Last Updated Apr 17, 2018 · Written by Rob Schneider
It makes sense as a home improvement project to grow native Australian plants in the garden. Indigenous plants thrive throughout the year and some even flower in winter. Australian plants are easy to grow and don't require as much effort as exotic plants, which may not tolerate Australia's hot summers and relatively mild winters. What are some of the best native Australian plants for winter?
Why have a garden that doesn't flower in winter? Many species of Australian plants flower in winter, giving the garden a brilliant display. Some are smaller plants and some are bushes, but one thing you can count on: they will brighten the garden in winter. These are some native Australian plants that will produce flowers in winter.
A splash of red flowers is welcome in any garden during the winter months. Grevillea Fanfare and Robyn Gordon are bushes that produce brilliant red flowers over the winter months. Robyn Gordon will flower anywhere except the colder, higher areas of Australia. Grevillea Fanfare prefers full sun or partial shade and likes a well drained soil. Both of these will flower in winter in most parts of Australia. Another good choice is Grevillea Superb, which is similar to Robyn Gordon, but has orange flowers.
If you want larger shrubs, Golden Lyre and Misty Pink may be ideal plants for a winter garden. If ground cover grevilleas appeal, Bronze Rambler, Poorinda Royal Mantle or Moonlight may be perfect in the front or back garden. Grevillea Ember Glow will flower throughout the year, even in winter.
Banksias are another Australian native plant and some of them flower in winter. Some that flower in winter include Banskia integrifolia, cultivars of B spinulosa such as 'Giant Candles', B serrata, and the more compact 'Honeypots'.
Banksias have stunning yellow or red flowers and some species can flower prolifically in winter. If you don't want large banksias in the yard, look for dwarf banksias. They still have stunning flowers, but are more compact in size. Two of these include Banksia spinulosa "Birthday Candles" and Banksia spinulosa "Honeypots."
Some wattles flower in winter. Wattles have a short life span of between 7 and 12 years, but can be perfect in any garden, though they may need to be planted again after they die. They can be weed-like, so only grow a species that is indigenous to your area. A good nursery can recommend a wattle that is indigenous to any local area.
Native Hibiscus (Alyogyne huegelii) is another plant that flowers in winter. Full grown, it stands at about 2 metres in height and has stunning violet flowers that resemble hibiscus flowers. It grows in most parts of Australia except for tropical and mountainous areas.
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If you need a climbing plant, Hardenbergia (Happy Wanderer) may be a good choice. It can be a good choice for hiding a fence or on a bank and produces brilliant winter flowers and will provide leaf cover when the flowers are not in bloom. It requires a well drained soil to thrive.
Veggies don't grow just during the summer months. Many vegetables can be grown in winter. Read Vegetables to Grow in Winter to find out about vegetables that can be grown in different areas of Australia. Whether you live in a cool area or a tropical area, you can grow vegetables in winter and enjoy home grown vegetables throughout the year. Beetroot is one vegetable that grows well in a cooler region and can provide a family with fresh beetroot throughout the winter.
In temperate regions, broad beans, English spinach, green beans and peas can be ideal winter vegetables. In tropical regions, a variety of vegetables can be grown in winter and they can be grown in subtropical regions, too.
Vegetables thrive in full sun and love compost. To find out how to make a compost heap, read Create Your Own Compost and Choosing the Right Compost Bin. Compost is easier to create than meets the eye and if it is made correctly, won't attract flies to the garden.
Australian aboriginals had only plants for healing, but many plants worked wonders. Build a healing garden with Australian native plants suggests many plants that can heal. One of the best known is tea tree oil, but many others exist as well, including eucalyptus oil, which is another popular healing plant. Others are less well known, but equally effective. For example, Emu bush has antibiotic properties and Kangaroo apple was useful for swollen joints. These plants have been studied and they have properties that can be anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial in high concentrations.
You want to attract bees to the garden because bees pollinate plants. Attracting bees to your garden recommends many native plants that attract bees throughout the year. Grevillea is one plant that attracts bees and some grevilleas flower in winter. Other plants include cut-leaf daisy, wattle, flowering gum and tea tree (manuka myrtle). Those aren't the only ones, either and the article points out what to do to attract bees to your garden.
Some plants can be pruned in autumn, but don't prune any winter flowering plants. They are growing buds for winter flowers and should only be pruned in spring, after the flowers have died. Pruning in spring can help the plants grow more vigorously and you will have more flowers next winter.
Other than that, a winter garden should be treated the way you would treat a summer garden. Weeding is important and raking will help prevent leaves and twigs from spoiling the garden. A winter garden also needs nutrients and they can be supplied via a compost heap or commercially available nutrients.
If you have a lawn, aerate it in winter so water and nutrients can reach the roots of the lawn. If you still notice puddling in the lawn, try a hose-on wetting agent, which will help break up the soil. It's also a good idea to top dress a lawn with coarse sand or loam.
If you want to attract bees, avoid spraying the garden with pesticides. Growing an organic, sustainable and companion garden suggests various ways to protect a garden from pests without resorting to pesticides. Companion planting is one way to deter pests from ruining the garden. Companion plants include herbs and other plants that repel pests. Some herbs include oregano, basil, sage and lavender, but others are available as well.
You can also make homemade pesticides that are effective, but won't make bees look for another place to pollinate.
Winter is not a time to neglect a garden. A winter garden can be just as beautiful as a summer garden and you will enjoy having flowering plants in the garden. Grow veggies, too, and have fresh veggies throughout the winter. Then you can grow spring and summer vegetables and have fresh vegetables throughout the year.