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Garden landscape with various Australian native plants, featuring the text "TOP 16 Australian Natives" in bold white letters, showcasing Plants for Incredible Fragrance.

We live in Australia, it only makes sense that we should be planting Australian native plants. But for most people, they think Native Garden, and images of overgrown jungle disasters pop up. And maybe back in the day that was the case, but with selective breeding, native plants are much more manageable, and look better too.

It’s clear that many people love Natives now, one in three of our Garden Designs include Native plants. What’s so great about Natives is that they are optimally suitable to the Australian climate because, well, they’re from Australia. They also attract gorgeous birds and bees that add delight to your space – just the other day we shot a video of Banksia Honey Pots and the rainbow lorikeets visiting them.

But there’s such a plethora of native plants that it can be tricky knowing what to pick for your garden, which is why we’ve rounded up our top favourite sixteen just for you. These choices are based on maintenance, beauty and hardiness, so rest assured that picking one of these is an excellent choice for your garden.

Top 16 Australian Native Plants for your Garden Design:

Also don’t feel that native plants are only relevant if you’re planting a Native Style Garden – Natives are so versatile that they would look wonderful in almost any Garden Style, such as Cottage, Japanese or Modern. Let’s jump right in:

 

A row of lush, green weeping willow trees with long, drooping branches grows along the side of a yard, bordered by a small patch of green grass. These majestic plants for incredible fragrance add an enchanting aroma to the serene setting. Acacia cognata Lime Magik Trees

With a gorgeous lemon-green weeping foliage, it’s easy to see why Lime Magik is so popular. There are two things we love most about Lime Magik. Firstly, it is so easy to trim and keep to the shape you want. That means its perfect for gardens tight on space, or just situations where you only have a small area that needs filling. Secondly, it is very wind hardy and overall a tough plant. Then to top it off, Lime Magik makes for an excellent contrast to plants that are purple or deep green.

Honey Pots is a beautiful spreading plants with yellow-orange cylindrical shaped flowers for most of the year. So alongside being very long flowering, it is excellent for use as a feature plant that won’t get too big. Overall, Honey Pots grows to about 1.5 metres wide and 80cm tall. As mentioned before, the birds absolutely love Honey Pots.

This is a lovely flowering groundcover that is very compact. So if you want the joy of having a Grevillea but only have a small garden, then Sunkissed is perfect. You’ll have gorgeous yellow flowers for three to four months of the year.

A potted plant with long, serrated green leaves tinged with red, promising to be among the plants for incredible fragrance, displayed in a garden center. Grevillea hybrida Sunkissed StandardNo we’re not repeating ourselves, don’t worry. This is the Grafted Standard version and it’s also so spectacular that we had to include it on the list too. So what’s so great about it? Well first of all, the foliage is an exquisite range of pinks, creams and greens with holly shaped leaves.

Next it has beautiful red flowers from late spring onwards. Then, say you have a tiny space in the garden, and wanted to have a tree that never grew taller than 1.6 metres, this is it. That stunning foliage will cascade down to the ground, giving you year round colour, and it will remain compact forever.

A row of green bushes lines the edge of a pathway, accompanied by additional greenery and plants for incredible fragrance in the background. Green Dodonaea HedgeMr Green Sheen is tough as tough gets. But it doesn’t look like it would be. With a beautiful, soft and lush appearance, this upright evergreen shrub is suitable for so many places. Sun, shade, frost, poor soil, heat – doesn’t matter. Once it’s established, it will hardly ever need water and still look a million bucks. If you have a narrow area where you want to create a wall of green, then consider Mr Green Sheen.

A garden bed with several green, bushy plants for incredible fragrance, surrounded by gray mulch. WestringaA beautiful hedge of blue-green foliage with little star shaped white flowers. Westringia fruticose can be clipped into a ball, square or box, and is very easy to shape. It is very versatile and useful in the garden.

Thick, lush green foliage cascades over a raised garden bed made of light-colored material, with additional plants for incredible fragrance visible in the background. cousin it plantThis is one of our favourite native plants, now Cousin It is actually a deformed tree that doesn’t grow up and out with branches like a normal tree. Instead, it grows on the ground and sprawls everywhere with these little mounds of interesting green foliage. We use them all the time in our Garden Designs because they are an excellent support act for other feature plants. For example, in a Japanese Garden they look fantastic alongside Pittosporum ‘Miss Muffet’.
We also use it in situations where people have big embankments that need to be covered, or spots under big trees where its going to be both in hot sun and deep shade. Cousin It is great for covering ugly retaining walls, all you need to do is plant it along the top and it will cascade down. Whether it’s as a single specimen in the garden, mass planted for covering the ground or a wall, Cousin It is an all-purpose groundcover. We have never heard of someone having troubles with Cousin It, it’s probably one of the toughest things around.

Diggers Speedwell has very interesting foliage that looks like juvenile Eucalyptus, but it also has these beautiful purple flowers. So it has a more unique texture than other plants. It forms a mound of about 1.2 metres wide and 60cm tall. Diggers Speedwell is very hardy, and because of how thick and bushy it is, it’s fantastic to blanket out the weeds. They look particularly great with other spiky Native Grasses.

If you want a modern style landscape, you can’t go past Corre Alba. They are fantastic for clipping into balls and pair wonderfully with Cousin it or Lomandra ‘Tanika®’. The dark green-silver foliage and white starry flowers make for a beautiful appearance.

If you want some bright silver in the garden to provide contrast to the greenery, you can’t beat Cushion Bush. What we often do in our Garden Designs is plant four or five of these across the garden which gives our clients a lovely loose line of silver. You can clip it a bit too keep it to the shape you’d like. Cushion Bush is drought, frost, poor soil and heat hardy, so a very hardy plant. It stays nice and compact, and is perfect for small gardens.

We use this in almost every Native Garden because it’s the perfect support act to your more exciting plants. This is plants like your Kangaroo Paws or Honey Pots. Yellow Buttons has lovely silver-green foliage and vibrant yellow flowers. It is a super tough plant that requires very little maintenance.

Close-up of vibrant pink flowers blooming among dense green foliage, these are perfect plants for incredible fragrance. Grevillea hybrid Strawberry SmoothieBetween a groundcover and a bush, Strawberry Smoothie has the most exquisite pink coloured flowers. The shade of pink has dimension to it and best of all, will be present all winter long. So when your garden is looking the dullest, you still get a wonderful splash of pink. Strawberry Smoothie is fantastic mass planted or dotted around the garden and grows to about 40cm tall. It is very easy to grow in almost any conditions.

A dense bush with green leaves and clusters of red flowers graces the garden setting, offering a stunning option among plants for incredible fragrance. little johnLittle John has been well loved for ages, it’s a very good support plant with bright green foliage and lovely red flowers. They flower for about six months of the year, so a very long flowering plant. If you never bothered to trim it, Little John will be about 1.2 metres, but with some trimming you can easily keep it to 70cm. The birds absolutely love it, and so do we. They are great for a tough low hedge that requires very little trimming to keep small.

A close-up view of bright green grass blades densely packed together, reminiscent of plants known for incredible fragrance.This is Australia’s number one selling ornamental plant. You’d think it be some sort of exceptional flowering plant, but well, it’s a bit plain looking if we’re honest. If we were to guesstimate the sales of Tanika, we reckon it would be around two to three million a year. So why is it so popular? Because it’s one of the toughest, most low maintenance plants you will find that still looks quite nice and lush. In the most hideous of soils with absolutely no care, they still thrive. On a windy day these move like a wave of greenness that can be quite mesmerising. So if you own a business or holiday house and want something that will look lush and beautiful with no care, Tanika is perfect for you.

Close-up of lush green grass with narrow blades, showcasing a vibrant and dense growth pattern among plants for incredible fragrance. Scleranthus biflorus Lime LavaSo many people absolutely adore Lime Lava, we’ve seen quite a few people in the nursery pat them like they were a dog. It’s an adorable plant that looks a bit like moss so you may be tricked into thinking it should be grown in the shade. However it hates the shade and definitely needs a sunny spot. You can grow it in a big bowl, or in the garden, and it makes for a fantastic feature when mass planted. Give it plenty of water and some Osmocote fertiliser. We love to use it in Japanese or Zen style gardens, and they look amazing with Ophiopogon ‘Black’ Mondo Grass.

White flowers with green centers, known to be among the best plants for incredible fragrance, are surrounded by dark purple leaves in a garden setting. Leptospermum Copper Glow Tea Tree floweringWhen so many hedges around Melbourne are starting to look the same, Copper Glow is a hedge with a difference. The deep purple foliage makes for a stunning feature, and whether you keep it shaggy and natural, or trim it into a nice shape, your garden won’t look like every other one. You can even clip it into a ball. Now we love Natives (obviously, we just wrote an entire article about them), but the problem with Natives is that most of them are all just various shades of green. So we had to include Copper Glow for when your Native Garden is feeling a bit hungry for colour. Plus, in the springtime Copper Glow will have lovely white flowers.

So there you have it, the top sixteen Native Plants. Choose a couple or plant all of them, mix it in with your cottage or modern style plants, or build an entire native garden. But most of all, sit back and relax, because you’ll barely have to do anything to keep these Native plants thriving and looking great.

Feeling inspired to create your own garden, but want some expert advice? Try our one-on-one garden design service with Chris. Together you’ll come up with a selection of plants along with a layout plan that gives you the look you want, as well as being suitable for your local soil and conditions.

get your own tailored modern garden design:

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