The Top 9 Bush Tucker Plants for Your Melbourne Garden Oasis
Welcome to the vibrant world of bush tucker plants at Diaco’s Garden Nursery. As lovers of all things green, we’re here to shine a light on the edible natives of Australia—plants that thrive in our beloved Victorian climate. From the spacious greenery of a backyard to the quaint confines of a courtyard or balcony, bush tucker plants can add life and taste to any space. Today, we’ll uncover a selection of these plants that are not only simple to grow but also serve as a natural pantry of unique flavours, right outside your door.
Bush Tucker Gardening for Melbourne Homes
In Melbourne and Geelong, every kind of garden, be it a spacious backyard, a cosy courtyard, or a small balcony, has the potential to embrace the wild beauty of bush tucker plants. Traditional homes with big backyards give a lot of room for these native plants to spread out. But as more people move into homes with outdoor spaces like courtyards or apartments with balconies, bush tucker plants find a new home. They happily grow in pots or small patches, bringing a touch of wilderness right into the heart of the city. The cool to mild climate in these areas is just right for bush tucker plants to thrive. So, no matter the size of the outdoor space, there’s always room for a bush tucker plant to add a touch of nature, making gardening an adventure accessible to everyone in Melbourne and Geelong.
Why Bush Tucker Plants?
Growing bush natives in your garden is like inviting a piece of Australia’s wild heart into your home. One of the biggest perks is that these plants are edible, providing fresh, tasty ingredients for your meals. They are a healthy choice and a great way to explore unique Aussie flavours right from your garden.
Native plants have also evolved with the natural climate here. They are used to our weather patterns, which means they grow well without too much fuss. This makes them a practical choice for local gardeners, reducing the struggle of dealing with plants that don’t like our weather.
Bush tucker plants are also friends of our local birds, bees, and butterflies. By planting them, you help to attract native biodiversity into your garden. It’s a natural way to invite some wildlife, making your garden a lively, enjoyable space.
Lastly, these plants are a sustainable choice. They don’t need a lot of water or special care to thrive, which is good for the environment and eases your gardening chores. By choosing bush tucker plants, you’re making a green choice, contributing to a more sustainable way of gardening. It’s a simple step towards being more eco-friendly while enjoying the natural beauty and flavours of Australia.
The Green Gems of the Bush
Bush tucker plants are Australia’s botanical treasures, offering a mix of flavours, colours, and textures. Let’s explore some of these bush tucker delights that are easy to grow and will add a sprinkle of Aussie essence to your Victoria garden:
Saltbush is a tough, enduring plant whose grey-green leaves sway gently in the sunlight, adding a touch of wilderness to your garden. It can grow up to 120 centimetres tall, revelling in full sun exposure. It’s quite adaptable but prefers well-draining soil. This one doesn’t need much water, making it a water-smart choice. Its edible leaves are a salty treat. The salty leaves of Saltbush can be used fresh in salads, or dried and crushed into a salt alternative for seasoning your dishes.
2. Warrigal Greens
Known as New Zealand Spinach, Warrigal Greens softly carpet the ground or fill pots, bringing lush greenery to your space. They can spread to about 80 centimetres wide, thriving in well-draining soil under full to partial sun. They require a moderate amount of water to thrive. Warrigal Greens are a nutritious green, ready to be a healthy part of your meals. New Zealand spinach is a nutritious substitute for regular spinach and can be used in salads, quiches, or as a steamed vegetable side dish.
3. Bush Tomatoes
Kutjera, or Bush Tomatoes, are wild, small, yet bountiful, promising to add a zest to your meals. They can grow to 150 centimetres tall, loving the full sun and well-draining, sandy to loamy soil. They need very little water to thrive, being native to arid regions of Australia. Kutjera can be eaten fresh or used dried as a spice with a caramel-like, spicy flavour profile. It is commonly added to chutneys, curries, and salsas, and can be used to create a crust on meats or as a flavorful ingredient in bread mixes, sauces, and dressings.
Karkalla, also known as Pigface, is a hearty succulent that adorns your garden with fleshy leaves and vibrant flowers. It can sprawl to 30 centimetres high, enjoying sandy, well-draining soil under full sun. This one doesn’t need much water, appreciating occasional sips. Karkalla’s succulent leaves can be eaten fresh in salads, or lightly sautéed and served as a crunchy, salty accompaniment to various dishes.
5. Sea Purslane
Sea Purslane, a lover of sandy soil, is ready to sprawl across your garden or nestle in pots, with its fleshy, edible leaves. It can spread to 30 centimetres tall, thriving in full sun with well-draining, sandy soil. With a low water requirement, this one is a true low-maintenance friend. Sea Purslane’s fleshy leaves add a salty crunch to salads, or can be lightly steamed as a healthy, mineral-rich side vegetable.
6. Bush Mint
Bush Mint has a strong yet gentle aroma, growing up to 60 centimetres tall. It enjoys partial shade and moist, well-draining soil. The bush mint requires a moderate amount of water – keep an eye on the soil moisture and water the plant when the topsoil starts to feel dry. It’s a delightful aroma bearer and culinary companion. Bush Mint is a delightful herb to use in teas, as a garnish, or to add a refreshing, minty flavour to a variety of dishes including lamb, desserts, and salads.
7. Macadamia Nut
The Macadamia tree is a tall dreamer, starting small in a pot but aspiring to reach up to 12 metres in height. It enjoys full sun to partial shade and well-draining, enriched soil. It requires a moderate amount of water to thrive. Its delicious nuts are a gardener’s reward. The Macadamia plant is suitable for pots initially but will need to be transplanted directly into the ground eventually. We all know the famous macadamia nuts are a true delight, whether eaten raw, roasted, or used in baking to add a rich, nutty flavour to cookies, cakes, and other desserts.
8. Finger Lime
Finger Lime is a citrus delight growing up to 6 metres tall, thriving in well-draining soil under full sun to partial shade. This tree requires a moderate amount of watering. Its unique ‘citrus caviar’ is a gourmet delight and a visual treat in your garden. The unique ‘citrus caviar’ of Finger Limes can be used as a tangy garnish on seafood, in drinks, or desserts, adding a burst of citrusy flavour and a visually appealing touch.
9. Davidson’s Plum
Davidson’s Plum is a storyteller of ancient lands, stretching up to 10 metres tall. It thrives in well-draining, rich soil under partial shade. This tree requires a moderate amount of water – keep an eye on the soil moisture and water the plant when the topsoil starts to feel dry. Its tart plums are high in antioxidants and a link to the wild heart of Australia. Davidson’s Plum is suitable for pots initially but requires transplanting as it grows. Davidson’s Plum can be used in a variety of ways – in jams, sauces, desserts, or even as a tangy addition to savoury dishes, providing a rich source of antioxidants along with a tart, fruity flavour.
Growing Conditions For Thriving Bush Native Plants
For your edible native plants to prosper, starting with the right soil is crucial. It should allow water to pass through easily while being rich in organic material. Even if you’re potting, a high-quality potting mix will work wonders for your plants over time.
When choosing what to grow, pick native edibles that are known to flourish in our Victorian climate. They won’t ask for much once they’re settled in but giving them a bit of extra care can lead to stronger growth and even tastier results. Feeding your plants with a native-specific fertiliser can really perk them up—liquid options get to work fast, helping your garden thrive and flavours deepen.
A few things to keep in mind after feeding your plants: Wait a little before you harvest, and make sure to give everything a good rinse before it makes its way to your plate.
And a word to the wise for when you’re dealing with those pesky garden invaders: Always follow the instructions on your pest control products to the letter, suit up with the right gear, and keep these products away from kids and pets.
Lastly, it’s always good to do your research before eating any plants.
At Diaco’s, we’re all about helping you grow a safe and delicious bush tucker garden. Pop in for a chat, and we’ll help you get your garden growing just right!
Whether you have a sprawling backyard, a snug courtyard, or a petite balcony, there’s a place for a bush tucker plant in your Melbourne or Geelong home. And remember, every little plant you grow contributes to a greener, more sustainable, and vibrant community. Swing by Diaco’s Garden Nursery, let’s explore together the bush tucker plants that resonate with your garden dreams. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is here to help you make your garden a delightful, nature-friendly nook in the urban landscape. Your garden adventure awaits.
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