Consider growing a native plant this Australia Day

THIS Australia Day, Aussies can take advantage of the versatile vegetation our nation boasts and celebrate by growing native.

Our country has some of the finest plants in the world, which can provide vibrant colours, delicious aromas and character to gardens, patios and balconies up and down Australia.

Protecting and fostering these plants is vital to keep our landscape unique and will also attract and provide our native birds, animals and insects with an important source of food and shelter.

Angie Thomas, horticulturist at Yates, said with such an expansive and diverse country it's no surprise that we have an array of spectacular flora and this Australia Day can be just the beginning of growing some of your very own native plants.

"Clever plant breeding and selection over recent years has seen large numbers of new cultivars of Australian native plants released, which have been developed to better suit our modern backyards, including compact and pest resistant varieties," Angie said.

"During summer, NSW Christmas bush, waratahs and kangaroo paws create a colourful feature and long lasting cut flowers. There are also native plants that can create a more tropical feel, such as the scented native frangipani, tree ferns, palms and colourful cordylines," she said.

Angie said that if you live in warm temperate Australia, consider a macadamia tree, our fantastic home-grown nut, or a finger lime, which produces fruit filled with an intensely delicious juice 'caviar'.

"Lemon myrtle is a good option too as its leaves provide a wonderful lemon flavour, perfect to add to teas and sweet and savoury dishes. For those in temperate climates, give a native guava or a lilly pilly a go," she said.

"Even in a sunny courtyard or balcony, you can still grow many Australian native plants in pots, including paper daisies, dwarf varieties of kangaroo paws, banksias, lilly pilly, geraldton wax, and beautifully scented boronia.

"Regular light pruning is the key to keeping most native plants looking fresh and healthy, as it promotes new growth and flowers each season," she said.

Contrary to popular belief, native plants do benefit from being fed. Fertilisers specifically designed for native plants are available such as Acticote for Natives or organic manure based fertilisers like Yates® Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food.

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