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Plants from Down Under

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2011

Plants from Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania have become popular worldwide for their unique colors and shapes. Despite originating halfway around the world in the Southern Hemisphere, these plants actually grow remarkably well in American gardens, since we have similar growing conditions to their homeland -- with the seasons reversed, of course.

Here, Dennis Schrader of Landcraft Environments shares some of his favorite plants from Down Under.

Calocephalus Brownii
This drought-tolerant Australian plant has distinct silver-colored leaves and wiry branches. When placed in full sun, it can grow to a height of 6 to 10 inches.

Hebe
Hebe plants are small sub-shrubs that grow between 12 and 18 inches per season. Their cone-shaped blooms appear consistently throughout the late spring and early summer, slowing down in the heat and picking up again in the cooler weather of fall. Plant in full sun to part shade in rich, moisture-retentive soil.

Phormium
Known for colorful foliage, phormium plants make great vertical accents in the garden. They grow in full sun to part shade and well-drained soil, and mature plants can reach between three and five feet.

Anigozanthos
Native to the southwest corner of Australia, anigozanthos produce fuzzy, tubular-shaped flowers atop thin stems and reach a height of 18 to 36 inches. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil.

Brachycome Iberidifolia
This fairly common annual with finely cut dark-green foliage and light-blue daisy-shaped flowers is an ideal plant for massing, edging, containers, and hanging baskets. Also known as the Swan River Daisy, Brachycome iberidifolia blooms from spring to fall and can be planted in full sun to partially shaded locations.

Coprosma Beatson's Gold
Hailing from New Zealand, Coprosma Beatson's Gold has small, glossy ear-shaped leaves and is grown as a foliage accent plant. It can be pruned to almost any shape imaginable or left on its own to slouch and sprawl around a planter. Place in full to partial sun and let dry slightly between waterings.

Cyathea Cooperi
Cyathea cooperi are one of the most beautiful of all tree ferns, producing large, lacy green fronds of up to six or more feet. Plant alone as a single-container specimen for maximum impact.

Wollemi Pine
The Wollemi pine is one of the world's oldest and rarest plants, dating back to the time of the dinosaurs. First discovered in 1994, this distinctive pine tree is now the focus of extensive research dedicated to safeguarding its survival. Though not hardy in the American northeast, it may thrive farther south and on the west coast.

Resources
For more information, visit landcraftenvironment.com.