Looking fantastic out in the garden at the moment is this Australian native called Crowea saligna. It is currently in full bloom, making an otherwise gloomy time of year very vibrant.
Crowea saligna has a compact habit which grows to a height of 1 meter by 0.5-1 metre wide. They grow best in well drained soil in full sun, but can grow in a semi-shaded position. If you have a heavier soil texture/medium such as clay, make sure to mix in a bag of humus/compost into the soil (this will help improve the soil texture and structure). C. salgina likes to be kept moist in the warmer months, until established. This variety usually establishes fairly quickly in the common garden, but it can vary depending on plant position, soil texture, and general plant happiness. But once established they are drought tolerant and will tolerate dry periods with very little water for an extended period of time. Foliage is a vibrant green, which is elliptic in shape. They are a great contrast against some other Australian natives such as; Eremophila Nivea ‘Gubburra Bells’ or Correa pulchella ‘Autumn Blaze’ ( just a few examples). Vibrant pink 5-petaled flowers will appear in late summer and will continue to bloom until mid winter.
What I love about this plant is the diverse range of ways it can be used in the home garden. Crowea saligna is ideal for pots/containers and will happily grow in a decent sized pot. Make sure to use an Australian native potting mix if you do choose to pot them up into a decorative pot. They can also make a brilliant small hedge or can be used to border a native garden bed. The best time to prune is in early spring (September), as this will help to encourage compact and healthier growth and will promote more flowers when they bloom again later in the year. In early spring it is also a great time to feed them up with a ‘native’ slow release-fertiliser.
By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs