra): This clumping grass variety will suppress weed growing in between the plants when planted in mass and looks green all year round.
  • Acacia cognate ‘Limelight’ (River wattle): For a lush lime-green effect, plant it in mass.


Low level shrubs

Callistemon ‘Little John’ (Dwarf bottlebrush) Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Westringia ‘Jervis Gem’ (Coastal rosemary): This is an excellent low level edging plant which is low maintenance.
  • Callistemon ‘Little John’ (Dwarf bottlebrush): With its bright red flowers, this will attract birds and bees to the garden. It is another excellent border plant.
  • Correa reflexa (Native fuchsia): This is a low level shrub that can be planted alongside a grass variety plant for an appealing look.


Viola hederacea (Native violet) Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Viola hederacea (Native violet): For the tight spaces between the fence and the concrete or paving, this groundcover will fill the gap and suppress the weeds, and will look attractive when in bloom.
  • Ajuga australis prostate ‘Aussie Bugle’ (Ajuga): The shady part of the garden bed can be filled with this groundcover.
  • Carpobrotus (Ice plant): This makes excellent groundcover when planted in mass; perfect near your swimming pool.


Medium size shrubs

Prostanthera (Mint bush) Source: Flickr/David Lochlin
  • Prostanthera (Mint bush): This fast-growing plant has attractive purple flowers which stand out in any landscape, as well as aromatic foliage.
  • Hymenosporum Flavum (Native frangipani): This lean vertical growing plant can be used along the fence as a screening plant.
  • Leptospermum ‘Tickled pink’ (Tea tree): This is an attractive feature plant to have in any garden.


Feature trees

Ceratopetallum gummiferum (NSW Christmas bush) Source: Flickr/Tatters
  • Corymbia ‘Summer Red’ (Red gum): This summer flowering gum tree has attractive red flowers. Once established it is a low maintenance tree to have in any yard.
  • Eucalyptus pulverulenta ‘Baby Blue’ (Silver leaved mountain gum): This eucalyptus with bluish silver foliage is a small feature tree which has year-round interest in any landscape.
  • Ceratopetalum gummiferum ‘Alberys Red’ (NSW Christmas bush): This is a compact tree with attractive red blooms which can be used as cut flowers.



Hardenbergia violacea (Happy wanderer) Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Hardenbergia violacea (Happy wanderer): This is a fast-growing climber with attractive purple flowers.
  • Pandorea Jasminoides (Wong Vine): This is an ever-green climber which grows fast and needs sturdy support to spread. It is suitable for fence or arbor.


Where to get native plants in Sydney?

  • Try your local council nursery.
  • Retail nurseries have a selection of native plants in stock.
  • Specialized growers and nurseries for native plants.


Top tip

Group your natives together in one bed and make sure the soil is free draining. Add a native soil mix to your prepared bed and start planting. Mulch with Eucy Mulch.

Native plants can be sourced as tube stock which will cost less and will thrive well once established.

READ ALSO: An Australian floral tribute to Diwali

Gopika Sambantham
Gopika Sambantham
Gopika Sambantham is a landscape designer by profession. A nature lover, she loves the adventurous pastimes and sports.

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