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.
NZ's iconic native conifer. Slow growing but well worth the wait for the tree to mature into its stately form. When juvenile the foliage tends to have copper bronze tones but as the tree ages green is the more dominant colour. One to plant for your grand children! Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 6m x 2.5m
Outstanding NZ native that forms a handsome spreading tree. Large, glossy, light green dissected foliage. Sprays of rusty red woolly flowers appear in summer followed by scarlet berries with jet black seeds. Will grow in quite exposed conditions but protect from harsh frost. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 7m x 4m
Native. Wind Grass. An attractive and hardy perennial grass that is ideal for mass planting in difficult spots. The leaves are long, narrow and dark green tinged with orange especially in the winter. The fluffy flowers appear on arching stems in summer and are purple-pink. Evergreen.
Colour: Purple Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 120cm
A NZ (Oioi) Reed with fine grey-green needles of foliage with brown markings at intervals along the length of the leaves. Forms a large clump. Grows in water or in damp ground. Tolerates salty water. Very decorative in a pot and useful for floral work. Tough as. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m x 1m
Native. Renga Renga Lily. Discovered at Matapouri Bay Northland this great landscaping plant has broad, lush, blue-grey, foliage and dainty sprays of creamy white blooms in summer. Plant in well drained fertile soil. Prefers filtered light though will tolerate some sun. Perennial.
Colour: White / Cream Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
A delightful dwarf selection of NZ's popular Rengarenga Lily. Forms a nice little clump and looks great when planted en masse. Pretty panicles of white flowers dance above the foliage in spring. Best in part shade with protection from harsh frost. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 50cm
This NZ native Fern makes a striking cover plant for shady situations. Looks good group planted beneath established trees and is useful to plant with Hostas carrying on the interest after the Hostas have died down. Likes the shade and nice moist humus rich soil. Protect from frost.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 80cm x 30cm
A stunning native cultivar that originates from the Chatham Islands. Strong broad swords of arching foliage toned a sensuous metallic silver. Use in groups for a bold dramatic statement. Tolerant of sun or part shade but hates "wet feet". Looks fabulous in a container. Hardy and evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m