There are so many good reasons to plant a New Zealand native as gardeners all over the world have discovered. During a recent trip to Europe I swear I saw a Cabbage Tree (Corydline) in every back yard I peeked into! Here at home, planting a NZ Native is really an act of conservation as it ensures the continuation of native plant species. Along with that there is the added bonus of attracting native birds to your garden and beneficial native insects. However before we get too "Green" and serious lets just apreciate the wonderful layers of colour, texture and distinctive form that NZ Natives offer the gardener.
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What could be more architectural than a Cabbage Tree? Perhaps the only competitor would be our NZ Flaxes (Phormiums) which are available in small, medium and large with a wide colour palette. These cannot be beaten for toughness and adaptability and are simply fabulous planted en masse. Can you imagine New Zealand without Kowhai trees (Sophora) driping with bright yellow bells in summer and being squabbled over by noisy Tui's? Did you know that some Kowhai plants only reach 1m and are therefore ideal for smaller gardens or container growing? And what about our own unique Christmas Tree, the Pohutakawa (Metrosideros) which is so easy and rewarding to grow in frost free areas.
You won't get a better ground cover for difficult sites than our native Coprosma varieties. Then there are native "grasses" for mass planting and Hebes for adding year round colour. Corokias and Pittosporums for hedging, windbreaks, or no nonsense background foliage fillers. Did you know that the shy Pittosporum flowers have an exquisite perfume? Pseudopanax offer unique foliage form and colour and are ideal for adding height. In garden design our native plants can stand alone or combine superbly with exotic imports to provide a rich tapestry.
For best results plant Native plants in early spring in a well considered position as, just like us, they resent being moved unnecessarily. Other than that most natives are extremely easy and rewarding to grow.
A stunning native cultivar that originates from the Chatham Islands. Strong broad swords of arching foliage toned a sensuous metallic silver. Use in groups for a bold dramatic statement. Tolerant of sun or part shade but hates "wet feet". Looks fabulous in a container. Hardy and evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m
The perfect plant to add texture and movement to your planting scheme. The arching narrow foliage sways gracefully in the wind. Plumes of creamy green flowers appear in early summer. Hardy and tolerant, easy to grow just about anywhere but prefers a well drained position. Evergreen.
Colour: Cream Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m x 1m
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NZ Native. This form was discovered on cliffs near Hawera. It is a ground hugging native that forms a tight mat of small narrow olive green leaves. Excellent landscape plant for covering large areas of ground. Hardy, tolerant of cold and wind. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 200cm
Native. Chocolate without the calories! The soft melted chocolate colour of the leaves combines well with other foliage and looks fantastic as a formal hedge with a difference. Easy to grow and clips extremely well. Yellow flowers in spring followed by berries that birds love. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1m
Native. A tough, hardy shrub discovered by the late Mike Geenty in the Waikato. A top plant for hedging or background planting. Attractive olive-green leaves, small yellow flowers in spring followed by red berries that birds love. Tolerates regular trimming. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1.5m
Native. Mountain Toe Toe. Graceful, arching, green swords of foliage form a robust clump and are topped off with tall creamy white flower plumes in late spring. Very hardy and easy to grow in sun or part shade. Evergreen.
NB Not to be confused with Cortaderia sellona AKA as Pampas which is a banned plant.
Colour: Cream Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1.5m
This NZ native can reach over 60m when fully mature but that takes quite some time, our height is for 10 year growth. Juvenile trees have fine drooping bronze 'needles' which eventually change to a green, more a flattened leaf. Produces berries which are loved by birds. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 7m x 4m
With bright green tightly packed foliage that forms a natural mound this little Hebe is great for planting in groups to add interest and contrast to planting schemes. Dainty white flowers appear in summer but they are not the main feature. Plant in sun or part shade in well drained soil. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Mounding Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 30cm
Named for the young Prince George, this is a very tidy, attractive hebe. Bred in the Waikato as part of the royal series. The green and glossy foliage stays clean and compact all year. Masses of royal blue flowers appear in sumnmer across the top of the branches making an appealing display. Trim back after flowering to keep tidy. PVR eligible.
Colour: Blue Habit: Compact Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 75cm x 75cm
A very pretty little Hebe that will add some sweetness to the garden. Glossy olive green foliage that is topped off with racemes of pink flowers in spring and autumn. The flowers gradually fade to white. Plant in a sunny well drained spot and trim after flowering. Evergreen.
Colour: Pink / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
March 2019 Release. Bred in the Waikato as part of the Regal series of Hebe. Louis is a low growing variety, white flowering, easy to grow and will be a real charmer! The glossy green foliage stays clean and compact all year round. A hardy New Zealand native plant.Trim back after flowering to keep tidy. PVR eligible Evergreen
Colour: White Habit: Prostrate Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 15cm x 100cm
Native. A top performing Hebe with striking variegated foliage that looks good all year round. From spring through until autumn violet-blue spikes of bloom appear and contrast very well with the foliage. Tolerant of high wind and coastal conditions and generally quite hardy. Evergreen.
Colour: Purple Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 0.9m x 0.6m
Phormium cookianum Purpurea is a smaller red foliage variety of mountain flax. Gracefully drooping long bronze leaves and in spring long flower spikes, loved by native birds. This all purpose plant adds colour and texture to your garden. Thrives in wet or dry soils and tolerates sunny, shady and exposed areas. Evergreen
Colour: Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
Native. An easy to grow and well behaved native tree with attractive, undulating, pale green foliage. The small dark purple flowers emit a heady fragrance in the spring evening air. Great for screening, hedges and for background foliage. Trims well. Evergreen.
Colour: Purple / Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 5m x 3m
Ribbonwood. A native tree that is worth consideration for any planting scheme. When young the interlacing branches are covered in small dainty leaves. The leaves and whole tree become more graceful upon maturity. Quite easy to grow and remarkably wind tolerant. Deciduous.
Colour: Yellow / Green Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 5m x 4m
This is a very special tree that hails from South Africa and is in the same family as our much loved Totara. The dark evergreen foliage is quite unique in appearance and has an attractive drooping, curving habit. Very tolerant and easy to grow but matures slowly. Very handsome specimen tree.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 7m x 4m
Native. A handsome specimen tree for sun or part shade. The stiff narrow leaves are a beautiful golden shade and complement the reddish brown bark. Slow growing, hardy and tolerant of all conditions except wet 'feet'. Height given is 10 year estimate. Evergreen.
Totara were a valuable timer source in early NZ. Maori also used large specimens to craft their war canoes. The peeling bark was used for roofing material and for fashioning food baskets.