Plant Guide

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Sunny

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.

acer-palmatum-bloodgood

Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'

Small, round-headed Japanese maple cultivar with grey bark, dark red young branches, and burgundy foliage. Toothed leaves, 8-12 cm long, with five lobes and possibly one or more small lobes at the base.  Leaves usually hold their colour well into summer, but may fade in hot sunny areas, before turning crimson to bright scarlet in autumn. Insignificant red-purple flowers in spring, followed by samaras (winged fruit) in autumn.

Synonym: Acer palmatum var. atropurpureum 'Bloodgood'.

Some variation in appearance is possible since there is more than a single clone available under this name in the trade, and sometimes seed-propagated (as opposed to grafted) trees are also offered for sale as Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'. Likewise, the name Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum' has been used for more than a single clone. Hence the differences between Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' and Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum'  may not be as clear as between the original selections.

Prefers a sunny position or, in particular in areas with hot summers, a partially shaded site. Any well-draining soil. Protect from strong winds. Prune lightly for shape once a year during winter. Frost hardy.

One of the most popular red-purple maples with good colour retention during summer. May also be grown as a shrub. Use as a specimen tree or accent plant for foliage colour, and repeat a similar colour elsewhere in the garden (e.g. with Loropetalum chinense 'Burgundy') to create a link with the surrounding planting. Perfectly suited to Japanese style gardens.

acer-palmatum-osakazuki

Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'

Deciduous tree with broad, rounded canopy. Mid green, 7-lobed leaves with toothed margins, 10-12 cm long. Foliage turns orange-red in autumn. Bright red, winged fruit in early autumn.

Suitable for a sheltered position in full sun and any well-draining soil. In areas with hot summers, Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki' likes shade from afternoon sun. Fertilise once a year. Remove damaged or dead branches. Protect from strong winds. Water during hot dry weather.

Japanese maple with brilliant autumn colour and beautiful fruit. Makes a wonderful focal point in autumn. Can be grown in a large container for several years.

acer-platanoides-drummondii

Acer platanoides 'Drummondii'

variegated Norway maple, harlequin Norway maple, harlequin maple

Deciduous tree with a rounded-oval, high canopy. Large, typical maple leaves, deeply lobed, green with broad, creamy white margins, turning golden in autumn. Inconspicuous yellow-green flowers in clusters during early spring before the leaves emerge.

Prefers a sunny or partially shady position in any fertile, well-draining soil. Foliage colour intensity is reduced in shade. Benefits from fertiliser application in spring. Tolerates air pollution. No pruning required other than the removal of dead, damaged, and crossing branches. Also cut out any branches with leaves that have reverted to green and lost the variegation. Stressed Acer platanoides 'Drummondii' may suffer from leaf scorch with the leaves, particularly the tips and margins turning brown and subsequently shriveling. Stress results from any growing conditions that cause the leaves to loose water faster than the roots can take it up, such as drying winds, water-logging, drought, and heat. The tree will generally recover in the next season with healthy foliage.

Striking specimen or shade tree with relatively coarse textured and highly ornamental foliage, combining well with other greens. For a very strong contrast, plant this in combination with burgundy-red leafed trees, but be careful not to overdo this combination as it may overpower the rest of your garden. Even a single tree can be quite a dominant feature. Acer platanoides 'Drummondii' produces vigorous surface roots, so plant away from hard surfaces, and underplant with e.g. Liriope muscari or other ground covers (not lawn) that can handle the dry and shady conditions beneath the tree.

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.

akebia-quinata

Akebia quinata

chocolate vine, five-leaf akebia

Vigorous evergreen or semi-evergreen climber native to Japan, Korea and China. Compound, bright green leaves with five elliptic to obovate leaflets to 5 cm long, notched at the tips. Fragrant, cup-shaped, purplish-red flowers in pendulous racemes during spring. Flowers may be followed by sausage-shaped fruits to 10 cm long.

Prefers a partially shaded position in any reasonable soil. Tolerates full shade and full sun. Avoid very dry and waterlogged soils. Resents root disturbance, so best planted when young, and not to be transplanted when mature. Requires support to climb. In suitable growing conditions Akebia is a vigorous grower and needs regular trimming. Copes with hard pruning. Akebia quinata is frost hardy, but in cold climates it behaves as a semi-evergreen or even deciduous climber with the extent of leaf loss depending on the degree of winter cold.

In New Zealand Akebia quinata is listed in the National Pest Plant Accord and is prohibited from commercial propagation, sale and distribution across the country.

Ideal as a fast cover for pergolas, fences and gazebos. If you wish to add a slimline vertical element to a garden bed, then let Akebia grow up against a tall post and trim it a few times per year. Help the shoots find support by attaching netting to the outside of the post. Could also be used as an informal ground cover. 

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.

alnus-jorullensis

Alnus jorullensis

Mexican alder, evergreen alder

Graceful fast-growing evergreen or semi-evergreen tree from Mexico and Central America, with drooping branches and pale grey bark. Leaves resemble birch leaves and are 5-10 cm long, dark green, leathery, with toothed margins. Most leaves are retained during winter, but some leaf-shed occurs throughout the year . Looks beautiful in spring with a mixture of new light green leaves and mature dark green foliage. Minute flowers arranged in light-green, pendulous catkins to 7 cm long (male) or in short catkins (female) on same tree. Green cone-like fruit, 1.5 cm long, turning dark brown with age.

Alnus jorullensis likes a position in full sun or partial shade and prefers moist soils of any type, but tolerates drier soils although growth will be slower and may be stunted. Copes with medium frosts to about -12oC. Root system can be invasive and it is best planted away from foundations and pipes. Train to a single leader and remove lower limbs to lift the crown.

Suitable as a specimen or shade tree. Can also be pleached, used as a screen, hedge, or bank stabilisor. Useful tree to dry out wet areas.

 

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-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.

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.