Most Australian native plants prefer acidic soils, with a pH of 4.0 to 6, according to Scotts Australia. Native Australian plants have evolved in isolation, some species in arid, somewhat inhospitable conditions. Australia’s growing zones range from tropical to desert, making her native plants a hardy bunch, thriving where many other plants would wither.
Endemic to Australia, the callistemon, or bottle brush, is a genus of shrubs in the same family as myrtles, cloves and guavas. Excellent ornamental plants, they offer a jolt of color with their long, brush-like flowers that bloom from spring to summer, and sometimes will offer a second bloom in the fall. Depending upon the variety, flower colors are red, pink, purple and yellow. The callistemon thrives in moist, slightly acid soil in full sun.
Also known as spider flower, this member of the protea family is a popular Australian garden plant. Grevillea will thrive in either full sun or partial shade, acid soil and becomes drought tolerant once it’s established. Grevillea, a small tree or shrub, shows a lot of variability throughout its more than 250 species. Most, however, display the same sort of spider-like clusters of flowers.
The common everlasting (Chrysocephalum apiculatum) is a low shrub, generally growing to 1 foot in height and 2 to 3 feet wide. The common everlasting is prized by Australian gardeners for not only its bright yellow to almost orange clusters of flowers but for its silvery foliage as well. That it has low water requirements is an added bonus. The common everlasting is a relative to asters, daisies and sunflowers. This plant requires an acid soil, so if it is not being grown in Australia, the soil may need to be amended.
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