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More Native Plants in Pots

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Would you love a display like a garden show? Some native plants can be grown successfully in pots. They do well in pots as a start- transfer them as small tubestock to a larger pot and they will have time to establish over a hot summer. In this way you will have a good display during the Summer, and can protect them while they grow big enough to plant into the garden. In this way you can also trial propagating natives as well.

Larger pots can be more successful, and you can experiment with different combinations, some upright small shrubs and some trailing ones, with some bulbs that pop up when you are least expecting them.

Other plants which do well for a time in pots include the smaller banksias such as birthday candles, which prefers a little more shade in a pot, the smaller kangaroo paws, trigger grass, and the brachycome daisies.

If you wanted to trial the larger gums in pots such as silver princess, remember gums have a long tap root and if this is disturbed or gets pot bound it will have a bad effect on the plants growth. They also seek the depths, so pots will need to be off the ground.

As with all potted plants, keep an eye on them for water needs, bugs and general appearance. Some common problems are the soil becoming repellent (soak the whole pot in wetta soil), bugs (leave in peace, they need a home too!) or the plant generally looking sad- move to shade/sun or try a very dilute worm juice feed. Protect from snails, particularly kangaroo paws.

Helichrysum apiculatum

these bright sunny flowers with silver leaves would look well in a pot

these bright sunny flowers with silver leaves would look well in a pot

Is a prostrate grey furry leaved plant with bright yellow golden flowers in tight clusters. It is found in the Wilson Park carpark, in the front middle bed. It is tolerate of long periods of dry soil, and grows well in poor soil. It spreads easily, although it is also easily removed. It can be propagated from cuttings or rooted runners.

Running Postman( Kennedia prostrate)

This is a groundcover native to the Casey area. It has three lobed leaves a little like clover, with bright red pea flowers from April to December. It spreads to around 2.5m, and can cover 1m in around a season. Not a thick groundcover, but does well under trees and shrubs. Once established, requires little to no watering. Will grow in clay, although needs reasonable drainage, or grow on a slope. A food source for Pea Blue Butterflies, aborigines used to drink the nectar from the flowers, and use the stems as ties.

 (Information from ‘Indigenous Plant Guide” City of Casey, the plant label and the couple growing in my yard)

Bulbine lilies ( Bulbine bulbosa)

These are small slender bulbs with succulent like leaves that grow to about 40cm. The flower is small but bright yellow, with multiple flowers on a taller stem. It flowers in Spring and Summer, often after rain. It grows well in the carpark, and several areas are thick with self seeded plantlets. They self seed easily. It needs a reasonable amount of water, although it can survive in a shadier area with only rainfall. Needs some care and water to get established, and even if the foliage dies down, it will often revive after rainfall. However can also thrive on neglect, as evidenced by the carpark.

 

This is a very hardy plant which grows into a low (~1m) spreading bush with soft textured hairy silver leaves. It strikes readily from cuttings. There is a fine example in the park, just at the entry area gate. There are some excellent dark blue flowered species in Cranbourne Botanic Park.

It grows well on clay soil, in full to half sun and requires little watering once established. The flowers are usually white, and appear in Spring-summer and every so often through the year. It can be pruned if it gets too leggy. It would also suit non native gardens as a background silver plant to offset pink or blue colour schemes. 

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