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. 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
Add a silvery green shimmer to your planting schemes with this special little native. Great contrast plant that makes a wonderful formal hedge or topiary specimen as it clips extremely well. Equally attractive planted in informal groups. Easy to grow. Evergreen. PVR.
Corokia are tolerant of coastal conditions, very hardy and thrive in just about any soil though their preference is for an open sunny site. Very quick to establish. If not trimmed to hard the little yellow flowers will turn into red berries in the autumn that birds love.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m 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
This lovely dwarf Corokia has unusual almost black foliage with a hint of silver. Fabulous combined with other grey or silver foliage plants. Perhaps plant a group around a stunning black container. Ideal for hedging as it clips well. Tough and easy to grow. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m x 75cm
Something just a little different. This Corokia has creamy leaves splashed with green and just a little hint of pink. Soft silver felt highlights the leaves from underneath. All this is set against black stems. Use to add contrast. Easy to grow and clips well. Evergreen.
Colour: Yellow Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m x 1m
Native. NZ's iconic national symbol the 'Silver Fern' is relatively easy to grow in a semi-shaded position with humus rich soil and protection from harsh frost. Forms an erect trunk topped off with a crown of green fronds with distinctive silver-white undersides. Evergreen.
It is important that your 'Silver Fern' does not completely dry out in long hot summers. As you will be sitting under it for shade remember to give it a drink when you're having a cold one!
Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 4.5m x 3m
Native. Large tree fern with black-stalked leaves to 5m long. It produces a distinctive, tall, black trunk topped with a pale green umbrella-like canopy. Prefers plenty of moisture, mulch, shelter from the wind and protection from frost when young. Full to semi-shade. Evergreen.
Prefers a moist but well drained soil with plenty of organic matter. Water regularly during hot periods
Native. Soft and delicate looking fronds spread horizontally from the crown reaching 2-2.5m in length. The trunk is covered in chestnut coloured scales. Plant in a sheltered position in moist humus rich soil. Water during dry spells. Evergreen
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
A handsome yet graceful NZ native tree. The foliage is dark green and needle like with bronze over tones covering the drooping pendulous branches. Happiest protected from hot sun and strong winds. Slow growing but well worth planting. Evergreen. Height estimate after 10 years.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 6m x 3m