Australian Plants To Include In Your ‘Down Under’ Garden

Many lovely and unusual Australian flowers, trees and plants can grow in dry, warm locations.

Australian flowers
(Image credit: KarenHBlack / Getty Images)

The continent of Australia is teeming with diverse life, both in flora and fauna. It boasts some of the most unique and spectacular plant species, important to the native ecology. Australian plants require consistently warm temperatures and are generally not frost-tolerant. However, a few can withstand short periods of cold and can translate well in cooler climates. Plants in Australia span over 24,000 species, each indigenous and prized for their low-maintenance nature. Australian flowers lend an exotic appeal, while the trees and shrubs of the region offer interest and dimension to the garden.

Native Plants of Australia

Australian plants have some of the more colorful names in common nomenclature. Over 80 percent of the plants of Australia live nowhere else on earth. One of the more common Australian trees, the wattle or Acacia, contains over 1000 types, each a legume capable of fixing nitrogen in the soil. Many native Australian plants are drought tolerant, making them perfect for arid locations. They often produce flowers and fruits that attract pollinators and feed birds and other wildlife.

Australian Flowers

Fuzzy, frilled, rayed, starry, the list goes on. Australian flowers come in an astounding array of forms and carry exotic perfumes to scent the air. Most of the flowering occurs in the spring, with Acacia leading the way. The bottlebrush bush or Callistemon species, is known for the bright explosion of stamen that bursts from the flowers. Candle cranberry, a relative of heather, produces slender red and yellow, tubular flowers, banded with black. Kangaroo paws have terminal, fuzzy growth that looks like the marsupial’s paws topped with small flowers. Other Australian flowers for the landscape are:

  • Plumed Featherflower
  • Everlasting Daisy
  • Waratah
  • Native Bluebell
  • Spider Flower
  • Blue Hibiscus
  • Guitar Plant
  • Drumstick Flower
  • Chenille Honey Myrtle
  • Mint Bush

Australian Trees

The Eucalyptus is the most common tree in Australia. These native Australian plants comprise the most prevalent forest tree on the continent, and the genus has over 2,000 species. The River Red Gum is one of the most common species. The Lily Pilly tree is an evergreen in many forms that produces edible, sweet, tart fruits. Banksias produce cone-like flowers prized by many bird species. The She Oak is a native Australian tree that is evergreen and produces red flowers in spring.

  • Crepe Myrtle
  • Frangipani
  • Magnolia
  • Dogwood
  • Poinciana
  • Illawarra Plum
  • Tucker Bush Cherry
  • Blueberry Ash
  • Australian Pine
  • Holly
  • Juniper
  • Tea Tree

Australian Shrubs

Shrubs help blend a garden landscape by tying together the taller trees and smaller herbaceous specimens. They are often low-maintenance foundation plantings or stand-alone shrubs as focal points in a garden bed. Native species of shrubs are extremely tough and can tolerate adverse conditions. They may have developed adaptations such as waxy leaves, spines, leathery leaves, needled leaves, and deep and wide-spreading roots. The many species of plants like Eucalyptus ( Gum) or Acacia ( Wattle), have smaller forms that are bush or shrub size. Many of the shrubs of the reason bloom profusely and may even produce fruit. Some of the plants in the genus Grevillea are also smaller species.

  • Swan Silver Pea
  • Australian Fuchsia
  • Purple Mint Bush
  • Wax Flower
  • Rose Coneflower
  • Black Coral Pea

Other Native Australian Plants

Australia’s wildflower population is important to many insects and animals. Blooms like the flannel flower are soft, rayed, creamy white flowers. Yellow Tailflower has five golden petals spread like an elongated star, while the Cowslip Orchid is one of the prettier orchids with creamy yellow petals adorned with crimson. Mouse Ears flowers don’t look like mice but have unique dangling petals that stem from fuzzy sepals.

  • Finger Flower
  • Sticky Starflower
  • Guinea Flower
  • Spider Orchid
  • Milk Maids
  • Common Brown Pea
  • Christmas Bells
  • Cat’s Paw
  • Broad-Leaved Drumsticks
  • Pipe Lily

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Popular Plants in Australia?

Due to the diversity and stoic nature of the region’s plants, many have become popular international ornamentals. Callistemon, Ozothamnus, and many species of Eucalids and Proteas have become a part of many nursery offerings. Gum trees and other native plants are often incorporated into the home landscape because of their low maintenance and easy care.

What Flowers Only Grow in Australia?

The Kangaroo Paw is only found in Australia. The fuzzy, finger-shaped petals come in hues of red, green, orange, and yellow.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.