The Australian Garden demonstrates how you can use Australian plants in your own backyard; it challenges your perceptions by displaying our wonderful flora in a unique setting inspired by the landscapes of our beautiful continent.
There is an Australian plant suitable for virtually any situation in your garden, from tall trees to ground covers, aquatic plants to those growing in low light or in full sun. Australian plants attract native birds and butterflies, and brighten up your garden with wonderful seasonal colour.
In our increasingly water-conscious world, many Australian plants are ideally suited to today’s gardens. When you consider that Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth, this makes perfect sense. Australian plants have successfully adapted to these prevailing dry conditions.
The Water Saving Garden in the Australian Garden demonstrates that using water-wise Australian plants is an easy way to reduce your water consumption without sacrificing beauty or diversity in your garden.
Some people still believe that Australian plants require no maintenance. Of course, this is not true and this misunderstanding has led to the woody garden specimens that give Australian plants such a poor reputation. While Australian plants are generally low maintenance, pruning when young, ensures vigorous, healthy plants.
Top tips for growing Australian native plants
- Understand your garden and select plants that are well matched to its conditions.
- Group together plants with similar growing requirements; for example, sun-loving plants grow best in the open; shade-loving plants are best in protected areas of the garden.
- Select plants that have long flowering periods and mix species that flower at different times of the year to ensure that there is always something in flower.
- Most flowering native shrubs will benefit from pruning after flowering. This keeps plants from getting woody and ensures good flowering the following season.
- The use of mulch on garden beds is recommended. Mulch can retain soil moisture and suppress weeds. Organic mulches have the added bonus of conditioning the soil; however, organic mulches if applied too thickly can prevent rainfall from reaching the soil. Apply organic mulches, such as leaf letter, woodchips and bark mulches, to a depth of no more than 5 cm.
- Many Australian plants will benefit from applications of fertilizer in late winter and early spring. Generally speaking avoid fertilizers with high Phosphorus levels as Australian soils are typically low in Phosphorus. There are a number of specific native fertilizers that are ideal as they have been formulated specifically for a wide range of native plants.
- Avoid planting over the hot summer months. Planting in autumn, winter and early spring is ideal with cooler conditions and the prospect of some available soil moisture.
- When planting, mound soil outside the drip line of the plant to create a slight dish effect. This will help with initial watering-in of the plant.
- Manage weed growth around you plants. Weeds, whilst unsightly, are also very good at competing with your native plants for water, light and nutrients.
- Grow plants for cut flowers. It’s a wonderful thing to walk out into the garden and have a supply of flowers that can be brought into the house.
- Come in and our visit our knowledgeable and friendly Volunteer Master Gardeners. Our volunteers are on-hand to answer your gardening questions in the Australian Garden from 11 am to 3 pm, seven days a week.
- Copies of The Plants of the Australian Garden are for sale at RBG Cranbourne and RBG Melbourne Gardens Shop. This book will provide you with information about the water requirements of the plants you see in the Australian Garden.
- Australian Native Plants Nurseries (MS word - 127 kb) Melbourne and Greater Melbourne Area
- Australian Orchids fact sheet (MS Word - 9 mb)
Last updated 07 Sep 2011