The British climate and its large changes in temperature can present a challenge when growing plants more used to temperate climes. However, that doesn’t mean you should write off the idea of creating a more tropical, antipodean feel to your borders or patio. Here are ten Australian suggestions you could consider in your planting scheme.
Eucalyptus gunnii (cider gum)
The Eucalyptus is the quintessential Australian tree. Crush or brush past the leaves to get a blast of that familiar, fresh scent. This variety, with its unusual beautiful blue green foliage, is perfect to use for cut flower arrangements. Easy to keep and hardy, you can leave this tree to its own devices, or it can be pruned to keep to a manageable height, or even coppiced to encourage multi stems and the rounder juvenile leaves.
Anigozanthos Manglesii (Red and green Kangaroo paw)
All Kangaroo paw varieties originate from Western Australia, and this particular type is also the official state flower. Whilst not hardy, this plant does well under cover and would enjoy the sunnier days in a sheltered patio spot.
Banksia coccinea (Scarlet Banksia)
Almost all the world’s Banksias originally hail from Australia, and this variety is considered by many to be the most attractive species. However, this can be a challenging plant to grow, with similar requirements to the Kangaroo paw.
Banksia integrifolia (Coast Banksia)
Whilst not as showy and bright as its scarlet cousin, this Banksia is from the east coast and is a far hardier beast, able to withstand quite hard frosts once the plant is established.
Cyathea australis (Rough tree fern)
Like most varieties of fern, this plant can cope with some degree of shade and is hardy down to minus 8c as long as you keep its root ball damp.
Olearia phlogopappa “combers blue” (Dusty daisy bush)
A pretty flowering shrub related to our own Michaelmas daisies, this plant prefers to be moist and in partial shade. It’s hardy and can withstand moderate frosts.
Hardenbergia comptoniana (Native wisteria)
Like many pea types, the ability to feed itself by fixing nitrogen from the air means this plant can cope even in poor soils, with little or no fertiliser. Hardy to around minus 4c, it will likely need protection over the winter, or alternatively can be grown under glass. Its masses of pretty, purple flowers make it well worth the effort.
Lomatia tinctoria (Guitar plant)
A small shrub with white scented flowers over summer, and hardy down to minus 7c, this is suitable for almost all UK gardens.
Callistemon pallidus (Lemon Bottlebrush)
Brilliant for spring colour and interest, this large, bushy shrub is frost hardy and can even be used to create a garden hedge.
Grevillea rosmarinifolia (Canberra Gem)
An evergreen shrub which has deep pink flowers, this mid-sized bush is fairly hardy, but prefers a sheltered spot.
So, next time you are considering adding to your garden, why not have think about adding some flora from down under.