Plant Guide

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Categories starting with P

Plant Type (238)

Plant Type

Herbaceous (50), Shrub (135), Trees (57), Climber (15), Bulb (8)

Items starting with P

pachystegia-insignis

Pachystegia insignis

Marlborough rock daisy, Kaikoura rock daisy, rock tree daisy

Low-growing flowering plant in the daisy family, endemic to New Zealand. Occurs naturally in exposed, rocky areas along the coast and on inland mountains in Marlborough and Northern Canterbury. Leathery, dark green leaves, 7-17 cm long, covered with tiny white hairs. Daisy-like white flowers to 7.5 cm across, with yellow centers emerge in spring from grey-white buds held above the foliage like felted drumsticks. The flowers are followed by fluffy, pale brown seed heads.

Synonyms: Olearia insignis, Olearia marginata. Of the three species in the genus Pachystegia, P. insignis is the most common, both in cultivation and in nature. Pachystegia rufa is similar to P. insignis, but has brownish felt on the flower buds, leaf-undersides, and the flower stems. Pachystegia minor is also very similar to the Marlborough rock daisy, but has smaller leaves without the white leaf margins. 

Prefers a sunny position in very well-draining soil. Can handle part shade, but will have a more open habit. Drought-tolerant. No maintenance required, other than pruning back if and when required. Usually trouble-free as long as the soil is sufficiently dry. Tolerates moderate frosts and is hardy throughout New Zealand.

Excellent choice for exposed, coastal sites. Looks attractive all year round with its grey-green foliage, silvery-grey flower buds and flower stems, the daisy-like flowers and fluffy seed-heads. Combine for example with grasses, succulents or ground covers such as Acaena inermis 'Purpurea' (as in the photographs).

pandorea-jasminoides

Pandorea jasminoides

bower of beauty, bower vine, bower climber

Vigorous evergreen climber in the Bignoniaceae family. Native to parts of New South Wales and Queensland in Australia. Glossy, odd-pinnately compound leaves with 4 to 7 ovate to lanceolate leaflets. Flowering in summer with white to pale pink trumpet-shaped flowers with dark rosy pink throats, followed by long seed pods.

Flowers best when planted in full sun and well-draining soil, but can also be grown in partial shade. Prune after flowering. Can be cut back hard. Once established, Pandorea jasminoides can cope quite well with extended dry periods. Tolerates light frost only when young.

Pandorea jasminoides reliably puts on a fantastic show during summer. It will need support to climb, and you may want to keep an eye on it once it is established to make sure it doesn't grow out of proportions! Suitable for coastal gardens.

phlomis-russeliana

Phlomis russeliana

Turkish sage, (sticky) Jerusalem sage

Evergreen perennial, native to Turkey and Syria, forming large clumps of large, heart-shaped, grey-green, rough-textured, aromatic leaves. Pale yellow flowers arranged in whorls on hairy, erect stems, appear in late spring or early summer. The flowers turn into brown seed-heads that persist on the plant well into winter, providing food for seed eating birds. The nectar in the flowers attracts bees and butterflies.

Synonym: Phlomis samia. Sometimes referred to as Phlomis viscosa.

Prefers a sunny position in well-draining, sandy soil. Copes well with partial shade too. Usually trouble-free and easy to grow. Once established Phlomis russeliana tolerates dry conditions. Cut back to near ground-level in late autumn, winter, or any time you no longer want the seedheads.  Frost hardy (USDA zones 4-9). Propagate from seed or division. Seed-propagated plants flower from their second year on.

A gorgeous plant with year-round interest; beautiful, bold ground-covering foliage with strong, stout flowering stems and attractive seed-heads. Once in flower, Phlomis russeliana can be quite dominant, so find a spot in your garden where it can be the primadonna, or combine with plants that have equally strong personalities to make a real show.

phormium-chocomint

Phormium 'Chocomint'

Flax of hybrid origin, developed in New Zealand and protected by NZ Plant Variety Rights. The arching leaves are evergreen, chocolate brown, edged with bright olive green, and usually with a lighter midrib. They are 3-5 cm wide and up to 1 m long. Flowers attract nectar-feeding birds.

Prefers a sunny or partially shaded position in relatively dry, free-draining soil. In humid areas, select an exposed site to reduce the incidence of foliar diseases. Tolerates wind, coastal conditions, and medium frosts. Tidy up once a year by removing old leaves at the base. 

Primarily grown as a foliage plant for its colour and shape. From a distance the overall appearance is dark greenish-brown. Looks great when planted in groups or even as a single plant in smaller areas where the gorgeous brown with green colour combination of the foliage can be appreciated. Suitable for containers. Great contrast plant when surrounded by finer-leaved species.

phormium-surfer

Phormium 'Surfer'

flax 'Surfer'

A tough little flax with narrow, olive green leaves and reddish-brown leaf margins. Usually, some of the leaves have an obviously twisted section. Its little brother Phormium 'Surfer Bronze' has chocolate-bronze foliage. Phormium 'Surfer' may produce long spikes with orange-bronze flowers in late spring.

Phormium 'Surfer' is very easy to grow in a sunny or partially shaded position in well-draining soil. It can handle drought once established, and also copes well in windy locations. Frost hardy to about minus 12 deg Celsius (zones 8-11). Suitable for coastal gardens.

Nearly daily I walk past a garden where groups of Phormium 'Surfer' have been planted in the shade of large trees. They look awesome even though they don't appear to grow any taller. The ones in the photographs are planted in full sun, and after one year they are fuller and bigger than the plants in deep shade.                                                                                                  

Phormium 'Surfer' looks great in groups, especially when combined with grasses and groundcovers such as Coprosma acerosa. I also love the beautiful colour combination of the bronze-purple foliage of Loropetalum 'Burgundy' and the bronze-edged leaves of Phormium 'Surfer'. 

photinia-fraseri-red-robin

Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin'

Evergreen shrub with vibrant red young growth. Photinia x fraseri is a hybrid between Photinia glabra and Photinia serratifolia. The cultivar 'Red Robin' was developed in New Zealand, and is widely used as a colourful hedge. Glossy, elliptic to obovate leaves to 10 cm long, bright red when young, turning dark green on maturity. Panicles of small, creamy white flowers during spring.

Best foliage colour in full sun, but is also suitable for a partially shaded position. Grows in any fertile, neutral or acid, well-draining soil. Reasonably wind tolerant.  Not recommended for very exposed sites, coastal gardens or wet, waterlogged soils. Frost hardy once established, but needs protection from harsh frosts when young. A light prune during the growing season promotes the production of young leaves and thus prolongs the intense foliage colour display. Tolerates hard pruning. May be affected by fireblight, a bacterial disease that causes the leaves to wilt and turns the branches black as if the plant is scorched by fire. Remove affected plants to prevent spreading the disease to other susceptible plants.

Spectacular hedging plant with brilliant red young foliage. Can be grown as a small standard tree, filler or specimen shrub.

phylica-pubescens

Phylica pubescens

featherhead, flannel flower

Evergreen shrub from South Africa with narrow grey-green leaves densely covered with soft hairs. Tiny flowers with a very mild cinnamon scent, surrounded by showy, hairy, golden creamy bracts appear at the ends of the branches in autumn through to late winter. Often sold as the smaller growing Phylica plumosa (.3-.6 m tall).

Happiest in full sun and well-draining soil. Copes well with dry conditions and is suitable for coastal gardens. Tolerates light to medium frosts (to about -6 degrees Celsius).

This would be the perfect plant for a 'tactile' garden; it feels so nice and soft. Lasts well on water as a cut flower or cut foliage, and can also dried. Once in flower, Phylica pubescens looks amazing since the whole plant is usually covered with its unusual flowers.

pittosporum-crassifolium

Pittosporum crassifolium

karo

New Zealand native evergreen shrub or small tree. Thick, leathery, obovate leaves with rolled down margins, about 6 cm long and 2 cm wide. The leaf undersides and petioles are covered with a dense whitish tomentum. Deep red, fragrant, unisexual flowers in spring, the female ones turning into three- or four-valved seed capsules which eventually split open to reveal shiny black seeds. Provides food for native and exotic birds. Originally occurred naturally near the coast, along streams and in forest margins in the North Island of New Zealand from the North Cape to Poverty Bay, and in the Kermadic Islands. Karo is now naturalised throughout most of New Zealand.

Prefers a sunny or semi-shady position in free-draining soil. Tolerates wind, coastal conditions, relatively dry sites, and moderate frosts (zones 9-11). Usually quite fast growing and problem-free. Prune yearly. Benefits from mulch and compost.

Tough plant with a grey-green overall appearance. Suitable for hedging purposes. The flowers release a delightful scent at night. Excellent choice for seaside gardens as a filler or background plant.

pittosporum-eugenioides-variegatum

Pittosporum eugenioides 'Variegatum'

variegated tarata, variegated lemonwood

Bushy evergreen tree or shrub with variegated foliage. The leaves are 10-15 cm long, 2-4 cm wide, mid green, blotched along the wavy margins with creamy white. Foliage emits a lemon-like scent when crushed, hence the common name. Terminal clusters of honey-scented, 1-1.5 cm wide, pale yellow flowers during spring.

Pittosporum eugenioides is native to New Zealand where it occurs throughout the country along stream banks, forest margins and in forest clearings from sea level to about 600 m. The variegated form grows a bit slower than the species itself. It has a tapering habit when young, filling out to an open topped tree later on. 

Prefers a sunny or partially shaded position in any well-draining soil. Is more tolerant of damp and heavy soils than most other Pittosporum species, but growth will be compromised. Tolerates coastal conditions, moderately strong winds, and medium frosts.

Suitable for hedging or screening purposes. Good contrasting plant in mixed plantings. Also ideal as a specimen tree in particular when pruned to show off the pale grey bark.

Foliage is often used in floral arrangements.

pittosporum-tenuifolium-golfball

Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Golf Ball'

Evergreen cultivar of the New Zealand native Pittosporum tenuifolium (kohuhu), forming a compact shrub with small light green oval leaves 2-3 cm long. Tiny black or purplish black flowers of about .6 cm across.

Prefers a sunny or semi-shaded position and well-draining soil. Moderately fast growing under average garden conditions. Growth rate is reduced in shade. Avoid wet sites. Responds well to trimming. Tolerates moderate frosts.

Lovely fresh green foliage plant. Tends to grow into a rounded shrub by itself, and with a little help it can be maintained as a perfect ball-shaped plant. A great alternative to the much slower-growing Buxus sempervirens.

pittosporum-tenuifolium-silver-sheen

Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Sheen'

Cultivar of the New Zealand native Pittosporum tenuifolium (kohuhu) with dainty foliage and black branches. Fast growing evergreen shrub or small tree. Tiny leaves with a silvery-grey sheen, round initially and gradually becoming oval in shape.

Prefers a position in full sun. Growth is a bit more open in partial shade. Grows well in any well-drained soil other than heavy clay. Reasonably drought tolerant. Avoid wet sites. Frost-hardy throughout New Zealand, and in general tolerates moderate frosts. Fertilise with general purpose fertiliser in spring and autumn. Responds well to trimming.

Attractive plant with delicate foliage and lovely colour contrasts of silver leaves and black branches. Great choice for hedging purposes. If you wish to grow Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Sheen' as a specimen, plant it where you can see the leaves shimmer in the sun. Cut branchlets are suitable for floral art.

pittosporum-tenuifolium-variegatum

Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Variegatum'

variegated kohuhu, variegated tawhiwhi

Evergreen shrub or small tree with variegated foliage, native to New Zealand. Leaves are flat (as opposed to wavy like the species itself), greyish green with white margins, similar to Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Argenteum Variegatum' but larger and more pointed, to about 5 cm long. Small (to 1 cm wide) dark reddish-black, honey-scented fowers with reflexed petals in spring. Dark grey bark.

Prefers a sunny or semi-shaded position in any, well-draining soil. Tolerates medium frosts and is frost hardy throughout New Zealand. Pittosporum tenuifolium is not as tolerant as Pittosporum crassifolium of coastal conditions and strong winds, but copes reasonably well with dry conditions. Tends to loose its leaves if conditions are too wet.

Ideal as a specimen tree for foliage colour, or as a hedge or screening plant.

plumbago-auriculata

Plumbago auriculata

blue plumbago, Cape leadwort, Cape plumbago

Evergreen shrub in the Plumbaginaceae family, native to South Africa, with long,slender stems, glossy, mid-green foliage and pale blue, phlox-like flowers. The spoon-shaped leaves are about 5 cm long. Flowers are tubular (2.5 cm long), with five petals, and are produced on current season's wood in 15 cm wide, terminal racemes, mainly during late summer and autumn. Plumbago auriculata 'Royal Cape' has more intense blue flowers.

Synonym: Plumbago capensis.

Prefers a position in full sun and well-draining, slightly acidic soil, protected from strong winds. Flowering is somewhat reduced in partial shade. Suitable for coastal areas. Reasonably drought tolerant once established. Prune after flowering or any time during winter to create a more bushy and compact shrub. If damage occurs after moderate frosts, the plant usually recovers (USDA zones 8B-11).

When left to grow without pruning, Plumbago auriculata forms an open shrub with graceful, arching branches. You can grow this as a climber by tying the branches to a support structure like a trellis. Plant next to pink-flowering shrubs for a lovely, soft, colour combination. Add plants with a stronger shape (such as Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Golf ball' or clipped Buxus sempervirens balls) and different textural qualities (such as Phormium 'Green Dwarf' or other plants with spiky or strap-shaped foliage).

podocarpus-totara-aurea

Podocarpus totara 'Aurea'

golden totara

Golden-leafed cultivar of Podocarpus totara, a New Zealand native conifer. Pyramidal to columnar growth habit. The needle-like leaves are linear, sessile, 1-3 cm long, 2-4 mm wide. Leaf colour varies somewhat during the year from light green in spring, changing to yellow in summer, and deepening to golden yellow in winter.

Plant in full sun for best foliage colour. Prefers well-draining soil. Tolerates dry conditions once established. Responds well to trimming and is suitable for hedging purposes. Tends to have a bushy habit with foliage from ground level, but can be trained to grow as a specimen tree from an early age by selecting one shoot to become the central leader and gradually removing the side shoots. Make sure to stake the tree when planting in an exposed position. Suitable for coastal gardens.Tolerates moderate frosts, and is hardy throughout New Zealand.

Smaller and slower growing than the species itself, Podocarpus totara 'Aurea' can be accomodated in garden settings for many years. Forms a nice dense hedge.

podranea-ricasoliana

Podranea ricasoliana

Port St Johns creeper, pink trumpet vine, Zimbabwe creeper, queen of Sheba, Port St Johns klimop, pink tecoma

Evergreen climber in the Bignoniaceae family with glossy, pinnately compound leaves and showy flowers in clusters during summer. Oval leaflets, 2-9 cm long, with entire to sparsely toothed margins. The trumpet-shaped, 6-8 cm long flowers are pink with darker pink to red stripes. Sometimes the flowers are followed by seed capsules that look like long, narrow green beans (to about 25 cm long and 0.5-1 cm wide). Origin uncertain: possibly indigenous to South Africa, but may have been introduced there by slave traders.

Synonyms: Tecoma ricasoliana, Pandorea ricasoliana, Bignonia rosea.

Prefers a position in full sun, but will handle partial shade. Grows in any rich, well-draining soil. Tolerates coastal conditions and wind. Mature plants can cope with moderate frosts (to about -7 0C). Once established, Podranea ricasoliana is reasonably drought tolerant. It does not produce tendrils, so needs to be tied to a support structure, and can be espaliered. Prune in winter or early spring. In parts of New Zealand this plant is regarded as a weed and a threat for the native vegetation.

Vigorous climber with attractive foliage and a spectacular candy-floss pink flower display in late summer. Great choice where you want a fast cover for fences, walls, arches, or pergolas. Could be used as a ground cover, sprawling over rocks and banks. Grow in a large container in cold climates and move indoors during winter.