Australian Native Plants

Leader in ornamental trees and shrubs for Mediterranean gardens


This page offers some helpful tips and tricks that will make your garden flourish.



  • Why Grow an Australian Garden?

    • Fast Growing
    • Drought Tolerant
    • Easy to grow
    • Unusual flowers & foliage
    • Attracts Birds & Butterflies & Bees

  • First Considerations

    • Choose right plants for the soils & situations and for the purpose in mind
    • Chose plants that are healthy and vigorous
    • Plant in fall when rains are expected and soils warm
    • Do not plant a dry plant into a dry hole
    • Plant after rain in frost free areas

  • Best Soils for Growing Australian Plants?

    • Well-drained soils where water-logging cannot occur
    • Sandy
    • Decomposed Granite
    • Well-drained clay soils
    • Acidic- neutral – slightly alkaline

  • Fertilizing

    • Regular fertilizer not recommended
    • Australian & South African soils low in PHOSPHORUS
    • Plants have adapted to low phosphorus
    • The root systems are very efficient at extracting phosphorus & nutrients out of the soil
    • Mulching will provide nutrients needed by the plants
    • If fertilizing use slow release NPK 17:3:6

  • Benefits of Mulching

    • Australian natives resent their roots being disturbed – reduces weeds
    • Aids in moisture retention
    • Adds humus to sandy soils
    • Helps to break up heavy soils
    • Maintains a more even soil temperature
    • Supplies nutrients
    • Use groundcovers as mulch
    • Use organic mulches with no added fertilizers
    • Keep mulch 2” away from trunk so collar rot does not occur
    • Do not use fresh woodchips as it can draw nitrogen away from the plant


  • Transplanting

    • Australian plants resent their roots being disturbed.
    • Trees and shrubs generally DO NOT like to be transplanted.
    • Proteoid root systems lie under mulch layer extracting nutrients and DO NOT like disturbance.
    • Plants with shallow root sytems will tolerate transplanting more readily.

  • Pest & Disease

    • Few pests attack healthy plants
    • Try organic control first e.g. Horticultural oil for scale insects
    • Most insects are maintained by biological controls e.g. birds, spiders & other insects
    • Some plants are susceptible to Phytophthora cinnamomi in soils
    • Scale on Protea can be difficult to eradicate if the insects & eggs are not killed.

  • Staking

    Is staking really necessary? Do not tie too tightly – allow for wind movement. Don’t stake too close to plant especially in high wind areas.

  • Drought & Wind tolerance

    • Deep INFREQUENT watering will encourage deep root systems
    • Drip irrigation systems minimize water use and vary flows to different plant needs
    • Don’t overwater especially in wet periods or in cooler weather
    • Water plants with shallow root systems more frequently
    • Deep root systems assist plants to maintain in strong wind situations

  • Simple Soil Drainage Test

    Dig hole and fill with water. If water drains in 30-60 minutes it is a good indication of well-draining soil

  • Growing in Containers

    • Grow in a well-drained mix e.g. Cactus Mix with no added fertilizers
    • Can fertilize with Slow Release LOW PHOSPHORUS N:P:K 17:3:6
    • Regular water – do not allow to dry out completely
    • Prune for compact growth after flowering

  • Pruning

    • Prune for compact growth habit
    • Shorter-lived shrubs benefit from pruning after flowering.
    • Restrict pruning Proteas to last years growth
    • Recommend Protea Flora Website for tips on pruning protea family

  • Yellowing in Alkaline Soils

    • Growing acid loving plants in alkaline soils often produces chlorotic (yellowing) foliage.
    • Use Soil sulphur and Iron Chelate as foliar spray and root drench to correct this problem.
    • If planting in alkaline soils add sulphur at planting.
    • Iron Chelate provides plants with iron in the short term until the sulphur “kicks in” 4-6 months later.
    • Why use Sulphur? Sulphur is converterd by bacteria in the soil into sulphuric acid which increases the concentration of hydrogen ions in the soil, thus lowering the pH.



Did you know?

large overgrown plants in small pots are invariably pot-bound and seldom develop into healthy plants?

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