Time to go native
Plant these blooms now and in a few months you'll have a colourful display of natives in the garden, with glorious flowers for cutting.
When we think about a bunch of flowers, few of us think native – even to florists, “native” posies are usually bulked out with South African or Australian blooms like eucalyptus, banksias, proteas and leucadendrons.
Yet in a month or two, New Zealand plants are going to produce the most stunning flowers for cutting.
Here are seven of the best native flowers for brightening up your home and garden.
1 Hebe One of our most beautiful natives, which comes in so many shades of colour from deep purple through to light pink and even deeper reds. Plus there are variegated white versions like Hebe “snowdrop”, which can give a completely different dimension to your bouquet. Give full sun to dappled shade, moist but perfectly drained soil, and ask for the best cultivar for your climate.
2 Leptospermums Often unfairly named as being similar to scrub, the petite flowers on these herbaceous shrubs have the most brilliant of colours, from the blood red of “Wiri Joan” to the motley pink of “Rosy Morn”. They will grow in most conditions, but thrive in full sun.
3 Kaka beak – Clianthus puniceus These larger trees can be so adorned with yellow or red flowers hanging in large bunches that the tree looks like it is bearing fruit. A beautiful way to add texture, shape and colour to a patch of natives.
4 Poor Knights lily The fiery red flowers of the Xeronema callistemo are often called red hot pokers. These natives are highly sought after for their clumping behaviour in sub-tropical gardens. The flowers are bee magnets and give great height in a floral display.
5 Olearia spp A low-lying shrub with daisy like flowers in many different forms. The flowers are delicate but the plant is hardy and can withstand sandy soils and high winds. Plant in rocky borders to fill blank space with colour.
6 Cassinia amoena Small star-like flowers on a trig of spiked green leaves. This compact shrub grows in drier, rocky terrain and coastal areas. If the flowers are left to sprout in summer, they make for a beautiful display.
7 Chatham Island forget-menot For standout flowers in any bunch, these white or purple blooms are extraordinary. A very frost tender species, the ornamental clumping plants are not easy to grow, but give plenty of colour in the spring and summer.
Native flowers such as kaka beak offer a riot of colour.