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. White Kaka Beak.Gorgeous, cool ivory white 'Kaka-beak' flowers hang in pendulous clusters from spring through to summer. The blooms are filled with nectar and attractive to birds. Delicate light-green ferny foliage. Quick growing. Practice slug and caterpillar control. Evergreen.
Colour: Red Habit: Pendulous Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 2m
Spreading, narrow leafed sand shrub with cushiony mass of interlacing branches. Tiny white flowers in summer, sometimes followed by small blue berries. Extremely hardy. Prefers moist, free draining conditions. No salt. Evergreen.
Habit: Low prostrate Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: cm x cm
A great little shrub with glossy dark red foliage that looks good all year round. Use for contrast planting in the shrubbery or as a hedge with a difference. Loves to be clipped. Will grow in sun or light shade, tolerates coastal conditions and light frost. Evergreen. PVR
Colour: Assorted Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 150cm
This hebe was developed by a Waikato Nursery as part of the Regal Series of Hebes and named for the Duchess of Cambridge. New leaf shoots are burgundy red in colour, maturing to deep olive green. Masses of purple flowers develop through summer. Trim back after flowering to keep tidy. PVR eligible.
Colour: Purple Habit: Compact Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 75cm x 75cm
With bright green tightly packed foliage that forms a natural mound this little Hebe is great for planting in groups to add interest and contrast to planting schemes. Dainty white flowers appear in summer but they are not the main feature. Plant in sun or part shade in well drained soil. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Mounding Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 30cm
A neat and tidy little Hebe that has a compact habit. Dainty leaves in a soft olive green shade and masses of tiny lilac-blue flowers in the warm summer months. Plant in a well drained sunny spot and trim lightly after flowering. Evergreen.
Colour: Mauve / Blue Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
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Native Standard. An unusual form of our native Manuka (Tea Tree) which has a low semi-prostrate habit that makes it ideal for a lovely cascading head of flowers on a topiary standard. Can be grown in a pot/ tub or used as an attractive specimen in the garden.The foliage is tiny, narrow and pointed, the flowers are in tones of rose red and pink. Evergreen.
Colour: Pink / Pink Habit: Cascading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: STD
This native Daisy is not the easiest of plants to grow but if you have just the right position it is well worth the effort. Large grey green, leathery leaves are highlighted in summer by crisp white daisy flower heads with a yellow centre. Must have a sunny spot with excellent drainage. Evergreen.
Colour: White / Yellow Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 80cm
Native. A beautiful medium sized flax with the deepest wine coloured, sword shaped foliage. Imagine the effect of a large drift of these swaying in the breeze. Alternatively stunning in a container. Easy to grow in just about any condition. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Arching Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m
An award winning Flax valued because of the attractive variegated foliage and nice tidy, compact habit. The sword like leaves have a green centre and are edged with a soft creamy yellow. Will grow just about anywhere and is very hardy. Evergreen. RHS AGM.
Colour: Yellow / Red Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
An excellent small green Flax with bold erect lime green foliage. Suitable for mass planting in smaller gardens or equally quite fabulous as a container plant. Easy to grow in just about any garden conditions. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow / Red Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 0.75m x 0.6m
Native. A beautiful Flax with luxuriant, unfading rich purple-black swords of foliage that form a neat clump. Equally fabulous in the garden or a container and so easy to grow. Sun to part shade and soil that does not completely dry out in summer will keep this Flax looking good. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow / Red Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
Native. A very attractive Flax with arching, broad, sword like leaves in tones of bronze-green with pink margins that gradually fade to cream. Overall has a pink tone so nice to combine with grey or burgundy foliage. Plant in sun or semi-shade. Hardy, vigorous and evergreen. RHS AGM.
Colour: Brown / Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1m
Native flax. A very handsome flax that will provide year round colour with it's brilliant gold, cream and green striped leaves. Looks great in semi-shaded areas. Tolerant and hardy, withstanding most conditions. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m x 1m
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
Native. A dwarf compact form of Pittosporum which has glossy foliage in tones of green and gold. Forms a natural rounded shape without the need for lots of trimming though it is quite happy to have a haircut. Suitable for container planting. Sun or part shade, hardy and evergreen.
Colour: Brown / Purple Habit: compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 40cm
Native. You'll love this versatile little plant which forms a dense rounded ball of fresh green foliage that seldom needs clipping. Looks fabulous group planted or makes a natural topiary specimen for court-yard containers. Grows well in sun or part shade. PVR.
Pittorsporums love well drained fertile soil but are remarkably tolerant plants and will adapt to less than ideal conditions. They are hardy and generally healthy.
Colour: Brown / Purple Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 50cm
Native. You'll love this versatile little plant which forms a dense rounded ball of shimmering silver green foliage that seldom needs clipping. Looks fabulous group planted or makes a natural topiary specimen for court-yard containers. Grows well in sun or part shade. PVR.
Colour: Brown / Purple Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 50cm
Native. An extremely handsome foliage shrub with leathery glossy green leaves made up of 3 broad lobes. Good compact habit. Can have a bronze overtone in winter. Looks great in the garden or use as a container plant. Needs protection from harsh frost when young. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 1m