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 #

Flower display

abutilon-hybridum

Abutilon x hybridum

Chinese lantern

A large group of hybrids with pendent, bell-shaped, 4-8 cm long flowers during most of the year in colours ranging from white to pink, yellow and orange to red. Attracts nectar-seeking birds. Lobed, toothed, mid green, maple-like leaves up to 15 cm long. Fast growing in suitable conditions.

Prefers a sheltered position in well-draining soil with even moisture levels and full sun or partial shade. In hot climates, protect Abutilon x hybridum from afternoon sun to prevent stress due to wilting of the leaves. Can handle some wind exposure, but since the stems are relatively weak, staking is required when there is insufficient shelter. Pinch out the tips of young plants to encourage branching and subsequently prune regularly to keep compact. Tolerates light to moderate frosts. Easy to propagate from cuttings.

Elegant shrub with pretty flowers. The leaves with a lovely shade of green lend themselves perfectly as a backdrop for other, smaller plants in borders. Suitable as an indoor pot plant as long as it receives sufficient light.

acacia-baileyana

Acacia baileyana

Cootamundra wattle, Bailey's wattle, golden wattle, golden mimosa

Evergreen tree, native to Australia, flowering from a young age during winter and early spring with yellow globose flower heads (0.5-1 cm wide) arranged in racemes to about 10 cm long. The flowers are followed by 4-10 cm long, purple-brown to black seed pods. Feathery, silver-grey, bi-pinnately compound leaves. Unfortunately, Acacia baileyana is considered a weed in parts of Australia.

Synonym: Racosperma baileyanum.

Prefers a sunny position in any well-draining soil. Tolerates extended drought periods and moderate frosts (to about -7 degC). Ok for coastal gardens.

Acacia baileyana looks magnificent when in flower; completely smothered by bright yellow flowers.

ageratum-houstonianum

Ageratum houstonianum

flossflower or pussy foot

Downy, toothed leaves. Small blue or lavender flower heads, grouped in large clusters, during summer and autumn. Several cultivars available, including dwarf forms suitable as bedding plants, and pink or white-flowering forms. Often grown as an annual plant.

Synonym: Ageratum mexicanum.

Prefers a sunny position in well-draining soil. Can survive medium frosts, but will get above-ground frost damage. Cut back to ground-level after flowering. Very easy to propagate from cuttings.

Gorgeous blue, fluffy flowers that last well on water. If you would like to be able to pick the flowers, then make sure not to plant a dwarf form. Combine with other blue/purple flowering plants and a touch of orange.

ajuga-reptans-jungle-beauty

Ajuga reptans 'Jungle Beauty'

Fast growing ground cover, forming a dense, evergreen carpet, and flowering freely during early spring. Larger leafed and faster spreading cultivar of Ajuga reptans, which is native to Europe, and commonly known as bugle, bugleweed, bugleherb and carpetweed. Glossy, crinkly, rounded, dark green leaves, tinged with bronze-purple. Deep blue flowers arranged in spikes up to 30 cm long. Growth habit is similar to strawberry plants in that it spreads with runners that form new rooted plants at various distances from the mother plant. Vigorous spreader, but easily controlled in garden settings.

Prefers a position in partial shade in any well-drained soil, but can also be planted in full shade or sun. Frost hardy. No maintenance required other than keeping the plant from spreading to areas where you don't want it. Easily propagated by removing rooted portions of the runners from the mother plant and replanting these elsewhere.

Excellent choice for covering the ground in shady areas or under trees. The blue flowers look particularly attractive when combined with light green foliage plants. Good edging plant, and lovely addition to rock gardens. Suitable for containers as long as they are watered regularly.

albizia-julibrissin

Albizia julibrissin

silk tree, Persian silk tree, silky acacia, mimosa tree, pink siris

Broad-headed, deciduous tree, native to West- and East Asia, from Iran to Japan. Fern-like, bipinnately compound leaves. Fragrant, pink, 4 cm long, pom-pom-like flowers in summer, followed by flat seed-pods (10-15 cm long). Albizia julibrissin is widely grown as an ornamental tree, but has become invasive in some parts of the world. Once established, it is difficult to eradicate due to its ability to re-sprout readily and the longevity of its seed.

Prefers a sunny position in well-draining soil. Tolerates moderate frosts (zones 8-12), and a wide range of soils, including sand and clay. Prone to Fusarium wilt, a fatal fungal disease. Reasonably wind-hardy and drought-tolerant once established.

Albizia julibrissin with its relatively flat umbrella-shaped crown and delicate, deciduous foliage, is a graceful tree suitable as a shade tree, and perfect for flower display in summer. Since the flowers are positioned above the foliage, the tree would suit a spot where you can look down on the canopy.

aloe-arborescens

Aloe arborescens

krantz aloe, candelabra aloe, octopus plant, torch plant

Succulent evergreen perennial plant from southern Africa. Bluish-green, toothed leaves with tapering and curved tips, arranged in rosettes at the end of branches. Very striking, bright orange to red, nectar-producing, tubular flowers in racemes on long stems during winter.

The specific epithet 'arborescens' means tree-like. The word krantz in the common name refers to 'rocky cliff' in Afrikaans.

Prefers a sunny position in well-draining soil. Suitable for coastal areas.

aloysia-citrodora

Aloysia citrodora

lemon verbena, lemon beebrush, sweet-scented verbena, lemon-scented verbena, lemon tree, herb Louisa, verbena oil plant

Shrub in the Verbenaceae family, native to South America, evergreen in tropical areas, but deciduous everywhere else. Lance-shaped, mid green leaves with a somewhat rough upper surface, about 8 cm long, arranged in whorls of three. Foliage emits a strong lemon scent. Panicles with tiny white or lilac flowers in summer.

Synonyms: Aloysia citriodora, Aloysia triphylla, Lippia citr(i)odora, Lippia triphylla, Verbena triphylla.

Prefers a sheltered, sunny position in free-draining soil. Is also happy in a partially shaded spot, especially in areas with hot summers. The plant tends to send out long shoots, in particular when not receiving all day sun, but it responds well to regular trimming. In the dormant season it can be pruned hard if required. Fertilise regularly during the growing season. Quite drought-tolerant once established. Caterpillars, spider mites and whiteflies like to feed on the foliage.Tolerates light to moderate frosts (zone 8). In colder climates, grow Aloysia citrodora in a pot, and overwinter indoors. It will most likely loose all leaves after the move, but this is normal. When grown outside, the leaves will drop in response to cold temperatures or stress. Avoid overwatering, in particular when the plant is dormant.

Not just a pretty plant, but very useful too. Leaves are used to make herbal teas. They can also be added to jams, puddings, fish and chicken dishes, salads, teas and other drinks to impart a lemon flavour. Essential oil extracted from the foliage is used in perfumery. Dried leaves add a lovely fresh scent to potpourries. Plant Aloysia citrodora where you can appreciate the gorgeous fragrance. You can train it to a single leader, much like a topiary subject.

amaryllis-belladonna

Amaryllis belladonna

naked lady, belladonna lily, March lily

Clump-forming bulbous plant, native to South Africa. Long, strap-like, mid green leaves to about 50 cm long. Foliage emerges in autumn and dies back in late spring. Mildly scented, 10 cm long, trumpet-shaped, pink flowers appear in late summer in heads of 2-12 on 30-60 cm long purplish red stems. The common name 'naked lady' refers to the fact that the plant flowers while the foliage is dormant. Amaryllis belladonna is poisonous, and the sap and bulbs may cause skin irritations.

Prefers a sunny or partially shaded position in almost any well-draining soil. Tolerates considerable dryness, in particular when the foliage has died back. Leaves can handle quite a bit of wind, but flower stems get damaged by strong winds, so a sheltered spot where the flower stems don't get blown about, is best for a good display. Amaryllis belladonna likes to be left undisturbed, but clumps of bulbs can be divided. Individual bulbs should be planted with their necks at or just above (not below) soil level. Tolerates moderate frosts to about -80 C.

Amaryllis belladonna is easy to grow and reliably produces a magnificent display of flowers from late summer onwards. Suitable for rock gardens, containers, under large deciduous trees, coastal gardens and borders. Flowers last well on water.

amaryllis-belladonna-alba

Amaryllis belladonna 'Alba'

white naked lady, white belladonna lily

White-flowering cultivar of a South African, bulbous, clump-forming plant with long strappy leaves to 50 cm long. Foliage emerges in autumn and dies back in late spring. Large, 10 cm long, trumpet shaped, mildly scented flowers appear in late summer in heads of 2-12 on 30-60 cm long, leafless, purplish red stems. Amaryllis belladonna is poisonous, and its sap and bulbs may cause skin irritations. The common name 'naked lady' for Amaryllis belladonna refers to the fact that the plant flowers while the leaves are dormant.

Prefers a sunny or partially shaded position in almost any well-draining soil type. Tolerates considerable dryness, in particular when the foliage has died back. Leaves can handle quite a bit of wind, but flower stems get damaged by strong winds, so a sheltered position where the flowering stems don't get blown about, is best for a good display. Plants like to be left undisturbed, but clumps of bulbs can be divided and individual bulbs should be planted with their necks at or just above soil level (not below).  Tolerates moderate frosts to about -80C. 

Suitable for flower display in rock gardens, arge containers, under large deciduous trees, coastal gardens and borders. Flowers last well on water.

anemone-hybrida

Anemone x hybrida

Japanese anemone, windflower

Herbaceous perennial, flowering in late summer and autumn with white, pink or rosy pink flowers with golden yellow stamens in the centre, 5-7 cm across. Cultivars vary somewhat in growth habit, but they usually form a clump and spread by means of rhizomes. The mid green leaves are palmately lobed with toothed margins. 'Honorine Jobert' is a popular white-flowering cultivar.

Anemone x hybrida is the name given to a group of hybrids of uncertain parentage. They are sometimes sold as cultivars of Anemone japonica.

Prefers a sheltered, partially shady position in well-draining soil, enriched with organic matter. May become quite vigorous when given an ideal spot, spreading underground. Water during hot spells in summer to help with establishment. Once established, Anemone x hybrida cultivars are reasonably tolerant of dry conditions. Hot summer sunlight tends to burn the foliage. Cut back after flowering and cover with mulch or straw if severe frosts (below -20 degC)  are expected, or leave frost-blackened foliage to protect the plant from further frost damage. Generally free from pests and diseases. Propagate by means of division in spring.

Delightful perennial for a semi-shaded position in a woodland garden, cottage garden, or combined with clipped plants to introduce an informal aspect to formal gardens.

argyranthemum-frutescens-double-act

Argyranthemum frutescens 'Double Act'

A variety belonging to the Federation daisies, a group of Australian-bred Marguerite daisies. Flowering with typical daisy flowers, carmine pink initially, and then gradually fading to a pale yellow. Flowers for a long time from autumn through to summer. 

Prefers well-draining soil and a sunny spot, but will tolerate a partially shaded site. Requires frost protection when young. Once established, Argyranthemum frutescens 'Double Act' tolerates light frosts. Suitable for coastal areas as long as there is some shelter from very strong winds. Lightly prune after flowering to keep the plant compact. Apply a general garden fertiliser in spring. Generally pest and disease free.

A wonderful, cheery and carefree plant that is completely smothered with flowers for an incredibly long time, including winter. I love the two tones of pink and yellow occurring on one plant. Suitable for cut flowers but the flower stems are relatively short and lend themselves better for posies rather than large bouquets.

arthropodium-cirratum

Arthropodium cirratum

rengarenga,maikaika, rock lily, New Zealand rock lily

New Zealand native, clump-forming perennial with drooping, strap-like leaves and white flowers in late spring to early summer. Dull-green leaves, 40-70 cm long and 3-10 cm wide, arranged in basal rosettes. Star-shaped white to cream flowers, 2 cm across, produced in long-stalked panicles. Flower stamens are white and purple with curled yellow tips. Occurs naturally in New Zealand throughout the North Island and northern parts of the South Island. It can be found in a range of different habitats from coastal regions to forests and exposed, rocky, inland areas. Several cultivars have been developed, differing from the species in size and width of the leaves.

Rengarenga was used by Maori for nutritional, medicinal, spiritual and cultural purposes.

Prefers free-draining soil in full sun or shade. Tolerates dry conditions. Suitable for very exposed sites, but has a smaller, tighter habit in such conditions. Leaves are damaged by light to moderate frosts, but even when all the leaves have turned into a brown mush due to frost burn, there is a good chance that the plant will recover in spring. To maintain a healthy, tidy appearance, pull out spent flower stalks, remove old or damaged leaves, and protect from snails and slugs. Fertilise or add compost if the plant seems to sulk and the foliage turns yellowish. Easy to propagate by division.

Arthropodium cirratum looks great when planted en masse as a ground cover under trees. Very attractive when in flower. Particularly effective when used as a foliage plant, adding a structural dimension to mixed plantings. Also suitable for containers.

banksia-ericifolia

Banksia ericifolia

Heath-leaved Banksia, Heath Banksia, Lantern Banksia

Evergreen shrub with heath-like foliage and orange-red flowers appearing in autumn or winter, native to Australia and named after the botanist Joseph Banks who originally collected Banksia ericifolia in 1770. Bright green, linear leaves, 1-3 cm long, 1 mm wide, usually with two small teeth near the tips. Erect, cylindrical, orange to red flower spikes, 7-20 cm long, 5 cm across, followed by cone-like seed-bearing structures. Individual flowers with long, wiry, hooked styles. In nature, seeds are released by fire.

Prefers a sunny or partially shaded position in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. No or light pruning only to maintain shape and keep compact. Tolerates drought and light frosts. Is suitable for coastal areas, but grows only to a height of 1-2 m in exposed areas.

Beautiful specimen for flower display. Attracts birds feeding on nectar. Can also be used as a hedge or a screen. Flowers last well on water.

brugmansia-sanguinea

Brugmansia sanguinea

red or scarlet angel's trumpet, red Brugmansia, eagle tree, red floripondio

Evergreen shrub or sometimes a small tree, native to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Large, ovate, felted leaves, often wavy or shallowly lobed,18-25 cm long, smaller on flowering stems. Solitary, pendulous trumpet-shaped flowers, 15-20 cm long, yellowish with scarlet-orange. Unlike the flowers of most other Brugmansia species, which are scented to attract moths for pollination, Brugmansia sanguinea flowers are not fragrant, and in their native habitat are pollinated by hummingbirds. All parts are poisonous. Naturalised in New Zealand.

Synonyms: Datura sanguinea, Datura roseiDatura rubella, Brugmansia bicolor, Brugmansia lutea.

Prefers a sheltered position in partial or full shade. In cool climates, a sunny position is fine too. Hot temperatures inhibit flowering. Difficult to propagate from vertical cuttings, but can be propagated from horizontal stem sections or layering. Tolerates light to medium frosts. May be damaged by moderate frosts, but generally survives.

Specimen shrub with a tropical appearance and beautiful flowers for most of the year. 

brunnera-macrophylla-jack-frost

Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost'

Clump-forming, spring flowering, herbaceous perennial, mainly grown for its attractive basal foliage. Slowly spreading by creeping rhizomes. Large, heart-shaped, silvery white leaves with green veins and margins. Small, light blue, forget-me-not-like flowers, held above the foliage on 20-50 cm long stalks. Foliage is evergreen in mild climates, but in colder regions, the leaves die back from late autumn.

Ideal for a position where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade, but will also grow in full shade. Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' handles more sun than most other variegated brunneras, but in regions with hot summers, leaves may be scorched by afternoon sun. Prefers consistently moist, but well-draining, rich soils, and is not tolerant of dry conditions. Frost-hardy. For a tidy appearance, remove old or damaged leaves if present, just before the new foliage appears. Self-seeds, but seedlings may turn out different from the parent plant, and may even have lost the silvery leaf colour variegation. Can be divided in spring or autumn.

Excellent choice for the woodland garden. Lovely companion for other shade-loving plants such as hostas and ferns, for spring-flowering bulbs, or for dark-leafed plants such as black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'. Good ground-covering and edging plant.