Australian Native plants are perfectly suited the harsh climate, but have an image problem based on myths and misconceptions.
Natives are hardy, low in maintenance and have great flowers. Even small pockets of Australian plants in a garden will encourage native birds and wildlife.
Myth 1 – Natives Aren’t Pretty
Natives can be perceived as dull and colourless. But they come in all shapes, sizes and colours, with amazing variety. It’s even possible to create a cottage garden feel with natives.
Myth 2 – Natives Grow Too Tall and Leggy
Eucaplytus Summer Red, covered in beautiful red cerise balloons of flowers, stands a manageable 5 metres high.
Wattles – silvery foliage, scented yellow blooms. There are over 1,000 species of wattle including Australia’s national flower, Golden Wattle
Several other gums are not too big for the average garden, and have colourful foliage that lasts all year round.
Myth 3 – Natives Don’t Need Pruning
Start pruning natives early. Prune just above a leave node, where the leaf comes out from the stem. Pruning helps natives look lush and contained, and stops them becoming “leggy”. Don’t be afraid to cut them back by about one third.
Grevillea Moonlight, with yellow flowers throughout the winter months, is a beautiful flowering native but still needs pruning every so often.
Myth 4 – Natives Don’t Like Fertilizer
Contrary to popular belief, natives do need fertilizer – fertilize about twice a year, using a native specific fertilizer, low in phosphorus. You can also use organic fertilizers like blood and bone, or pelletised chicken manure.