After a little digging we found so many natives putting their ‘shine on’ during winter. So rub your frosty fingers together and drool over these vibrant coloured winter bloomers.
The red form of Aussie native Lechenaultia formosa is a prostrate growing shrub with fine, grey-green foliage and masses of red flowers in late winter and spring. An excellent rockery plant, it tolerates exposed, hot and sunny positions and is easily propagated from cuttings. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun or part shade.
Wattle is quick to grow and most varieties grow easily from seed. For a tree or shrub, wattles are short-lived (around 7–12 years) which makes them good pioneer plants in new gardens, providing shelter for slower growing plants while they establish. Some varieties can be weed-like, so try to grow only varieties that are indigenous to your region.
Banksia spinulosa ‘Birthday Candles’ the most compact of the dwarf ‘hairpin banksias’ displays rich golden orange flowers and are loved by native wildlife. Prefers sandy or clay soils, happy in tropical or temperate climates. Can tolerate the wind and salt that coastal conditions throw at it. Banksia spinulosa ‘Cherry Candles’ are compact also with red tips to the flowers.
Croweas and Correas
Crowea exalata (Waxflower) is the most popular in the clan, prized for their abundance of waxy, pink star shaped flowers predominantly flowering during autumn and winter. Croweas are generally small shrubs growing well in cooler climates and can be easily found in rocky areas especially around Sydney. They tolerate a fair degree of frosts. Crowea saligna is a smaller less bushy form with larger leaves and the same vivid pink flowers. Another popular Crowea about town is the Crowea exalata and crowea saligna hybrid, Crowea ‘Pink Star’ with paler pink flowers. Not as frost hardy though. Plant croweas in full sun to part shade in well drained soil.
Correas are low growing compact shrubs with pendulous bell shaped flowers. Expect a flurry of bird life to your garden to feast on their nectar when they flower from autumn to early winter. They are seriously under valued for a hardy frost and drought gardens. Correa ‘Bellissimo’ is a compact dense form with bigger pink and yellow flowers than other varieties. Correa ‘Coastal Pink’ is a larger shrub with pink flowers and as the name implies is suitable for coastal conditions. Correa ‘Canberra Bells’ displays two-tone red and cream bell flower on a compact small shrub and was developed to celebrate the Centenary of Canberra in 2013. ‘Autumn Blaze’ flowers through winter.
Grevillea ‘Deua Gold’ has stunning rich golden yellow flowers on arching glossy green foliage appearing at their heaviest from March to October. Loves full sun and extremely hardy, frost and heat tolerant. Great addition to native gardens, coastal plantings and dry areas.
Grevillea ‘Fire Cracker’ explodes fiery coloured flowers from April to October. Compact, rounded habit. Small evergreen foliage soft to touch. They do best in full sun. This winter flowering native is ideal for small gardens and is a show stopper if planted around patios and verandahs.
Grevillea ‘Gold Cluster’ has masses of spider like gold flowers in Winter and Spring, a great contrast to the green foliage. A lower growing and denser form, Grevillea ‘Gold Cluster’ is great at out competing weeds and grows to half the height of other popular forms. Full sun to part shade in free draining soils. Tolerates frost and drought.
Grevillea ‘Fanfair’ is a prolific-flowering native groundcover with a 4 or 5 metre spread. ‘Toothbrush’ shaped flowers appear from late winter into summer. Give it full sun or part shade and a well-drained soil. Mulch well to suppress weeds and conserve moisture and water by deep soaking in dry weather.
Grevillea ‘Ember Glow’ is an easy-care shrub that flowers almost all year, attracts birds and always looks great. Give it full sun or part shade and build up garden beds if drainage is poor.
‘Desert Flame’ Chrysocephalum apiculatum
‘Desert Flame’ produces a mass of long lived golden flowers above silver-grey foliage. If planted above retaining walls or in garden planters it will spill down the sides for a stunning cascading effect. Flowers all year long in S.E. Qld. In Central Australia flowering in spring and summer is the norm. Plant in full sun in well drained soil. Ideal for ground cover, in pots, among trees and shrubs or as a border in open garden beds. Prune when the plant looks a little tired.
Leptospermum ‘Cardwell’ (L. flavescens)
The Leptospermum ‘Cardwell’ is a small native shrub (approx. 2m tall). From late winter into spring, it will ‘wow’ you with a profuse show of flowers from its cascading branches. Give it a sunny position and a moist, well-drained soil. Drought and frost tolerant once established.
Planting winter natives
Natives don’t like to be overly fussed with but to provide the specific nutrient low phosphorus soil they are accustomed to plant in a specially designed Searles Native Plant Specialty Mix. This mix is suitable for both garden applications and potted natives. This mix provides six month fertiliser and water efficiency technology.