As we start to develop the Flower Farmstead at HQ, we’ve been experimenting with regenerative growing methods such as no-till farming and conducting many flower trials to assess the best plants for our climate and specific location. As sustainability is also at the forefront of our minds as beginner slow flower farmers, we’ve researched the best flowering plants that are native to Australia – some of which we have also begun growing at the farm.
If you’re committed to sustainable gardening and looking to start a water-wise cut flower garden, we encourage Australian gardeners to consider native indigenous plants that have evolved to suit local conditions as they have been adapted to survive Australia’s harsh and often dry conditions.
We recommend the following native plants to grow as cut flowers:
1. Flannel Flower
Difficult to grow but absolutely worth it, Actinotus helianthi has a soft woolly feel, and hence its name, flannel flower. A short-lived perennial shrub featuring silver-green stems that produce velvety white (and sometimes pink) flowers in Spring and Summer, this Australian wildflower deserves a spot in every Australian flower garden.
2. Billy Buttons
A mainstay in many dried flower arrangements for its ability to hold its structure and colour, Billy Buttons (Pycnosorus globosus) are comparatively easier to grow than other Australian native plants as the seeds don’t require scarification. This perennial plant has distinctive woolly leaves and golden globe shaped flowers on tall stems that make it an ideal cut flower.
3. Rice Flower
Ozothamnus diosmifolius commonly known as rice flower or sago bush, is a woody shrub endemic to eastern Australia that has heads of small white flower clusters that resemble rice. This unique flower grows on tall stems that make a fascinating focal point in flower arrangements. This native species flowers virtually all year round in Australia
4. Kangaroo Paw
An interesting native flowering species that has a sculptural form and the distinctive look of a kangaroo paw, Anigozanthus flavidus comes in many different colours and forms, from red, orange, pink, green and yellow and some varieties grow up to two metres tall. If growing from seed, remember that it can take up to six weeks for seedlings to emerge so be patient and resist the urge to dump the lot too soon.
5. Everlasting Strawflower
Everlasting strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteatum) is favoured amongst florists and designers for its paper-like blooms that come in many appealing shades of pink, purple, red, orange, yellow and white. A heat-loving, drought-tolerant plant, this daisy-like flower produces non-stop blooms during spring and summer. Everlasting strawflowers also make ideal dried flowers.
Related Post: 10 of the Easiest Cut Flowers to Grow
A highly popular Australian plant due to their characteristic cylindrical flower heads, banksias also make excellent cut flowers as they have a very long vase life, make an excellent dried flower and come in a broad range of colours and sizes. These native blossoms are hardy, tolerates most soil types and add extra oomph to flower bouquets and arrangements.
Chamelaucium, also known as waxflower is an Australian-endemic species of shrubs. According to AgriFutures Australia, this wildflower species has been used as a cut flower since the 1940s and is one of the country’s most significant commercially grown flowers. This is an easy-to-grow evergreen shrub with beautiful pink-white flowers that can reach heights of 3-metres tall and make a great filler flower.
Native to southeastern Australia, the waratah is a well-known species of Telopea speciosissima and is one of the country’s iconic flowers, commonly recognised as the NSW state emblem. Its bright red flowers are on full display in late spring.
A small evergreen shrub that grows to a metre tall, thryptomene has arching branches that are completely covered with small pink flowers over the winter and spring seasons. Drought tolerant and hardy, it can grow in full sun or part-shade and make ideal filler flowers for bouquets and flower arrangements.
10. Silver Spurflower
Easy to propagate by cutting, the silver spurflower or Plectranthus argentatus that produce blue-white tall spike flowers during the warmer seasons. It makes a unique addition to any floral arrangement for its soft, velvety silvery foliage. This is a drought-tolerant plant that can tolerate full sun and part shade and has a spreading habit. This is one of our faves at HQ!
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Disclaimer: Before purchasing seeds and tubestock, consider your growing zone and the plant’s requirements. Some plants will only bloom in the right climate and under the right growing conditions. Some flowering species may be considered an environmental weed in your local area so it’s best to take these all into consideration before making a purchase.
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Cover image of banksia by Rachel Claire.