November 11, 2021

Top 10 native plants for SA gardens

Have you ever considered introducing native plants to your garden, but not known what to choose? Take inspiration from this list of SA’s top natives.

Thomasia petalocalyx

The Nursery & Garden Industry of South Australia has collaborated with SA Water’s vegetation specialist Shaun Kennedy to produce a list of South Australian native plants that will grow well in home gardens in Adelaide and surrounding areas.

Goodenia varia

Several varieties have been selected that provide a range of groundcovers, shrubs, hedges and small trees, all of which will grow very successfully in our climate. In fact, they are plants indigenous to our South Australian region, so they should!

Mentha diemenica

“The ‘Top 10 Natives’ pilot program came out of discussions with SA Water that people often overlook natives for their garden, because of preconceived ideas,” says Neville Sloss.

Rhagodia parabolica or fragrant saltbush

“Many people think they can just ‘plant and forget’ because they’re natives, but that’s not always the case. They can get straggly and out of shape and not look that good at all, or sometimes people plant native trees that are not suited to being close to a house or driveway.

“With good selection, a little care and pruning they can look stunning in a home garden. They also offer a wonderful range of flowers and often coloured foliage right through the year.”

Myoporum parvifolium or creeping boobialla

When it comes to keeping the moisture in the soil, natives such as creeping boobialla have a hardy, lush-looking foliage that is like a dense “living mulch”. It has small white flowers from spring to autumn and will grow in a wide range of soils including coastal settings.

Correa glabra

Smooth correa is an endemic SA species forming a compact shrub with glossy, dark green leaves that have a fruity scent when crushed. Flowers are crimson grading to pale green petal tips and are attractive to honey-eaters. This correa responds well to tip pruning and can be shaped into a dense dome, low informal hedge or planted in drifts in a wide range of soils.

Billy buttons

Another to try is billy-buttons, a perennial herb from SA’s mid-north that is both hardy and colourful. Golden globular flower heads are held above domes of silvery foliage on long stems in the spring and summer. Removing spent flowers will encourage more blooms and it is also drought tolerant.

Myoporum petiolatum

Armed with this local knowledge, why not try one of SA’s Top Natives in your garden this summer?

Patersonia occidentalis

Grevillea ilicifolia

This article first appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of SALIFE Gardens and Outdoor Living magazine.


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