Celebrating Our Favourite Natives

To mark Australia Day, we asked some of our team here at Australian Plants Online to share some of their favourite native plants. It's hard to choose when there are so many! It's like picking your favourite child...
After much debate and discussion we managed to narrow it down to a selection, which we share with you here.

Are any of our favourites, your favourites too?

 

westringia Leigh, who answers our customer enquiries, makes her recommendation :

"I choose Westringia - they look nice, they feel nice and soft as well, and they make good hedging"

Westringia - coastal rosemary - is a great native choice for coastal gardens, for native gardens, and for urban gardens. The bushes can be left to grow naturally or clipped into formal shapes like box balls.

There are ground-hugging westringias that barely grow above mid-calf, and tall westringias for hedging and privacy screens. Some have white flowers, some lilac; and some have variegated white-striped leaves too.

 

Burgundy Queen Our nursery manager, Rose, had a little more trouble narrowing her choice:

"The big double ruffled flowers of Burgundy Queen set it apart from other Leptospermums. Buckinghamias are flowering now and looking awesome. Hibbertia Little Rocker looks lovely when it's growing. And I really like low lumpy-bumpy plants that your toes sink into when you step on them, like Pratia"

Leptospermums - tea trees are always popular and Burgundy Queen not only has bigger-than-usual intensely magenta flowers to recommend it, it also has deep dark burgundy foliage. Quite the stunner.

 

Cousin It General Manager James, used to making decisions all day, didn't take long to decide on his vote :

"My favourite native tree is the red flowering gum - you don't see those everywhere. I've got one in my front yard. Our native ferns are beautiful groundcovers in shady gardens. And of course I love Cousin It!"

We like to dress our Cousin It plants up when we take them to garden shows... You could leave yours to cascade elegantly over retaining walls, pathways, and rockery borders, softening the edges.

 

banksia Kimmy, who manages our plant stock and quality control, came straight out of the blocks with her favourite native:

"Banksias. I really like banksias, they remind me of the outback. Aussie Aussie Aussie!"

Banksias are one of the most iconic Australian plants and easily recognised. Many of us grew up with May Gibbs' Big Bad Banksia men stories.

The bold flowers have such a long season, from slender green candles to tufty gold cylinders, turning to gnarly brown seedpods in which birds love to forage. They make great cut flowers for the home too!

 

gymea lily Our marketing manager, Andrea, chose a few of her favourites :

"Fast-growing climbers are my favourites, and pandorea is one of the best - huge flower clusters and really easy to look after. You can't miss flame trees and kurrajong blooming on bare branches. And the amazing giant fairytale size of gymea lilies - if I see them on my travels I have to pull over and take a photo"

Gymeas are astonishing plants : very tropical looking, native to the east coast, and thriving in areas of regular rainfall. It takes a lot of water to grow something that tall!

 

grevillea Ross, who develops new business areas, picked a classic :

"I like all grevilleas, especially yellow ones. If the breeders could make one in my favourite colour, blue, that would be even better!"

We don't think any of us will live long enough to see a blue grevillea flower, if it ever happens... but there are other blue-flowered natives to enjoy meanwhile - and heaps of beautiful grevilleas flowering in shades of white, pink, purple, orange, red and yellow.

 

So - did we choose one of your favourite natives, or do you have another preference? Maybe dainty blue dianella, or fluffy golden wattle; red bottlebrush, or orange kangaroo paw?
There's over 24,000 native species of plants in Australia, so that's plenty of choice for all of us!