There are so many good reasons to plant a New Zealand native as gardeners all over the world have discovered. During a recent trip to Europe I swear I saw a Cabbage Tree (Corydline) in every back yard I peeked into! Here at home, planting a NZ Native is really an act of conservation as it ensures the continuation of native plant species. Along with that there is the added bonus of attracting native birds to your garden and beneficial native insects. However before we get too "Green" and serious lets just apreciate the wonderful layers of colour, texture and distinctive form that NZ Natives offer the gardener.
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What could be more architectural than a Cabbage Tree? Perhaps the only competitor would be our NZ Flaxes (Phormiums) which are available in small, medium and large with a wide colour palette. These cannot be beaten for toughness and adaptability and are simply fabulous planted en masse. Can you imagine New Zealand without Kowhai trees (Sophora) driping with bright yellow bells in summer and being squabbled over by noisy Tui's? Did you know that some Kowhai plants only reach 1m and are therefore ideal for smaller gardens or container growing? And what about our own unique Christmas Tree, the Pohutakawa (Metrosideros) which is so easy and rewarding to grow in frost free areas.
You won't get a better ground cover for difficult sites than our native Coprosma varieties. Then there are native "grasses" for mass planting and Hebes for adding year round colour. Corokias and Pittosporums for hedging, windbreaks, or no nonsense background foliage fillers. Did you know that the shy Pittosporum flowers have an exquisite perfume? Pseudopanax offer unique foliage form and colour and are ideal for adding height. In garden design our native plants can stand alone or combine superbly with exotic imports to provide a rich tapestry.
For best results plant Native plants in early spring in a well considered position as, just like us, they resent being moved unnecessarily. Other than that most natives are extremely easy and rewarding to grow.
Native. A lovely soft bronze- red grass with fine tufts of arching foliage. Grows in a wide range of conditions including coastal. Comans means "like a luxuriant head of hair" hence the common name of 'Hair Sedge'. Looks its best in large drifts. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 20cm
This native 'grass' is really tough and hardy tolerating cold winds and almost any soil. The brick-orange foliage looks very graceful as it waves and dances in the wind. Ideal for planting in large drifts. If the clumps become a little untidy just chop back hard for renewed vigour. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 50cm
Developed for their bold range of year round foliage colour. Margarita features stunning high gloss green leaf with almost black contrasting strip around the margin. Like other Coprosma, cooler weather deepens the foliage colours. An easy care shrub - perfect for pots or in mass for effect. Protect from heavy frost. Evergreen
Native. The ubiquitous green Cabbage Tree has earned its place as a NZ icon both in the natural and cultivated landscape. Rich green sword-like foliage that forms a broad head on top of a strong trunk. Panicles of fragrant cream flowers in summer. Grow in sun or part shade. Evergreen.
Cordylines look best planted in groups of 3 or more. They will also do well as a container plant.
Colour: Cream Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 6m x 2m
This is a great little shrub that will grow just about anywhere, even dry, windy difficult sites. Narrow green leaves and a 'zig zag' branch pattern certainly add interest as do the bright yellow flowers that appear in spring. Red berries follow the flowers that will attract birds to your garden. Evergreen
Colour: Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 2.5m x 1m
Native. A selected form of the ever popular and versatile Griselinia. Small glossy green foliage with undulating edges looks good all year round and 'Alpine' has a nice compact habit and high tolerance to just about any conditions including coastal. Fast growing - evergreen.
Phormium cookianum Purpurea is a smaller red foliage variety of mountain flax. Gracefully drooping long bronze leaves and in spring long flower spikes, loved by native birds. This all purpose plant adds colour and texture to your garden. Thrives in wet or dry soils and tolerates sunny, shady and exposed areas. Evergreen
Colour: Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
Native. A striking Flax with gracefully arching leaves that are mainly toned a nice rich red outlined with a margin of darker red. Hardy and easy to grow in sun or part shade. Very effective when planted in groups. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 75cm x 75cm
Native Flax. Little 'Jack Spratt' will not get fat as it is a delightful dwarf flax with narrow upright bronze-red leaves. Looks particularly good group planted. Tough and hardy and quite well groomed. Plant in sun or part shade. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 0.3m x 0.3m
A new must have for the garden. Its beautiful bronze colour makes it an excellent choice for colour contrast against green. Very tolerant of frost, wind and coastal conditions, Phormium 'Sweet Mist' will come up trumps. Grows to 35 to 40 cm tall.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 40cm
A very popular tree which is fast growing and frequently used for hedging, shelter and as a specimen tree, it also makes an attractive feature plant. The leaves, have a lemon scent when crushed. Cream yellow flowers. Hardy to just about everything including attacks by oppossums. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 6m x 3m
NZ Native. A particularly nice form of Pittosporum with fresh green glossy foliage that always looks good. Perfect plant for screens and hedging as it responds well to clipping. Happiest in sun or part shade and likes well drained fertile soil however is tolerant of less than ideal conditions. Hardy and evergreen.
Pittosporums bloom in spring with inconspicuous dark purple-brown flowers that will only come to your attention when you notice their strong fragrance on the evening air.
Colour: Brown / Purple Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2m
Native. Grey green leaves outlined in creamy white make this evergreen native shrub a welcome and useful contrast plant for the border or shrubbery.
Generally well behaved and easy to grow. Prefers a sunny spot.
Colour: Purple / Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2m
Native. An easy to grow and well behaved native tree with attractive, undulating, pale green foliage. The small dark purple flowers emit a heady fragrance in the spring evening air. Great for screening, hedges and for background foliage. Trims well. Evergreen.
Colour: Purple / Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 5m x 3m
NZ Native Lancewood. When juvenile this tree has a single stem and stiff sword-like narrow leaves that are a bronze green shade. Older plants form a rounded head of smaller leathery foliage. Striking landscape plant especially when planted in groups. Tolerant of sun or part shade and light frost. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 4m x 1m
Native. The floral emblem of NZ and loved by Tuis and gardeners alike. The native name Kowhai means yellow and represents the pendulous racemes of nectar filled yellow flowers that appear in spring. This species flowers at a younger age than others. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 4.5m x 3m