Everyone’s talking about Australian native plants, and with good reason. Not only do these plants represent Australia’s often unique flora, they also have special attributes and benefits for gardens. Many are highly attractive to insects, birds and small mammals for both food and shelter, which means growing them in your garden helps improve the local environment. Some are even edible for us! Local natives are also well-adapted to local conditions, including soil and climate. Once established, many are also drought- and heat-tolerant. And, of course, many of these plants have highly attractive flowers over a long period, bringing colour and interest to gardens. For more info on why you should plant native flowering plants and how to care for them, read this article.


Top native flowering plant picks

Here’s a list of our favourite flowering native plants for your garden.




There are many types of banksia suited to a wide range of growing conditions, including salt-tolerant choices such as coastal banksia to grow near the sea. Banksias flower throughout the year, but many flower well through autumn and winter, providing nectar to insects and birds and colour to gardens. Banksias need well-drained, slightly acidic soil, and prefer sunny to partly shaded situations. They can be pruned if necessary.

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Grow native boronias to add a touch of colour to native gardens. These small, shrubby plants bloom in tones of pink and white in late winter and early spring. Outstanding for perfume is brown boronia – yes, it does have brown flowers and a sensational scent. They do well in containers as they like to be kept moist with a cool root run. Grow them with shade from hot afternoon sun.

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Bottlebrush is one of the most versatile native plants to grow in gardens. It's well-known for its usually red, bottlebrush-shaped flowers and strong growth. There are small bottlebrush plants for low hedges and very tall growers that can create a small feature tree. Bottlebrush can also be grown as clipped evergreen hedges. As well as red, there are varieties with white, mauve or pink flowers. Grow bottlebrush in well-drained soil but they will also cope with periodically wet soil. They flower best in full sun. Prune after flowering and before new growth appears to remove spent flower heads and prevent the formation of persistent seeds pods in stems.

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Also known as Swan River daisy, this is a low-growing and versatile plant. It is useful as a garden or path edging, planted among rocks or in a container. Brachyscome has small daisy flowers and ferny leaves. Flowers are usually mauve, but there are also varieties with pink or white flowers. Grow in well-drained soil. They flower best in full sun but enjoy a little afternoon shade during hot summers.

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There are many pretty correa plants. They are grown not only for their tubular flowers, which are much loved by nectar-feeding birds and also insects, but also as they are very useful shrubs to clip and shape. To add a natural feature to the garden, grow Correa alba as a clipped ball - it looks sensational. Grow correas in well-drained soil. They flower best in full sun but cope with part shade.

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Geraldton wax

Geraldton wax is known around the world as cut flower, but in Australia, it is widely grown as a small and pretty flowering garden shrub. It is very tolerant of hot, sunny conditions and well-drained, sandy soils. Flowers smother these shrubs in spring and can be enjoyed in pink, red or white. They flower best in full sun but will also cope with part shade.

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Grevilleas are among the most popular garden shrubs in Australia. Best known is ‘Robyn Gordon’, which is a long-flowering, low-growing shrub. Grevilleas have two types of flowers – toothbrush, which are large and spectacular, and spider, which are smaller but still very pretty in the garden. Generally, toothbrush varieties prefer warm, frost-free locations. Spider-flowered grevilleas are adaptable to cooler conditions. Grevilleas range from groundcover plants to shrubs or all sizes to trees. The tallest grevillea for gardens is the golden flowered, tree-sized silky oak (Grevillea robusta). Grevilleas are adaptable to all sorts of garden conditions including hedging.

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Kangaroo paw

These long-flowering perennials can be mass-planted, grown as a feature plant or grown in containers. In recent years, many named varieties with a myriad of colours have been developed for our gardens. Common kangaroo paws are green or red, but look for pink, white, blue, orange and yellow varieties. As a rule of thumb, tall varieties are the most robust and long-lived choices for gardens. Grow in well-drained soil, water when times are dry and prune after flowering. Kangaroo paws can be cut back hard to rejuvenate plants.

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Lilly pilly

Producing edible fruit as well as masses of white flowers, lilly pillies are popular as hedging plants but can also be grown in containers. Some form large trees, but all can be pruned to keep them in check. Look for psyllid-resistant forms for trouble-free growing. Keep well-watered, especially during dry times. Grow in sun for best flowering and fruiting, but plants do tolerate part shade to shade.

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Tea tree

Also known by its genus name of leptospermum, tea tree is usually seen in gardens as a pretty, flowering shrub with single to double flowers in pink, red or white. Some ornamental varieties also have dark foliage – for example, ‘Copper Glow’ – and some have a weeping habit. There are tree forms (paper barks) loved for their salt-tolerance, ability to withstand wet conditions and attractive, papery bark. Leptosperum scoparium is valued for the production of Manuka honey, which has health benefits. Lightly prune flowering shrubs after flowering.

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The New South Wales waratah is the floral emblem of New South Wales. It is an attractive garden plant producing spectacular red flowers in early spring. There are also varieties with pink or white flowers, which are becoming better known as commercial florist flowers. Waratahs need very well-drained soil and a position in sun or part shade. Prune after flowering to encourage strong new growth, which will lead to long-flowering stems the following spring.

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The golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is Australia’s floral emblem, with large balls of golden-yellow flowers. There are also wattles with creamy white flowers, which may be ball-shaped or rod-shaped. One rare wattle has red flowers. Wattles also have different types of leaves, from small and round to dainty and ferny. They grow across Australia, and with more than 900 species and countless named varieties, there’s a wattle for every climate and environmental niche. Wattles also flower predominantly in winter and early spring bringing bold colour to gardens and the natural landscape.

These plants grow as trees, shrubs and weeping or groundcover plants and tolerate a wide range of soils and growing situations. They also work well as hedges or feature plants. Fast-growing wattles are favoured as nurse plants to help other, slower-growing trees establish in exposed conditions. Wattle seeds are harvested as bush tucker and are also favoured by some seed-eating birds. Water when establishing, but most established plants are reasonably drought-tolerant. Some wattles are short-lived, but as they are also fast-growing, you can simply remove wattle trees that are showing signs of dying back and replace with new ones.

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