Plant the Look - Aussie Rainforest
Not all holidays have to be taken abroad, and getting to the Top End of our own country is a major road trip, even if you start in Queensland! We show you how to create the look of a lush Aussie rainforest in your own back yard.

Pack yourself an esky, with fairy bread and lamingtons for snacks. Whether you crank up Kylie, Cold Chisel, or Acca Dacca for accompaniment on the journey is up to you...

Aussie Rainforest Garden Style - reach for the sky

rainforest trees From tropical top end Mossman and Daintree, where bright blue butterflies float in dappled sunlight, to subtropical Springbrook and volcanic Mount Warning, part of the UNESCO Gondwana World Heritage listing, and all the way south as far as the Otways, there's a wide range of world-class rainforests in this country to be inspired by.

A typical Aussie rainforest is multi-layered and dense, with masses of slender-stemmed trees jostling for light amid a scramble of ferns, vines, palms, climbers, and epiphytes.

a scramble for light It's the complete opposite to a northern hemisphere woodland where there are distinct layers - soil-hugging groundcovers, large open shrubs, tall broad trees. Here in Australia the bush and rainforest is a free-for-all - fast vertical growth, and plantlife at every height.

Moss and lichen colonise palm trunks and rockpools. Bird's nest ferns and native orchids find a home in the branches of trees.

Palmfronds fall and create leaf litter. Fungi breaks down old branches. Insects feed on the plants, birds and reptiles feed on the insects. There's a lot of life in a rainforest!


water weathers rockThe true Aussie rainforest is not a manicured place - branches grow to wherever they can reach the light.

So mix it up in your garden, and don't worry too much about perfect placement - it's the abundance of leaf shapes and shades and sizes that's important.

With hard landscaping, leave rock faces rough-hewn, and create paths from raw timber, stones, and hard-packed dirt.

shaded palms Some of our tropical native plants can be surprisingly resilient in a sheltered spot, but make sure for the first couple of years at least they have protection from frost, and regular access to water, until they get established.

Many palms for instance can get sunburn - in the rainforest they have taller trees for shade while they find their feet and develop mature fronds, so in your garden it might be wise to give them a little shade in summer while they are still very young.


Aussie Rainforest Style Gardens - get the look

plants for the Aussie Rainforest look Essential plants to get that Australian Rainforest look are big native trees especially ficus, gums, eumundi, and kauri pine.

Add subtle seasonal colour with native flowering trees : phaleria, ivory curl, golden penda, firewheel, native gardenia, native frangipani, Queensland box, and holly fuchsia.

Slower-growing native trees like Daintree pine, Mount Spurgeon pine, and Stenocarpus Doreen introduce a finer texture to the leaf canopy. Native palms are a must - foxtail, bangalow, alexander, and ribbon palms.

Lush leafy plants - redback ginger, blue flax, swamp lily - and native ferns - including birds nest, kangaroo fern, and silver lady fern - provide the perfect shady environment for mosses and lichens to start their life.

Pop in some bushtucker - Fraser Island apple, Burdekin plum, and lilly pilly - for when you get peckish.