Plant Guide

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z #

Coastal

nerine-sarniensis

Nerine sarniensis

Guernsey lily, Jersey lily, red nerine, berglelie

Perennial bulb, native to South Africa, with strap-shaped leaves and umbels of up to 20 lily-like flowers. The plant is dormant during summer, sending up flower stems in early autumn, with new leaves emerging soon afterwards. The leaves are rather like those of Agapanthus. The bright reddish orange flowers are funnel-shaped with recurved petals and protruding stamens. Breeding has led to several hybrids and cultivars with flower colours ranging from white to pink, red, and purple.

It is not clear how bulbs of this South African plant ended up on the island of Guernsey more than 300 years ago, but they continue to be grown there for cut flower production.

Nerine sarniensis prefers well-draining soil and full sun or a position where it receives sunlight for at least half of the day. Plant with the top part of the bulb (neck) exposed. Keep dry during summer, but, depending on the amount of rain fall, regular watering may be required during the growing season. Careful with fertilising, in particular with fertilsers high in nitrogen; this may encourage leaf-growth at the expense of flower production. Flowering can be erratic and fluctuating from year to year, possibly due to variations in environmental conditions.Tolerates brief periods of moderate frosts. Propagate by division, detaching the new bulbs that form around the main bulb, and replanting them straight away.

Allow this beauty to be the star of early autumn and combine with plants that take over that role at other times of the year. Flowers last well on water. If you live in an area with cold winters, you can still enjoy Nerine sarniensis by growing the plant in a container and moving it indoors to overwinter in a well-lit place with good ventilation.

nerium-oleander

Nerium oleander

Oleander

Evergreen shrub or small (usually multi-stemmed) tree, flowering in summer with 2.5-5 cm wide, white, pink, or reddish pink flowers in clusters at the end of the branches. Dark green, lanceolate to linear leaves, 5-20 cm long, 1 to 3 cm wide, arranged in twos or threes. Flowers may be, but are not always, scented. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Indigestion can be fatal. Contact with the flowers or foliage may cause severe allergic reactions, so wear long sleeves and gloves when handling Nerium oleander. Its native region stretches from the Mediterranean area to India and Southern China.

The common name alludes to its resemblance to the olive, Olea. Nerium oleander is the official flower of Hiroshima, being the first to flower after the atomic bombing of the city.

Easy to grow in just about any soil. Requires very little maintenance. Prefers a sunny position, but copes with partial shade. Established plants generally don't require fertilisation. Prune for shape in autumn. Can be pruned quite hard. Avoid touching the milky latex that exudes from the cut stems. Tolerates drought, coastal conditions, and moderate frosts (zones 8-11). Suitable for exposed sites, although strong winds may damage flower buds and open flowers. Yellowing of the leaves is usually a sign that the soil is too wet.

A magnificent sight when the plant is completely covered with flowers in summer. There are many cultivars available, with single or double flowers, and in a range of colours. In cold climates, Nerium oleander can be grown in a container and brought indoors for the winter.

olearia-paniculata

Olearia paniculata

akiraho

Evergreen shrub to 2-4 m tall or, when given sufficient space, a small tree to 6 m tall and 3 m wide, native to New Zealand. Light green, oval to oblong, leathery leaves, 3-10 cm long, 2-4 cm wide. Leaf margins are usually very wavy, but may be flat. Leaf undersides are covered with fine grey-white tomentum. Inconspicuous, creamy white, sweetly scented flower heads are produced in autumn. Occurs naturally in coastal areas, montane scrublands and forest margins of the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

Prefers a sunny or partially shaded position in well-draining soil. Tolerates moderate frosts, and dry, windy, and coastal conditions. Frost hardy throughout New Zealand. Responds well to trimming.

Excellent hedge or screen for coastal sites. Attractive foliage plant with an interesting texture and bright green colour.

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-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'. 

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.

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.

protea-neriifolia-limelight

Protea neriifolia 'Limelight'

Evergreen shrub with lanceolate leaves, flowering mainly during autumn and winter with creamy-green flower-heads with purple-red tufts on the bracts. Similar to, but a smaller shrub with smaller flowers than 'Green Ice'

'Limelight' (= 'Green Jade') is a cultivar developed in 1950 in New Zealand, originating from the oleander-leaved or narrow-leaved Protea neriifolia, which is endemic to South Africa.

Prefers a sunny position in acidic, and relatively poor soil. Any soil type is suitable but it must be well-draining. A yearly application of blood and bone in spring is recommended, but otherwise keep the nutrient levels low and don't apply any further fertilisers. In general, proteas dislike humidity, so a relatively windy site is ideal, since the wind keeps the humidity down. Staking will be required in very windy locations. No additional watering is necessary, except maybe in extremely dry summers. Mulch to keep the weeds down or grow as a lawn specimen, to limit the need to remove weeds around the plant and thus disturb its sensitive, shallow root system. They can be pruned quite heavily, but not beyond the foliage. Remove dead and damaged wood, as well as the by-pass shoots that the develop just below the flower-head. Suitable for coastal conditions.

Striking plant when in flower. Perfect for coastal gardens. The flowers (and foliage) last for ages on water. Just be careful not to "kill them by kindness"!

pseudopanax-cyril-watson

Pseudopanax 'Cyril Watson'

Pseudopanax lessonii hybrid in the Araliaceae family, named after Cyril Watson, a sales manager at Duncan and Davies nursery in New Plymouth, New Zealand, who was instrumental in the development and release of this plant. Bushy, slow-growing, evergreen shrub with lush, green foliage. Leaves are leathery and have 3 to 5 rounded, partially fused lobes with toothed margins. Inconspicuous, greenish flowers in summer.

Prefers a sunny or partially shaded position in any well-draining soil. Seems to cope with full shade quite well also. Tolerates moderate frosts once established, but may require frost protection when young. Trim yearly, or prune relatively hard every couple of years to keep compact and maintain a good shape.

Attractive fresh green foliage plant, perfect as a filler or backdrop for other plants. Suitable for containers.