Gardening with indigenous plants

Benefits of using indigenous plants

Gardening is all about creating and enjoying a beautiful environment. With a little thought and planning, you can create a beautiful garden which is suited to local soils and climatic conditions and which has a low impact on our natural environment.

Use indigenous (native) plants to make your garden drought tolerant and fit in with Merri-bek’s natural environment.

A garden with indigenous plants uses less water, attracts native birds and wildlife, celebrates the character of the local environment, conserves other native plants in the area, and connects with the cultural history of the land and its traditional owners, the Wurundjeri people.

Popular indigenous plants

Indigenous trees

See a selection of indigenous trees which we recommend for planting in Merri-bek.

Tulip Tree

Liriodendron tulipifera

Large oval shaped tree of 20m+. Large deciduous leaves with a smooth texture. Striking yellow-green flowers that feature flecks of orange that resemble tulips and reside in the upper most branches.

Maidenhair Tree

Ginkgo biloba

Medium oval tree from 12m. Unique, double lobed, fan shaped leaves of rich green, and turn yellow in autumn

Wallangarra Gum

Eucalyptus scoparia

Medium to tall open tree to 12-18m tall. Trunk is a powdery white and the foliage is semi-pendulous and green in colour.


Search the Moreland Tree Finder tool to choose indigenous trees which are suitable for your space (select 'Indigenous in Merri-bek' under Advanced).

Large shrubs

  • Kangaroo apple: A very fast growing shrub with dense, dark green, glossy leaves.
  • Woolly tea-tree: A large sprawling shrub with many silvery blue leaves. White flowers in winter and wooly coated fruit in spring.

Small and medium shrubs

  • Turkey bush: Very robust small rounded shrub with many glossy green leaves.
  • River bottlebrush: Light green, narrow leaves with cream bottlebrush flowers in summer.
  • Sweet Bursaria: A straight-standing shrub with small green leaves. Tiny, sweetly-scented white flowers in summer.

Small plants

  • Common everlasting: Sprawling herb with small groups of golden daisies in summer.
  • Basalt daisy: Slender herb with upright stems and small white daisies in spring and summer.

Indigenous grasses

  • Pale flax lily: Sword-shaped leaves with pale blue flowers in spring.
  • Kangaroo grass: Leaves change colour with the seasons, and tall flowers in spring.
  • Tufted bluebell: Bright green herb with small narrow leaves.

Guides to gardening with indigenous plants

Gardening with Indigenous Plants booklet

The Gardening with Indigenous Plants booklet (PDF 973Kb) has full landscape designs for a courtyard garden, a formal garden, a cottage garden and a bush garden. It also has detailed information of 44 indigenous plants, grasses, shrubs and trees to grow in Merri-bek.

Sustainable Gardening in Merri-bek booklet

Sustainable Gardening in Merri-bek booklet (PDF 3Mb) has been designed to help the home gardener make decisions in the garden on design, improving soil, product choice and plant selection to develop their own sustainable garden haven. It provides helpful hints on the use of indigenous plants and gardening sustainably.

Sustainable Gardening Australia

The Sustainable Gardening booklet has been developed with the assistance of Sustainable Gardening Australia, a not-for-profit organisation committed to achieving real, continually improving and easily understood environmental solutions for gardeners.

Visit Sustainable Gardening Australia for fact sheets and information on sustainable and produce gardening as well as a forum for gardeners to chat about their patch.

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