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NZ Native Plants in the Garden

There is always a good feeling about planting NZ Native plants. They may not always have the colour or majesty of some European exotics, but for reliability, suitability, foliage colour and texture, they are unbeatable.

Mostly evergreen, the range of NZ native plants covers all types for all situations from low ground covers, small shrubs, large shrubs, trees and climbers – for all situations, and with many features and characteristics.

The most notable feature about NZ native plants, is that there is a very significant range that thrives in most soils and climates of NZ – including coastal, or clay soils.

Perhaps the other notable feature is the range of foliage textures and colours. Many of these are hybrids, selections, or have been developed from ‘sports’ – branch showing variation from the rest of the plant.

Putting it together

Because of their diversity, there are NZ native plants suited to most garden situations.

Apart from Hebes, Clematis, Kowhai, Olearia, Pohutukawa, Rata, and a few others, NZ native plants are not famous for flower colour.

They are however famous for colour and texture and are therefore excellent for an easy care garden of natural varying foliage effects through out the year.

Plants listed below are good performers in average garden situations in most of New Zealand. Enthusiasts will find many more, but they may have specific requirements or only perform in suitable climates.

The most popular flowering plants

  • Hebes
  • Sophora - Kowhai
  • Olearia
  • Leptospermum - Manuka varieties
  • Metrosideros species – Pohutukawa, hybrids eg ‘Tahiti’, Rata,

The most popular screen plants

  • Corokia species and varieties
  • Dodonea
  • Griselinia
  • Olearia
  • Pittosporum species and varieties
  • Sophora – ‘Dragons Gold’
  • Best container plants
  • Astelia species and varieties
  • Coprosma varieties
  • Cordyline (cabbage tree)
  • Griselinia
  • Metrosideros - kermadecensis and hybrid varieties

Best coastal plants

  • Metrosideros – Pohutukawa
  • Myoporum – Ngaio
  • Pittosporum
  • Leptospermum – Manuka
  • Hoheria
  • Melicytus
  • Hebe
  • Olearia
  • Coprosma
  • Phormium – Flax
  • Cordyline - Cabbage tree

Best ground cover plants

  • Coprosma species and varieties
  • Libertia species and varieties
  • Arthropodium – Reinga Lily
  • Dianella
  • Carex species
  • Acaena species

Best foliage effect plants

  • Astelia
  • Carex
  • Chionachloa flavicans
  • Coprosma
  • Corokia
  • Dianella
  • Ferns and Ponga
  • Griselinia
  • Libertia
  • Lophomyrtus
  • Meryta sinclairii – Puka
  • Olearia
  • Phormium – flax
  • Pittosporum species and varieties
  • Psuedopanax species and hybrids
  • Sophora – Kowhai

Best Climbers

  • Clematis paniculata
  • Metrosideros carminea