12 Hardy Border Plants for Australian Gardens

When it comes to creating attractive borders around your garden beds or along your paths and driveway, you want to select plants that are both hardy and low-maintenance.

Fortunately, there are plenty of plants that you can choose from whether you want a lovely, lush green border or one that’s colourful and vibrant.

Here’s an interesting collection of border plants that fit all these criteria.

Acacia cognata (Mini Cog)

This hardy acacia is a low-growing shrub with lovely soft, dark green foliage. It will grow to a height of 1 metre and a spread of 1.5 metres so it’s perfect for a large border planting. 

You’ll also be delighted with the pale yellow ball-shaped flowers that will appear in late winter and early spring on mature plants. This plant will adapt to most soils and can grow happily in full sun or part shade.

Agapanthus ‘Silver Baby’

There’s nothing quite as hardy as an Agapanthus and this cultivar is a more compact form that only grows to a height of 20 cm. It produces masses of silvery-white flowers that are simply stunning. 

Callistemon viminalis ‘Better John’

This is a cultivar that has been bred from the popular Callistemon ‘Little John’ but has a much more compact growth habit. It only grows to a height and width of 1 metre.

And, you’ll be delighted with the bright red bottlebrush flowers that appear throughout spring and summer.

Coleonema compactum ‘Dwarf’ (Pink Diosma)

If you want a border plant that adds a bit of colour to your garden, then this dwarf pink diosma is perfect. It has lovely dark green foliage and pretty star-shaped pink flowers. 

The plant only grows to a height of 80 cm and a spread of around 1 metre. It’s also perfect for hedging so you can create a nice neat border with this plant if you wish.

Coprosma ‘Pacific Sunset’

If you’re looking for a fiery spot of colour along your borders, then you should consider this Coprosma cultivar. It has glossy fiery red leaves with a vivid red centre. 

The plant will grow to a height of 1 metre and needs well-drained soil in a sunny or partly shady spot.

Cuphea hyssopifolia

This is a pretty plant that requires very little maintenance but puts on a lovely floral display throughout the year. It’s available in a range of colours from white to pink, mauve, and purple. 

This plant is not frost-tolerant and prefers to grow in full sun or part shade. It does need well-drained soil. It grows to a height of around 50 cm.

Grevillea ‘Fireworks’

You’ll be amazed by the bright red and yellow spider flowers on this low-growing Grevillea. These flowers will appear from autumn through to spring and will add some vibrancy to your winter garden.

The plant will grow to a height and width of around 1.2 metres and is both drought and frost-tolerant. As an added bonus, it will attract lots of birds to your garden. If you tip prune each plant regularly, you’ll end up with nice dense shrubs.

Hebe ‘Lemon And Lime’

If you’re after a neat, structured border, consider growing this compact Hebe. It has stunning lemon-coloured stems with lime-green leaves.

It will only grow to a height and width of around 50 cm and is ideal for growing as a low hedge.

Heuchera ‘Black Taffeta’

Heucheras are some of the most stunningly coloured foliage plants that you’re ever going to find and this cultivar is no exception. It has dark maroon leaves that appear almost black. The leaves are large and luscious and this plant will grow in either full sun or part shade.

Heucheras will grow almost anywhere in Australia and they handle hot humid conditions just as well as cooler climates. You can either choose to plant your border just with this cultivar or break up the black with another Heuchera cultivar such as Heuchera ‘Glitter’ which has pale silvery leaves with dark red veins.

Lomandra ‘Echidna Grass’

For a more flowing and natural border, you can’t go past this compact Lomandra. The grass-like leaves are narrow and light green in colour. The plant will grow to a height and spread of around 70 cm.

It needs well-drained and fertile soil and will grow happily in full sun or part shade. You’ll also get the bonus of small flowers that appear amongst the foliage.

Nandina ‘Flirt’

You might be familiar with the more common Nandina domestica that is grown right around the country. However, this cultivar is quite spectacular with its dark red new growth. In fact, in winter, the plant will be almost entirely red.

It is very tolerant of cold, drought, and even humidity. The plant will only grow to a height and width of around 50 cm. Best of all, this plant does not produce viable seeds so it won’t spread into surrounding bushland.

Westringia ‘Jervis Gem’

We all know that Westringia is a hardy plant and even grows well in coastal areas. This particular cultivar is highly attractive and compact in growth. It grows to a height of around 1.2 metres and has stunning lilac flowers in spring.


What plants look good in front of a fence?

You can plant almost any shrub or flowering plant in front of a fence but you’ll get the greatest impact if you mass plant just one species or cultivar.

When should I plant a new border?

You want to plant a new border either in spring or autumn because conditions are ideal for the plants to establish a good root system.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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