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. Tea Tree AKA Manuka. Delightful evergreen shrub with a free flowering and compact habit. Double red flowers appear in spring and in autumn offset by dainty bronze foliage. Easy to grow in a sunny spot and quite hardy. Bred by Jack Hobbs from the Botanic Gardens in Manurewa, Auckland.
Colour: Red Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 70cm x 50cm
Native. Manuka AKA Tea Tree. Attractive evergreen shrub with showy double white ruffled blooms in autumn and spring. Dainty fresh green foliage and a neat and tidy habit. From the breeding programme at the Manurewa Botanic Gardens. Happiest in the sun.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1.5m
Native. This little NZ Iris is found naturally in areas of coastal scrub but will grow just as happily in your garden. Fine, green, spikes of foliage form a neat and tidy clump. Dainty stems of white 'butterfly' flowers appear in spring followed by yellow seed pods. Hardy and evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 20cm x 30cm
What a delightful little plant this native Iris is. Striking golden variegated foliage that forms a strong clump. Dainty little white butterfly flowers appear in summer followed by ornamental seed pods. Easy to grow in a sunny position in average soil. Evergreen. PVR.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 80cm x 80cm
Native. The NZ Iris is an attractive clump forming perennial with spears of fresh green foliage. In summer white 'butterfly' flowers dance above the leaves on stiff, wiry stems. These are followed by ornamental seed pods. Well worth planting and easy to grow. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m x 0.6m
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
A native perennial with narrow spears of bronze green foliage that turns orange-brown in winter. Wiry stems of dainty white 'butterfly' flowers appear in spring and summer. Prefers a semi-shaded position and acid soil. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 80cm
Native. A free-flowering, non-climbing Rata which forms a lose spreading shrub with green foliage and masses of showy red blooms which appear in spring. Loves a warm position and is better protected from frost especially when young. Will grow in a container. Evergreen.
Colour: Red Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 100cm
Native. Who doesn't love the Pohutukawa AKA The NZ Christmas Tree. Attractive leathery blue-grey foliage and unique yet beautiful crimson tufted blooms that appear in summer. Tolerant of harsh conditions and poor soil but doesn't like frost. Evergreen.
This iconic NZ tree is seen at its best along the Thames-Coromandel Coast. It is worth taking a road trip in December-January just to see these coastal beauties in full flower. Pretty good specimens on the road into Whakatane as well.
Colour: Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 12m x 10m
The most floriferous of the olearias. In spring this shrub is smothered in large clusters of white flowers. Olearia cheesemanii or tree daisy is an evergreen NZ native. It is a medium growing bushy shrub with narrow pointed thin leathery dark green leaves. In spring large panicles of daisy like flowers appear. Thrives well in windy conditions. Great for hedging, very clippable, or use in boarder or shrub garden. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Round Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 2m