Plant Guide

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Sunny

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.

astelia-chathamica-silver-spear

Astelia chathamica 'Silver Spear'

Large clump-forming plant with silvery, flax-like foliage, native to New Zealand. The leaves are broad and stiff, but droop towards the ends. Flowers are produced in spring and are followed by orange fruits. They are generally obscured and dominated by the foliage.

Suitable for sun or shade. Requires well-draining soil. Drought tolerant. Although Astelia chathamica 'Silver Spear' tolerates quite windy conditions, the leaves hold their shape better when conditions are not too exposed. Astelia chathamica 'Silver Spear' is intolerant of high moisture. Hardy to about -7oC.

Striking feature plant. The silvery foliage looks particularly good in sheltered, shady or partially shaded conditions. Careful when combining Astelia chathamica 'Silver Spear' with other grey-leafed plants; this tends to become quite overpowering. Instead, you could consider a combination with fine-leafed grasses or blue-flowering plants such as Dichroa and Geranium. An attractive, but strong contrast can be achieved with Loropetalum chinense 'Burgundy'. 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.

buddleja-salviifolia

Buddleja salviifolia

(South African) sagewood, sage-leaved butterfly bush, winter buddleja

Large shrub, endemic to southern and eastern parts of Africa, flowering in late winter and early spring with fragrant, pale mauve flowers with orange throats, arranged in large panicles. Narrow, lance-shaped, grey-green leaves with puckered and finely wrinkled surfaces, grey-white beneath, resembling those of sage. Semi-deciduous in colder climates. Fast-growing. Attracts bees and butterflies.

Prefers a sunny spot in any well-draining soil. Drought-tolerant. Suitable for exposed and coastal gardens. Tolerates moderate frosts (zones 9 and 10). Tends to have a somewhat untidy habit, and thus benefits from regular pruning. 

Very vigorous and floriferous plant. Great background plant with its silvery-grey foliage contrasting well with darker foliage. Make sure you have sufficient space as it will quickly grow into a large bush. To keep it compact,  prune the plant after flowering. Buddleja salviifolia can be pruned hard. Suitable as a large hedge or informal screen.

buxus-sempervirens

Buxus sempervirens

common box, English box, European box, boxwood

Evergreen fine-textured shrub or tree with small green leaves and inconspicuous greenish cream flowers. Glossy green, simple, ovate to oblong leaves, 1.5-2.5 cm long, arranged in opposite pairs along the stems. Foliage emits a distinctive scent that is not to everyone's liking. Fresh green spring leaves, turning mid to dark green later in the year. Clusters of tiny flowers without petals during late spring. Usually grown and maintained as a shrub, but can eventually reach tree-like proportions up to about 9 m tall.

Grows in a wide range of conditions, except waterlogged soil. Once established, Buxus sempervirens tolerates drought. In suitable growing conditions, a growth rate of 10-15 cm can be expected. In deep shade, very exposed situations, or very poor soils, growth is much slower. Most cultivars have a slower growth rate than the species. Responds well to trimming, and can be maintained to a height of 50 cm or less for many years. Trimming during late summer gives the plant a chance to produce sufficient new growth from early spring, and prevents sunburn of young leaves formed after the trim. After a number of years cut out some of the mature stems below the pruning height for the rest of the plant to improve ventilation through the foliage and avoid overcrowding at the top.

Widely used as a formal hedging plant with about 4 to 6 plants per meter for low hedges. Suitable for topiary projects. Since it can be trimmed to any shape, Buxus sempervirens is a very useful shrub to add a structural element to garden beds. Can also be grown in containers. 

calendula-officinalis

Calendula officinalis

pot marigold, common marigold, English or Scottish marigold, garden marigold, ruddles

Herbaceous perennial in the daisy family (Asteraceae) with hairy, oblong to lanceolate leaves (5-15 cm long).  In favourable growing conditions, Calendula officinalis flowers for most of the year (except in the heat of summer in warm areas) with pale yellow to bright orange flower heads (4-8 cm across). Depending on the cultivar, the flower-heads may have a definite centre (where the outer ray-florets are absent in the centre of the flower head) or they may be 'double' (where central disc florets are absent). The flowers are edible and petals (ray florets) can be added to salads and other dishes as garnish. Dried petals are sometimes treated as a substitute for saffron. The flowers also have various medicinal applications, and are used in dyes and cosmetics.

Calendula officinalis is very easy to grow from seed in a sunny or partially shaded position. Sow in spring in pots or directly in the garden. Any soil is suitable as long as it doesn't get waterlogged. Flowering can be prolonged by removing dead flower heads. Water during dry spells, but avoid spilling water on the leaves to prevent mildew. In mild climates, Calendula officinalis persists in the garden, but it does not survive the frosts in colder climates. In areas with extreme heat during summer, it also behaves as an annual, but since it self-seeds readily, even in such climates, Calendula officinalis usually becomes a permanent garden addition. Remove spent flower-heads before they go to seed if you are trying to confine them to a specific part of your garden.

Calendula officinalis is one of the most rewarding plants if you like bright colours. They flower for a very long time and multiply easily unless you deadhead them before they get a chance. They also make good cut flowers in particular the cultivars with long stems, lasting about a week on water.

carpodetus-serratus

Carpodetus serratus

putaputaweta, marble leaf, bucket of water tree

Upright tree with rough, grey bark and branches spreading outward in tiers, endemic to New Zealand, occurring naturally throughout the country along damp forest margins and stream sides. Thin, usually mottled, ovate to elliptic leaves with finely toothed margins, 3-6 cm x 2-3 cm. Clusters of small white, .5 cm wide flowers in spring, followed in autumn by pea-sized, round fruits in cup-like receptacles, green initially, turning black on maturity. Carpodetus serratus has a juvenile form with tangled, zigzag, interlacing branches, and smaller, rounded leaves. Juvenile and mature growth may exist on the same tree. The tree acts as a host for the puriri moth caterpillars.

Putaputaweta is a Maori word meaning 'many wetas', referring to wetas making their homes in the holes left by larvae of the puriri moth. The name 'bucket of water' refers to the very sappy wood.

Prefers a damp, sheltered position in sun or shade, and fertile soil. Prune to maintain a good shape and remove dead wood. Tolerates -10 deg Celsius once established. Suitable for wetland planting and ok for coastal areas.

Carpodetus serratus can grow into an elegant, small tree that is completely covered with flowers in spring. 

ceanothus-yankee-point

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus 'Yankee Point'

Yankee Point ceanothus, Californian lilac Yankee Point

Vigorous, wide-spreading evergreen shrub, developed from a plant originally collected at Yankee Point in Monterey County in California. Glossy dark green, oval leaves, 2.5-4 cm long, 1.5-3.5 cm wide. Particularly attractive in spring when masses of powdery blue flowers in panicles form a beautiful colour contrast with the young light green leaves and the dark green mature foliage. 

Synonym: Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis 'Yankee Point'

Prefers a sunny position in well-drained soil, but is also suitable for a partially shaded position. Not happy in wet or heavy soils, but 'Yankee Point' can handle such conditions better than most other Californian lilacs. Drought-tolerant once established. Copes well with poor, sandy soils. Suitable for coastal gardens. Tolerates medium frosts. Prune yearly to maintain compact and vigorous.

Great for covering banks and slopes, especially in coastal areas. Can be trained as a hedge or grown as a container plant.

Centaurea montana

Centaurea montana

perennial cornflower

Clump-forming perennial with violet to purplish blue flower heads and green to grey-green leaves. It spreads by rhizomes and can easily be divided. There is a white-flowering cultivar. The grass in the background of the photograph is Isolepis.

cestrum-cultum

Cestrum x cultum

purple Cestrum

Evergreen shrub with purple tubular flowers 2-3 cm long in terminal panicles on long, arching branches. Ovate to lance-shaped leaves, 10-15 cm long, to 3 cm wide. Cross between Cestrum elegans and Cestrum parqui. All parts are poisonous. Hardy to -7oC.

Cestrum x cultum may be cut back after flowering to near ground level and will re-grow during the next season to a height of about 2m.

chimonanthus-praecox

Chimonanthus praecox

wintersweet, Japanese allspice

Loose vase-shaped deciduous shrub native to China. Very fragrant, waxy, cup-shaped flowers, 1.5-2.5 cm across, on previous season's bare wood during winter, pale yellow with purplish-red stain in the center on the inner petals. Opposite, lance-shaped, dark green leaves, 7-12 cm long, with rough upper surface, turning yellow in autumn. Chimonanthus praecox 'Grandiflorus' has larger deep yellow flowers to 5 cm across. Chimonanthus praecox 'Luteus' has slightly larger yellow flowers without the purplish-red stain.

Prefers a sheltered position in full sun or light shade with good drainage. Best planted against a dark background where you can enjoy the flowers and their fragrance.

Synonyms: Chimonanthus fragrans, Meratia praecox

choisya-ternata

Choisya ternata

Mexican orange blossom, Mexican orange

Rounded, evergreen shrub native to southern USA and Mexico. Glossy leaves palmately divided into three leaflets, 5-8 cm long, covered with oilglands, aromatic when crushed.  Clusters of small, star-shaped, scented, pure white flowers, 1-2 cm across, similar to orange blossoms in shape and fragrance. Main flowering season is spring, but flowers intermittently during the rest of the year.

Choisya ternata prefers a sheltered position in full sun, but copes with full shade. In very hot climates a position in partial shade whithout afternoon sun is best. Will grow in a range of soils, including sandy or loamy, and acidic or neutral. Drought tolerant once established. 

Lightly prune after flowering.

 

cistus-brilliancy

Cistus x purpureus 'Brilliancy'

Brilliancy rock rose, pink rock rose

Evergreen shrub, flowering in spring and summer with deep pink, crepe paper like, 5 cm wide flowers with yellow central stamens and a maroon blotch at the base of each petal. Sticky brown  stems and narrow green leaves in opposite pairs. 

Prefers a sunny spot in light, well-draining soil. Tolerates clay. Cistus x purpureus 'Brilliancy' tends to form quite an open shrub, and needs trimming after flowering to keep it compact. No need for fertilisers. Drought-tolerant once established. Suitable for coastal gardens and exposed sites. Frost hardy (zones 7-10). All Cistus species thrive in Mediterranean climate types.

Individual flowers only last one day, but the plant is generally smothered with flowers in particular at the beginning of the flowering season and puts on a fantastic show.

clerodendrum-trichotomum

Clerodendrum trichotomum

harlequin glorybower, glorytree, peanut butter tree

Large, evergreen shrub, native to Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and India. Can be trained to grow as a tree with a single leader. Soft, downy, ovate leaves to 12 cm long, arranged in opposite pairs, emitting a peanut butter scent when crushed. Fragrant, white, jasmine-like flowers in clusters during late summer, followed by blue fruit, each subtended by a red calyx. Regarded as an 'unwanted organism' in New Zealand, where it has become invasive and poses a threat for the native vegetation. Seeds are poisonous and the rest of the plant may irritate the skin.

Prefers a sheltered position in full sun and any well-draining soil. Copes with partial shade also.Tolerates moderate frosts (USDA zones 7-10). Generally disease-free.

Beautiful shrub when in flower, and even more attractive when in fruit. May get leggy at the base, so use underplanting to hide this. In New Zealand, you will not be able to purchase Clerodendrum trichotomum since it has become somewhat too enthusiastic! There are still quite a few growing in parks and private gardens.