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Planting native! 8 reasons to plant Australian native plants

Planting native! 8 reasons to plant Australian native plants

Hardy, low-maintenance and totally drought resistant, Australian native plants are perfect for beginner gardeners. Yep! You’ve probably heard the buzz about native gardens but trust us, there’s good reason for it. Eight reasons in fact!

1. They're Wonderfully Versatile 

While many people have heard of Eucalyptus, Bottlebrush and Banksia, there are far more Australian native plants to explore. In fact, there are over 19,000 native varieties, across Australia. Whether you need shady trees, screening shrubs, swaying grasses or sprawling groundcover, you’ll find a native plant for the job! 

Here are some of our top picks:

2. These guys are drought tolerant

For those self-confessed plant killers out there, Australian native plants may be the answer you’re looking for! Super drought tolerant, Aussie natives require much less water and maintenance than other plant varieties, and are well adapted to long, hot, Australian summers. 

In the first year after planting, your native babies might need a little extra water when rain is scarce, but once they’re established these hardy survivors can survive on rainfall alone. 

3. Low maintenance with a capital 'L'

Looking for a garden that’s hassle-free? Not only are Australian native plants happy with less water, they are easy to grow, with minimal maintenance. Mostly self-sustaining, native gardens only require a little bit of fertiliser each year (yippee!). 

But beware! Never use fertilisers that are high in phosphorus on your natives (their roots are super sensitive to it). Instead, use a fertiliser with a phosphorous level of 3% or less and use a half dose the first time to see how they react.

Australian native shrubs and trees also love a light tip pruning in warmer months. Simply pinch off the growing tips of the plant and you’ll be rewarded with a bushier plant and bountiful blooms!

4. Unique regional varieties

Each region of Australia has it’s own endemic native species, unique to their locality. If you can, it’s always best to plant local natives in your garden – this way you know they’re suited to your local soil conditions and climate. 

Better yet, try sticking to three or four local native varieties to start with. This will help take the guesswork out of gardening and help you establish a strong native garden. Just remember – to begin with, less is more! You can always add to your collection as your expertise grows. 

Not sure what natives grow in your local area? Reach out for some recommendations! Our plant nerds are always happy to have a chat!

5. Wildlife friendly

Not only do native gardens make your life easier, they also support local wildlife. Many Australian bird species rely on native seeds and blooms for food and use native foliage for shade, shelter and raising their young. Grevillea, Banksia and Callistemon varieties are especially beloved by honeyeaters, wattlebirds, spinebills, lorikeets, cockatoos and other native parrots.

But birds aren’t the only ones who will benefit from a native garden! Native bees, insects, fruit bats and other pollinators will also thank you for planting native. Fun fact! While flying foxes are notorious for raiding fruit trees, they actually prefer to feed on the blossoms of Eucalyptus, lilly pilly (Syzygium), honey myrtle (Melaleucas), Banksias and tea tree (Leptospermum).

6. Super sustainable 

Unfortunately when land is developed, Australian native plants are often removed and replaced with exotic species. This greatly reduces plant diversity and has a negative effect on local wildlife and climate. By planting a native garden you can combat this ecological damage and help to preserve natural biodiversity. 

From an ecological point of view, Australian native plants help our environment in many ways. Natives have extensive root systems that are suited to drier soil conditions. Australian native plants hold their soil, increasing soil stabilisation and reducing water runoff. They can even help regulate local climate conditions! 

7. Rich history

Australian native plants also hold a special place in Australian history. Indigenous Australians have used native plants for food and medicine for thousands of years. The tannin-rich gum from eucalyptus trees was used to treat burns, while native mint plants (Mentha spp.) are popular Indigenous remedies for coughs and colds. 

Native figs (e.g. Ficus platypoda), lilly-pillies (Syzygium spp.) and Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii) are considered traditional delicacies. Other indigenous bush tucker includes ‘kutjera’ or Australian Desert Raisin (Solanum centrale), Green Plum (Buchanania obovata), Mullumbimby Plum (Davidsonia jerseyana) and Native Cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis). Shop our Edible Natives Pack here. 

European Australians also found many uses for native flora. Early European settlers favoured the flowers of the Blueberry Ash or 'Prima Donna' (Elaeocarpus reticulatus) and Desert Lime (Citrus glauca) was used by to make jams and preserves.

From the 1880s macadamia plants gained popularity for their tasty nuts and since the 1970s, foods from Australian native plants (such as wattle seeds, finger limes, bush tomatoes and lemon myrtle) have become popular exports worldwide.

8. Beautiful, vivid blooms

Australian native plants are renowned for their vivid blooms, which provide stunning pops of seasonal colour. While most Aussie natives bloom in spring, there are many varieties that bloom in autumn, summer and even winter. If you want year-round colour, select a wide variety of natives that bloom at different times of the year.

If you want to get the most out of your native garden, it’s important to have an overall vision or theme. Visit other native gardens in your area for inspiration about repeating colours, form and foliage.

If you’re stuck for ideas, flower colour is a great place to start. Australian native plants come in a huge range of striking colours: from neutral whites, near-whites and greens, to calming pinks, purples and blues, to fiery reds, yellows, and oranges. Create a harmonious feel by sticking with one colour, or mix complimentary colours to create a dynamic, yet cohesive colour palette. 

Ready to plant native?

Perfect for residential gardens, commercial landscaping and bushland regeneration projects, Australian native plants boast a huge range of awesome benefits. If you’re ready to plant native, you can check out our huge range of natives

Not sure where to start? Shop our beautiful Birds and Bees Native Pack. Low-maintenance and guaranteed to attract the birds and the bees, this pack is the perfect introduction to Australian native plants

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