One of the myths that I regularly come across when talking to people about using Australian Native plants in their garden is that they cannot be pruned.  This is certainly in the majority of cases not true.  In their natural environment Australian Flora is continually browsed by kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, possums and I am sure others animals too.  They cope with this well and come back fresher and healthier than ever.  Many seem to be much longer lived if they are regularly pruned, as well they will not become ugly and leggy as native plants have the reputation of becoming.

Some species cope with harder pruning than others.  Callistemon and Melaleuca, Bottle Brushes, can cope with severe pruning once established.  Many grow naturally in creek beds and are occasionally completely knocked off when a flood occurs.  They come back beautifully.

Some species cope better with tip pruning.  Grevillea, Hakea and Banksia are in this group.

Many Australian plants can be used for hedging.  There are many Westringia species and varieties that can be used as lower or taller hedges as desired.  Westringia fruiticosa, native rosemary with white flowers, can be alternated with Westringia brevifolia var. raleighii with purple/mauve flowers to good effect.  You will have flowers virtually all year round with this hedge.

A pretty low hedge can be created with Leionema elatius x lamprophyllum!! What a great name!  This plant has small glossy green leaves and clusters of white butterfly attracting flowers

If a hedge is required in a shady place you cannot go past a Prostanthera, native mint bush, hedge.  As you brush past or after rain the scented leaves give off a lovely fragrance.  Correa glabra, with its green/yellow bells is also good for a hedge in a shady area.

If a taller, up to 3 meter, screening hedge is required Hakea salicifolia, the Willow Leaf Hakea, can be used. This is a hardy long lived Hakea with attractive red new leaf growth.  Melaleuca styphelioides can grow into a tree, however, it can be pruned to form a wonderful tall hedge.  I have seen a great hedge of this plant around a tennis court to the top of the fence.

Many of the plants mentioned will be available at the Australian Native Plants Society sale being held at the Australian National Botanic Gardens on Saturday 21st of October.

© Anthony O'Halloran 2018