There are two notable features with NZ native plants. They thrive in most soils and climates of New Zealand, including coastal or clay soils and they have a range of foliage textures and colours.
Many of these are hybrids, where two species are grafted to become one, or selections or have been developed from ‘sports’ – branch showing variation from the rest of the plant.
Choosing NZ Natives
Apart from Hebes, Clematis, Kowhai, Olearia, Pohutukawa, Rata, and a few others, NZ native plants are not famous for flower colour. They are however famous for foliage colour and texture and are therefore excellent for an easy care garden.
Plants listed below are good performers in average garden situations for most of New Zealand. Enthusiasts will find many more, but they may have specific requirements or only perform in suitable climates.
- Hebes - Sophora - Kowhai - Olearia - Leptospermum - Manuka varieties - Metrosideros species – Pohutukawa, hybrids eg ‘Tahiti’, Rata.
- Corokia species and varieties - Dodonea - Griselinia - Olearia - Pittosporum species and varieties - Sophora – ‘Dragons Gold’.
Astelia – Coprosma – Cordyline – Pseudopanax – Pohutukawa
- Metrosideros – Pohutukawa - Myoporum – Ngaio - Pittosporum - Leptospermum – Manuka - Hoheria - Melicytus - Hebe - Olearia - Coprosma - Phormium – Flax - Cordyline - Cabbage tree.
Ground Cover Plants
- Coprosma species and varieties - Libertia species and varieties
- Arthropodium – Reinga Lily - Dianella - Carex species - Acaena species.
Best Foliage Plants
- Astelia - Carex - Chionachloa flavicans - Coprosma - Corokia - Dianella - Ferns and Ponga - Griselinia - Libertia - Lophomyrtus - Meryta sinclairii – Puka - Olearia - Phormium – flax - Pittosporum species and varieties - Psuedopanax species and hybrids - Sophora – Kowhai.
- Clematis paniculata - Metrosideros carminea.