If you are in need of a small shrub that is drought tolerant and frost resistant have a good look at this Australian native.
Autumn Blaze, Correa pulchella, is a small compact plant growing to a height of 30cm and spreads up to 1.5 metres wide. The great thing about this particular Correa is its flexibility towards planting conditions. This Correa can be planted in shaded areas or can be placed in full sun; neither position will take away from its performance.
Presenting wonderful orange tubular flowers in Autumn to Winter, it really adds that extra colour to the garden in the colder months. The flowers bloom all over the shrub once matured and with its fast growth habit it will take no time. The flowers tend to hang like pendulums, which just makes this plant the more eye catching. The foliage also compliments the flowers with its dark glossy green leaves.
Allowing a prune after flowering will encourage the plant to remain compact and also encourage more flowers for the next flowering season. If the full 1.5 meters is still too tall for your liking, this shrub can be cut back to 1 meter. Autumn Blaze can be used as a low border plant or ground cover if height is kept cut back. Also makes a beautiful feature plant in a garden rockery. They look fabulous in pots if maintained. If you wish to do this just make sure you use a native potting mix.
Feeding would best benefit any plant, so allowing some feed in spring and before flowering would give great results. Remember to use a native fertilizer! If other fertilizers are used on your native plants they will tend to look a bit sad or worse… Australian natives dislike the high phosphorus levels in most fertilizers; also make sure our soil is well drained. Natives don’t like to be sitting in water; turning over the soil is always good idea.
So the next time you head to your local nursery take a good look at the Autumn Blaze Correa in the Australian native section.
By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs
©The Gardeners Notebook