Your Favourite Natives
To mark Australia Day, we asked all the readers of our weekly email newsletter to vote for their favourite native plant.
It's hard to choose when there are so many!
We got heaps of responses, so thank you to you if you voted. There were some surprising and unusual plants nominated....
Did your favourite plant win?
1st : Grevillea
" I can never have enough. Always looking for more to try and fit in. I love the birds they bring."
"I love this plant [Grevillea Coconut Ice] because it is in flower 365 days a year, the birds adore its nectar, and it provides shelter to small birds and animals."
"I have 7 varieties of grevilleas and I have planted a tree for each family member in our garden since we bought our house"
Grevilleas were a clear winner, snagging a quarter of all the votes cast. Not surprising, when they range from tall stately trees to low carpeting groundcovers. We have 80 different varieties of grevillea throughout the year. There's a grevillea for every kind of garden - even those that only have a balcony!Grevilleas generally love free draining light soil, and dry air. Although they are native, they are very tricky to propagate. We propagate them in the winter months when humidity is lowest. Our propagation manager has also been working on new techniques for propagating grevilleas, with great success. This means we can bring you more quantities, and more varieties of these lovely natives, and for a longer season.
"Grevillea Orange Marmalade I love the variety of flower colours and especially watching all the birds that love them as much as I do"
2nd : Gum Trees
"Eucalypts are just so majestic it's hard not to put them first"
"I had trouble choosing one type of Eucalyptus as a favourite as I love them all"
"Great to see smaller eucalyptus being developed"
"Drought tolerant, picked flowers are great in vases and make lovely gifts when visiting family and friends, attract birds and insects to the garden"
Eucalypts and Corymbias scored second place in our reader poll; it's almost un-Australian to not love a gum! Gums are very fast-growing, which makes them ideal for planting from tubestock, as you won't have long to wait until they establish themselves. Not every garden has space for a giant river red gum (and they'd grow out of our pots in about two weeks...) but many of us can squeeze in a compact flowering gum to bring in the birdlife and native animals. We're always on the lookout for new smaller varieties; and when we find good ones, we add them to the website, so you can add them to your garden.
"We have koalas in our gumtrees, as well as magpies and possums. Trees are homes for wild life"
3rd : Bottlebrush
"I love growing natives endemic to my local area as food sources for the animals & birds that have been pushed out due to urban sprawl"
"There are too many favourites to limit to only callistemon"
"We live on a hill with rocky clay based soils which provides perfect drainage for native plants."
Whether you call them Callistemon (old school like us) or Melaleuca (new taxonomy trend) these adaptable natives charm you with their long flowering season and range of colour. Our bottlebrushes come in traditional red and white; plus peach, cream, purple, orange, and shades of pink.
There's even groundcover bottlebrushes you can grow in a pot. Unlike many Aussie natives, bottlebrushes are very resilient and adaptable ; some will grow in wet soil, some will come through light frost. They are also not as sensitive to phosphorus as other natives, which makes them easy to plant into a mixed border.
So - did your favourite native plant make the top three? Or do you have another preference? - maybe dainty blue dianella, or fluffy golden wattle; red gymea, 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 to find our Favourite Native!