Why Australian Native Plants Are So Popular
Australian Native Plants have been enjoying a huge surge in popularity in recent years, as more and more Australians learn to embrace our diverse & wonderful native plant life.
While there have always been native trees and shrubs dotted around our neighbourhoods, we’re seeing more and more landscape gardens – both at home and in public spaces – that are putting these stunning natives front and centre in their garden designs.
There are just so many great reasons to plant a native garden, so we love to see our natives get a little bit of the spotlight. Here’s why Australian Native Plants are such a popular choice for home gardeners:
1. They Look Sophisticated in Landscape Gardens.
With their striking colour palettes of fiery red, rusty orange, gold and muted green, Australian natives can be used to create highly unique and sophisticated garden designs. Their striking shapes and rich character make for an exciting alternative to classic English-style gardens.
Our native plants tend to compliment modern architecture particularly well, with their graceful curves, unique leaf formations and muted colours contrasting elegantly against the hard lines of steel, glass and exposed concrete. Natural rock formations and layered native grasses like Lomandra can soften borders and add to this calming contrast effect.
You can find examples of this style all over Melbourne. The tumbling billabongs and native grasses of the Kew Falls building and this stylish inner city home are great illustrations of how Australian plants can be elegantly paired with a modern architectural aesthetic, whilst the native gardens at NGV achieve a similar look in an iconic public setting.
However, natives can also be used to create a more classic, homely feel. Dramatic flowering plants like Banksia, Kangaroo Paw and Acacia Baileyana can all add a cosy, bush cottage look to a small garden while still offering plenty of drama and bright colour. Meanwhile, the mighty Eucalyptus will grow to look truly grand in a larger space.
For a more formal garden style, flowering shrubs like Syzygium Backyard Bliss make great choices for hedging and screening.
2. They’re Low Maintenance and Easy-to-Care For
Most Australian plants are tough. Typically, they will require very minimal care in order to grow successfully. If you want your yard to feel lush and full, but you’re a little intimidated by the idea of maintaining a garden full-time, planting natives instead can be a great solution.
These plants are perfect for people who are dealing with busy schedules or facing difficult growing conditions. Compared to many popular plants from other global regions – like Europe, Asia or The Americas – our hardy Australian natives have developed a reputation for being particularly low-maintenance.
Why are Australian Natives so easy to look after?
The simple answer is evolution. These plants have evolved naturally over time to survive in our extreme climates. This is particularly true if you decide to grow plants that are native to your local region – a rainforest plant from Far North Queensland may require a bit more care.
They can withstand the harsh heat and drought conditions of summer, before stocking up on the water they need over the wet winter months. Here in Melbourne, we’re famous for regularly experiencing four seasons in a single day. This can sometimes make gardening conditions feel a bit unpredictable. Yet with Australian natives, it’s just not a problem.
They’re tolerant of poor, sandy soil.
Native plants are also highly adapted to Australian soil, which tends to be structurally weak and nutrient-poor. While most plants will strongly prefer a rich and fertile loamy soil, many Australian plants will grow comparatively well in loose sandy soil that’s low in organic matter.
In fact, many natives have extensive root systems that will actually work to improve and repair this type of poorer soil over time. The only type of soil that natives will struggle with is tightly packed clay soil, as the density affects drainage and makes conditions too moist. Try working through some Gypsum to help break clay soils up before planting
Hot Tip: Choose the right type of Fertiliser.
Australian plants have developed a reputation for not needing fertiliser, but this isn’t quite true. In most cases, native plants love a feed just as much as any other garden dweller might. However, many popular chemical-based fertilisers can have negative effects on some Australian natives.
This is because these fertilisers typically contain high levels of phosphorus, which many natives are sensitive to. Acacia, Banksia and Grevillea are all examples of popular natives that may not tolerate high-phosphate fertilisers. For these plants, using a specialised Australian Native Fertiliser instead can be a safer option.
3. Native Plants Restore Local Ecosystems and Environments.
We think this is one of the best reasons to plant natives at home. By growing a garden that resembles native bushland, you’re contributing to creating a healthy ecosystem for everyone. This isn’t just a feel-good phrase – restoring natural environments to our cities and gardens is a vital part of maintaining environmental biodiversity in Australia.
Growing plants native to your area will help to support populations of native pollinators and other useful insect life. In turn, this can bring beautiful local birdlife into your garden, which will also play its part in spreading seeds and pollinating the area.
These small relationships between native plants, insects and animals are the foundation of our natural environment, and supporting them helps to create a healthy world for plants and humans alike.
You should quickly begin to see the benefits of this healthy ecosystem in your own garden. The presence of native wildlife and natural conditions will help you to grow healthier and more resilient native plants, which will be much better at simply looking after themselves.
All of this means that you can spend more of your gardening time relaxing – preferably in the shade with an ice-cold beverage!
You will also conserve more water.
While it may not exactly feel like it on a rainy Melbourne afternoon, Australia has a much drier climate than many other parts of the world. Popular plants from other regions can sometimes take a lot of heavy watering to maintain over the dry summer months.
If you’re experiencing drought restrictions or trying to save on the water bill, then planting native plants from arid areas can help to massively cut down on the amount of water you’re using. Grevillea Ned Kelly, Dusky Bell Correas and Purple Fountain Grass are all drought-tolerant plants that will also look stunning in any garden.
If you’re interested in saving water out in the garden, why not set up a cheap DIY rainwater collection system? There are lots of quick guides online that use simple items like old plastic drums, tubs or barrels to store rainwater.
4. Australian Plants are Highly Diverse
Last but not least, Australia is a huge country, with a lot of diversity in our plant life. Our continent contains a vast range of environments and climates that can vary in the extreme. This includes everything from arid deserts and scrubby bushland to dense prehistoric rainforests, temperate eucalyptus forests and so much more.
This means that there’s quite a big area to cover when we’re talking about Australian native plants. For many, the phrase tends to conjure up images of dry-environment plants like shrubs, strappy plants and Grass Trees. Meanwhile, others might think of flowering neighbourhood classics like Grevillea and Callistemon
However, a native garden could just as easily be a tropical oasis full of lush ferns, tropical fruit vines, palm trees and jungle creepers. Livistona Australis, Bangalow Palms and Kangaroo Fern are all popular choices that hail from Australia’s tropical regions. Keep in mind that depending on your location and the layout of your yard, tropical plants may take a little bit more work to maintain in the Melbourne climate.
Hot Tip: Set up Different Climate Zones
If you’re not sure what you’re after, there’s no need to limit yourself to just one part of Australia! Creating different climate zones in your garden can be a fun project and a great way to make use of all the available space in your yard.
Sheltered shady areas around pergolas, under tree cover or along tall fencelines can provide good filtered-to-full shade positions for tropical forest floor plants like Ferns. Meanwhile, drought-tolerant plants can be grown in full-sun areas. Native grasses and strappy plants like Dianella are highly versatile choices as they can be grown in a wide range of conditions.
Here at Diaco’s, we’re big fans of Australian Native Plants. They’re not just stunning to look at, but they’re also easy to care for and play a crucial role in preserving our natural biodiversity. We’re thrilled to see the growing popularity of these gardens and we wholeheartedly encourage anyone considering growing natives to dive right in!
If you’re thinking about landscaping a native garden, we’re here to help. We understand that every garden is unique, just like its gardener. That’s why we’re offering our Garden Design Service. This service is all about helping you create your very own Australian natives garden that reflects your personal style and meets your specific needs.
Our talented team will work closely with you to develop a bespoke design that transforms your outdoor or indoor space into a beautiful and functional area that you’ll absolutely love spending time in.
With our Garden Design Service, you’re not just getting a garden, you’re getting a space that’s uniquely yours. We’ll guide you every step of the way, from choosing the right plants to deciding where they should go, to ensure your garden thrives.
So, why wait? Start your gardening journey with us today. Visit our Garden Design Service page at https://diacos.com.au/garden-design/ to learn more. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask one of our friendly Diaco’s gardeners for advice. We’re passionate about gardening and we’re always ready to lend a helping hand to fellow garden enthusiasts.
Remember, gardening is not just about plants and soil, it’s about creating a space where you can relax, enjoy nature, and feel at home. Let’s create that space together. Happy gardening!
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