There are numerous benefits to growing natives – they attract bees, birds and butterflies to your garden by providing diverse habitats and food sources. They can combat climate change by storing carbon dioxide, and once established, native plants generally require little maintenance. Most importantly, they require far less watering than non-indigenous plants, saving you time, money and our precious resource, water.
To encourage everyone to plant more indigenous plants, we asked Australia’s leading native plant expert, Angus Stewart for some of his favourites so we could share them with you.
One of his favourites is the Ceratopetalum gummeriferum ‘Albery’s Red’ – “It’s a proven performer,” says Angus.
Albery’s Red is a compact form of the New South Wales Christmas bush and makes a great feature plant and a stunning cut flower. The plant can be kept compact with pruning after flowering but can grow to five metres if left untouched. As well as its more manageable size, the outstanding feature of this cultivar is its brilliant bright red floral display contrasting with glossy green foliage.
“It does particularly well on sandy soils but can adapt to clay soils if they have reasonable drainage,” says Angus. “It responds well to water and general-purpose complete fertiliser through the warmer months.”
Grow Albery’s Red in a sunny to partly shady spot with well-drained soil, but if you don’t have well-drained soil, plant into raised beds instead. It likes plenty of sun and is somewhat frost-prone, making it unsuitable for climates such as Canberra. Prune about 30% off straight after flowering for best results. It will tolerate some dry spells.
A common misconception is that that native plants don’t need fertilising, however Angus believes differently.
“Whilst native plants are great survivors in the garden, regular feeding helps them to thrive and reach their full potential” he says. “The benefits of doing so are not only enjoyed by yourself, by insects, bees and birds but perhaps more importantly, the environment benefits – the greater the plant growth, the more carbon is captured.”
🌿 About Bush Tucker – developed in conjunction with native plant expert Angus Stewart and soil scientist Simon Leake, Bush Tucker is a complete, organic-based, boosted fertiliser specifically developed to meet the specialised needs of all Australian native plants. Utilising a unique process, trace elements have been added to lock up phosphorus, making Bush Tucker ideal for even the most phosphorus-sensitive plants such as grevilleas, banksias and proteas. It is recommended and endorsed by the Australian Plants Society of Victoria.
Bush Tucker not only directly supplies a wide range of essential nutrients, but more importantly provides a catalyst (through the introduction of beneficial bacteria/microbes) for stimulating the natural processes that occur in the soil – unlocking further nutrients and enhancing root growth. Greater root growth provides a greater soil surface area from which your plants can draw nutrients and moisture.