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.
Native. This Flax is far more attractive than its name suggests. The arching swords of foliage are a very attractive smoky black shade with hints of moody blue. Prefers a sunny open position in soil that is not too wet. Feed regularly to maintain colour. Hardy, evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
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. A beautiful medium sized flax with the deepest wine coloured, sword shaped foliage. Imagine the effect of a large drift of these swaying in the breeze. Alternatively stunning in a container. Easy to grow in just about any condition. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Arching Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m
An excellent small green Flax with bold erect lime green foliage. Suitable for mass planting in smaller gardens or equally quite fabulous as a container plant. Easy to grow in just about any garden conditions. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow / Red Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 0.75m x 0.6m
Native. A neat and tidy little flax with fresh green upright foliage. Looks good planted in groups or can look quite striking in the right container. Hardy and easy to grow in sun or part shade. Yellow flower heads in spring-summer. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 0.75m x 0.6m
Native Flax. Little 'Jack Spratt' will not get fat as it is a delightful dwarf flax with narrow upright bronze-red leaves. Looks particularly good group planted. Tough and hardy and quite well groomed. Plant in sun or part shade. Evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 0.3m x 0.3m
Native. A very attractive dwarf flax with arching, strap like foliage that has tones of bronze and pink outlined with a deep red edge. Nice to group plant or pop one in a matching red container to add some oomph on the patio. Easy to grow in sun or part shade. Tough, hardy and evergreen.
Colour: Brown Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 80cm x 80cm
Native. A beautiful Flax with luxuriant, unfading rich purple-black swords of foliage that form a neat clump. Equally fabulous in the garden or a container and so easy to grow. Sun to part shade and soil that does not completely dry out in summer will keep this Flax looking good. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow / Red Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
Native. A very attractive Flax with arching, broad, sword like leaves in tones of bronze-green with pink margins that gradually fade to cream. Overall has a pink tone so nice to combine with grey or burgundy foliage. Plant in sun or semi-shade. Hardy, vigorous and evergreen. RHS AGM.
Colour: Brown / Yellow Habit: Clump forming Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1m