Australian natives are a broad and diverse group of plants that are growing in popularity. They're stunning to look at, and you can find an Aussie native to cover just about every garden need. Scroll down for our top tips on creating a successful modern Australian native garden in Sydney!

Why plant Australian natives?

There are many reasons to plant Australian natives in your garden. First is that they're perfectly adapted to Sydney growing conditions, especially if you select varieties that are found growing naturally in your local area. Secondly, many Australian natives are hardy and drought-tolerant, meaning they require little in the way of care or maintenance. There are also a huge variety of native plants to choose from, spanning groundcovers and grasses right through to shrubs and trees - everything you need to create colourful Australian native gardens. Finally, natives - and particularly flowering varieties - offer food and shelter for a range of native wildlife. This in turn improves pollination of both your garden plants and local agricultural crops. If you want to encourage native bees, birds and other vital pollinators into your garden, the best thing you can do is plant flowering natives!


Native birds, such as lorikeets, and native blue-banded bees, will love your new native garden!


How to create an Australian native garden

Step 1: Choose your spot.

Find the spot in your yard where you'd like to establish your native garden. This might be a garden bed, a group of pots or a raised planter. The important thing is that whichever spot you choose, you need to take note of the aspect (which direction it faces), sunlight (does the sun shine on it all day, or is it shaded by buildings or trees?) and how protected it is from the elements. It's worthwhile observing the spot over a few days to get a more complete picture of how the elements affect it - you might notice that it receives sun in the morning, for example, but falls into full shade in the afternoon. Think of these factors as building blocks to help you choose the right plants for your garden. If your plan is to plant flowering natives, generally speaking you'll need to choose a full sun location for best results, but there are plenty of native options that thrive in shade, too.


Step 2: Select the right plants.

Once you've chosen your spot and observed it, you're ready to start choosing your plants. Give consideration to the type of plants you like. Think about whether you want specific colours in flowers, green or silver foliage, tall plants for screening or low-growing plants to cover bare earth. You can create the colourful Australian native garden of your dreams or choose a simpler palette. Once you've got an idea of the direction you're heading in, create a shortlist and start doing your research.

This is where plant labels come in. They're like an owner's manual for each plant, and act as a really good quick-reference guide when you're choosing plants at a garden centre. Alternatively, you can browse our range of Australian natives online and check each plant's attributes there. Pay close attention to the sunlight and soil requirements stated for each plant, alongside potential growth, spacing requirements and ongoing care needs.

Not only is it important to choose plants that work with the space you have, it's also vital to choose plants that will work well with each other. By selecting plants that have similar watering and care needs, you're more likely to create a thriving Australian native garden with less effort on your part. Really, who wants to remember three different watering schedules for the same garden bed?



Step 3: Prepare your soil.

Australian native plants aren't particularly fussy, but there are a few soil characteristics that will really help them thrive. Generally speaking, they like mildly acidic, sandy loam-type soils which are light and airy to promote good drainage. Many are also sensitive to phosphorus, so it's important your soil has the right NPK ratio. Our Supersoil Professional Native Potting and Planting Mix is formulated to suit the specific needs of Australian natives and can be used in either a pot or a garden bed as your growing media of choice. In areas with heavier clay soil, consider growing your natives in pots or a raised bed to help them thrive.


Step 4: Get down to planting.

It's time to get your natives into the ground! Ensuring you observe the spacing directions on each plant's label, create planting holes large enough to comfortably fit your plants' root balls. Pop the plants out of their nursery pots and place them in the holes before backfilling with soil or mix. Gently firm everything down and then water in generously to help the roots establish. Keep your watering to the plants' root zone only - wet foliage can lead to fungal issues and increased pest activity.


Step 5: Ongoing care.

Part of the appeal of natives is that they're low maintenance, but that doesn't mean they don't need any care. Ensure plants are watered regularly while establishing - in a wet season the rain might cover part of this requirement for you, but you should always check to ensure the soil in the root zone is wet. Once established, most natives require only the occasional drink, but always refer back to your plant label for specific advice. Feed annually in spring with a native-specific slow-release formula such as Neutrog Bush Tucker, which provides all the nutrients your native plants need with a lower and more tolerable phosphorus content. In terms of pruning, a light prune to keep your natives neat and tidy never goes astray. For grasses and strappy-leaved natives you can cut them back quite hard in order to stimulate new growth. Flowering shrubs should be pruned post-flowering to encourage a dense, bushy shape. For a more comprehensive guide to native care, click here.



Ready to start choosing plants for your very own modern Australian native garden? Click here to shop our extensive range.