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 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
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
A fabulous NZ native that will add some real architectural drama to your planting scheme or look equally fabulous in a container. The juvenile foliage is long and narrow with a sharp saw toothed edge. The grey blotched foliage combines well with other colours. Easy to grow. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 1.5m
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. This handsome foliage shrub has a nice compact habit and thick glossy green leaves. Good in coastal area and responds to prunning. Looks great in the garden or use as a container plant. Tropical look.
Native. A great foliage plant with lobed leaves that are glossy and coloured an attractive bronze purple. Contrasts well with other plants. Tidy, compact, bushy habit - looks good in a container. Happy in the sun or part shade with protection from harsh frost especially when young. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2.5m x 1m
Iconic native plant, the Nikau Palm is ideal for the tropical look in your garden. Long fan like rich green leaves extend upright from the shiny bulbous butt at the top of the smooth trunk. I suppose you could say the overall effect is that of a giant feather duster! Happiest in shade. Evergreen.
Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 4m x 1.5m