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.
An attractive and award winning little Carex with variegated arching foliage in shades of cream and soft yellow. Eventually forms a neat and tidy clump. Looks best planted in large drifts to form a carpet under trees etc. Grows best in part shade. Evergreen.
Carex 'Evergold' prefers to grow in a soil that does not completely dry out in summer.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 20cm x 20cm
Native. Coprosma Minogue. An excellent and popular groundcover that is tolerant of most conditions. The small narrow leaves are glossy olive green. It is fast growing groundcover for clay banks or steep difficult areas. It also acts as a weed suppressant. Minogue is a vigorous green-leafed cultivar, flatter and neater. Evergreen
Habit: Groundcover Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 200cm
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/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2.5m x 1m
Ake Ake. A no fuss evergreen foliage shrub that can be used for hedging or background planting. The slightly wavy leaves are shaded purple and bronze and will have better colour if not over-fed or pampered. Will grow just about anywhere except full shade. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 1m
This little Iris has to be one of my favourite NZ natives as it has such dainty white "butterfly" flowers. The narrow sword like leaves form a strong clump, the flowers appear in summer followed by ornamental seed pods. Easy to grow in average soil in a sunny position. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
Native Flax. Vigorous grower with gracefully drooping foliage heavily variegated yellow with increasing green zone as the leaves mature. Will grow in any reasonable soil. Looks its best in semi-shade. Excellent for accenting in the landscape. H1-2m
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: cm x cm
Phormium Yellow Wave
Current Stock Height: 40/50cm ?
Container: 1.9l ?
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Native. A delightful little ground cover that is great for rock gardens, growing over walls and banks. The dainty foliage is a soft grey/green colour and small fragrant white flowers appear from spring to autumn. Prefers a sunny spot in the garden with well drained soil. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 15cm x 100cm
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/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 6m x 3m
NZ Native. This shrub is very well named - the tiny rounded leaves are a pale silvery green and certainly do seem to shimmer in the light. Forms a very nice background plant or can be used for hedging and topiary as it loves a regular hair-cut. Easy to grow in a sunny well drained spot. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown / Purple Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 1.5m
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/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2m
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/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 4m x 1m
An attractive evergreen native hybrid with an upright growth habit and narrow fingers of foliage. Grows best in full sun to part shade. Plant in rich, moist but well drained soil. Can tolerate coastal conditions. Must be protected from afternoon sun and harsh frost. Native. Evergreen.
Native. A useful native ground-cover that spreads by rooting stems. The tough fleshy, green leaves are wind and salt tolerant so it is a useful plant for coastal gardens. In the warmer months fragrant white flowers appear, these are followed by fleshy seed pods. Tolerant, hardy and evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Ground-cover Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 20cm x 100cm