Australia is located within the Southern Hemisphere and encircled by both the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The country has a diverse climate, which includes semi-arid deserts, tropical rainforests, woodlands and grasslands, creating a habitat for a wide array of plant life. Many of the same flowering plants commonly found growing in the United States also thrive within the boundaries of Australia.
Moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora) belongs in the family Portulacaceae. This native, annual succulent to South America prefers growing in warm, hot conditions and tolerates even the poorest soil conditions. Plants fill with a vast array of 1-inch, rose-like blooms mixed in colors of pinks, reds, yellows, whites and orange. During sunny daylight conditions, blooms open and then close during nightfall or cloudy periods. Plants work well in rock gardens, as groundcovers, in containers or hanging baskets. In Australia, the Danaid Eggfly (Hypolimnas misippus) butterfly uses the plant as a food source.
Moss rose prefers growing in full sun in a well-drained site, not tolerating soggy conditions. Plants are quite drought tolerant but will bloom best when given regular watering. Moss rose grows up to 6 inches tall with a typical spreading habit of 12 inches. Gardeners will find this plant relatively maintenance- and problem-free.
Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) is an evergreen shrub native to South Africa. The plant is a perennial that blooms in late spring throughout summer in clusters of dark or light blue flowers. Pruning increases blooms as flowers grow on branches with new growth. Plumbago works well in hedges, flower gardens or containers. In Australia, the plant is a food source for the Zebra Blue caterpillar (Leptotes plinius).
Plumbago is quite drought tolerant and widely adaptable to a variety of well-drained soil types but will grow and bloom best with regular watering. Plants will tolerate light frosts, though the foliage will look a bit frazzled. Plumbago prefers growing in full to partial sun; the hottest areas of Australia will have the best results growing the plant in partial sun. Shrubs grow up to 4 to 5 feet in both height and width.
Cleome (Cleome spinosa), also called spider flower, belongs in the family Capparaceae. Considered an annual, cleome is a tropical American native propagated through seeds planted in springtime after frosts have left the region. Flowers resemble large spiders, blooming in colors of rose, reds, pinks and white from springtime throughout summer. Gardeners should use caution when handling the plant, as its stems have small spines on them. Cleome is a host plant for the Australian Appias butterflies.
Cleome is quite tall, growing up to 36 to 48 inches in height, with plants spaced approximately 18 to 24 inches apart. It is well suited for a background plant in annual flower gardens. Plants produce an abundance of seeds suitable for storing for next year's garden. Cleome prefers growing in full sun and is tolerant to a wide variety of well-draining soil mediums. Plants will grow and flower best when given regular doses of water.