Your guide to getting the most out of your native garden
Native plants have become the star of the show for many astute gardeners and for good reason. They’ve evolved to thrive in local conditions, need little water once established and bring all the birds, bees, butterflies and other critters into your backyard.
They’re also a great way to do your bit for the environment, by adding to the biodiversity in your part of the world.
Following the first rains in autumn is a great time to visit your nearest local native nursery and get some native species in the ground at your place. Here are 5 tips to ensure they thrive:
- Water your plants in well at the time of planting. It’s a good idea to fill the empty hole with water first and then water in thoroughly once the plant’s in place to ensure there are no air pockets around the root system and they have good contact with the soil.
- During the first summer, water your new native plants every couple of weeks. Make sure to give them a decent amount of water each time, to encourage the roots deeper into the soil profile. After the first summer, a top up water every now and then will help your native plants stay looking good.
- Be careful with fertilisers. If you’re keen to use them, make sure they’re specially designed for native plants, but be aware that fertilisers can cause rapid growth in native species and lanky plants are more likely to fall over and snap. Also, phosphorous can be toxic for some species of native plants, like banksias and grevilleas.
- Prune right after flowering and tip prune regularly to help your plants stay bushy and fresh-looking.
- Potted native plants need more love, in terms of water and soil health. Use a potting mix suited to native plants and refresh it with new soil every now and then. Potted soil will eventually lose its nutrients and its ability to retain water.
If you live in the Northern and Yorke region, we’ve developed a list of native plant nurseries near you.