Planning your garden to include winter flowering Australian native plants is a wonderful thing, as they perform two important functions. The first is to feed your local bird and insect population when they need it most, and the second is to brighten your garden surroundings and also your house if you have chosen plants that make great cut flowers. Here are just a few great Australian plants to use for winter flowering –
Banksia – there are some lovely tall as well as dwarf varieties of banksia such as B. spinulosa and B. ericifolia which have wonderful nectar rich flowers that birds will feast on.
Correa – The genus Correa provides us with some fabulous understorey plants for the garden with their pendulous bell-shaped flowers being an absolute magnet for nectar feeding birds. There has been a lot of terrific plant breeding activity in this group giving you a huge range of options in colour and form. A good example of the new improved Correas is ‘Adorabell’, but there are many other beauties in our plant database.
Grevillea – there are a number of grevillea varieties that will bloom in the colder months, and these are also nectar rich to delight many bird species. The smaller flowered forms are great for less aggressive birds, whereas the larger flowered forms keep the bolder ones happy. Great winter flowering smaller grevilleas include ‘Winter Delight’, ‘Celia’, ‘Rosy Posy’, ‘Lady O’ ; larger flowered ones include varieties such as ‘Honey Gem’, ‘Superb’, ‘Robyn Gordon’, ‘Peaches and Cream’.
Ozothamnus diosmifolius Radiance – a good one for cut flowers as well as insect pollinators, this shrubby member of the daisy family produces umbrella-like white flower heads with a pink tinge when in bud, it needs an annual prune and fertilise coming into spring to keep it nice and compact as well as stimulating the next big flush of long-lasting blooms.
Eremophilas – a drought tolerant and tough group of plants…..explore the new article on Gardening With Angus, written by the leader of the Australian Native Plant Society’s Eremophila Study Group, Lyndal Thorburn, who took the photo shown below, of a selection of 40 different plants from her garden.
Hakea laurina – such a beautiful flower! Have a look at our Pincushion Hakea video, recently posted on my You Tube channel, There are other winter flowering hakeas, ‘Burrendong Beauty‘ is a cracker that was brought into cultivation at the fabulous Burrendong Arboretum on the NSW Tablelands near Wellington, well worth a visit!
These winter flowering beauties will grace your garden with their bright blooms through the colder months, but as the flowers die off they look less cheerful. Close to the end of winter is the time to prune, so you not only tidy up your plant, but you prepare the plant for fresh new foliage growth in spring, which is the time to give the plant a bit of a pep up with some fertiliser in order to create the framework for the next brilliant flowering display. Plants like Grevilleas, Banksias and Hakeas dislike fertilisers high in phosphorus, so feed with something formulated especially for natives, such as Neutrog’s Bush Tucker.
To find more winter flowering natives plants, use my advanced search function on the Gardening With Angus website, scroll down to the ‘Flowering Time’ section, click on the term ‘winter’ and hit search to find lots more plant choices! The information in each plant entry will help you see if your chosen plant will suit your garden.
Boronia Pruning Hint
I was recently asked about fertilising a Boronia plant in winter, as it is budding up. My answer is as follows, and applies to other winter flowering plants as well, such as geraldton wax, eriostomen, philotheca –
It would be best to wait until after your boronia has flowered before you fertilise. If you feed before blooming you risk stimulating ‘bypass’ vegetative growth, where leafy new growth starts and covers up the flowers before they have a chance to show you their beautiful blooms. As soon as flowering has finished, cut back just behind the spent flowers and then fertilise to stimulate the new vegetative growth that will create next year’s flower display.