Tough Canberra Plants

johnboy 22 April 2007 12

The local ABC have compiled a list of hardy plants for growing in the Canberra region.

So what do our hoticulturalists think?

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12 Responses to Tough Canberra Plants
Ralph Ralph 8:08 am 24 Apr 07

Yes I have evening primrose that self sows through my garden each year. I’ve just ripped it all out as I have been planting bulbs, but it will come back in the spring.

seepi seepi 5:08 pm 23 Apr 07

The two things that have died in my yard since the restrictions are an azalea and a tree fern.

Camelias seem to survive on nothing – as do hydrangeas, but they are in the shade.

Mr_Shab Mr_Shab 3:22 pm 23 Apr 07

There’s some odd ones on that list. Azaleas? They’re fine in the acid soil hereabouts – but thirsty as hell. After a number of failed attempts, I’ve given up. Grow blueberries instead. At least you get some fruit (they’re also beautiful as they lose their leaves).

I’ll go in to bat for Evening Primrose. Grows in marginal soils, needs no additional water, spreads well (but is easily contained) and produces beautiful white flowers for about 8 months of the year. All’s you need to do is hack it back down to the ground when the frosts hit and it’s happy as Larry.

Second – Wormwood. Hard as nails, never needs watering, impervious to frost and you can distill your own absinthe (Not that I’m condoning that kind of behaviour…). Makes a better-looking hedge than Buxus too.

Also – Dicksonia antarctica (tree ferns – just dump a bucket of shower water on them once a week), olive trees, Russell Lupins (colourful and thrive on neglect) and Kaffir Limes.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 2:39 pm 23 Apr 07

I think convovulus can be grown from cuttings, using rooting hormone, but I haven’t really tried yet. I was planning on propagating some from my front garden to fill in along the top of my retaining wall. One of the interesting things about convovulus is that it thrives even when hanging over an edge, despite the fact that it is not a climber.

astrojax astrojax 11:45 am 23 Apr 07

and where are the eucalypts then??

and second the groundcover – i’ve just put some ‘bedspreads’ in four or five spots. watered them in planting, a bit of a drink the week after and haven’t got to them with water since and they appear to be thriving. in clay. in the shade, one of them!

but my little snowgums have gone off, very very water miserly. why not on the list??

seepi seepi 11:28 am 23 Apr 07

Convulvulus is great stuff – but you can’t buy it as punnets of cheap seedlings anymore – they sell it as big plants for about 6.00.

Gazanias are another great ground cover that thrive on sun and neglect.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 8:45 am 23 Apr 07

I’d have thought there would be a section for ground covers, given the difference they make to how much water is evaporated from a garden bed.

I use convovulus – an amazingly hardy plant that produces small blue flowers. Mine is planted in garden beds with 10cm of fairly new topsoil over solid clay (standard Jerrabomberra gardening), and despite being watered only when it rains have spread and grown to a point where I need to cut them back off the driveway. Also, they stay green all year.

seepi seepi 5:59 pm 22 Apr 07

I can vouch for the Chinese lanterns – mine flowers 11.5 months of the year, and thrives on neglect.
They need a fair bit of sun though.

Sth African hibiscus is great too and will flower in a shady spot.

Ralph Ralph 5:09 pm 22 Apr 07

Most of those plants are OK. Stay away from ugly natives though.

Cork oak is another one that grows well in dry conditions.

Sammy Sammy 2:59 pm 22 Apr 07

I quite like photinia hedges, if they’re kept under control.

I personally dislike certain pittosporum hedges. I don’t like the pittosporum that has the dark/black coloured branches. I think they look scabby. The green stemmed pittosporum is ok.

emd emd 2:36 pm 22 Apr 07

Maybe we’re all sick to death of photinia hedges… they are unkillable though.

I would have thought wattles need some care & attention when establishing (most of the ones we planted at the start of the drought didn’t survive the first winter).

Also surprised not to see rosemary or native wisteria (which is different to European varieties) on the list. Unless I missed it.

Sammy Sammy 12:33 pm 22 Apr 07

I’m no horticulturist, but I can’t believe photinia didn’t make the list.

They are extensively planted in Canberra, and mine seemed to do fine in the first two years I lived at my current property, when they got no water from me.

Now that they get a drip watering right at the base, once or twice a week, they are thriving.

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