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Low Maintenance Full Sun Plants for Australian Gardens

Native plants are the best choice for low maintenance gardens. They are well-adapted to local conditions and require less water and fertiliser than exotic species.

There are plenty of low-maintenance plants suitable for Australian gardens that are happy to grow in full sun.

Many Australian natives fall into this category and these are ideal for great-looking gardens that don’t require constant work.

Here are my favourite low-maintenance plants that thrive in sunny spots:

Anigozanthos ‘Amber Velvet’ (Kangaroo Paw)

Anigozanthos Kangaroo Paw | Plant varieties
Anigozanthos / Photo by Peripitus / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Kangaroo paws love living in a sunny position in your garden as long as they’re planted in well-drained soil.

Their lovely green foliage adds a little height and cover to bare areas and their delightful flowers will brighten up your garden during spring and summer.

This particular variety has gorgeous red, orange, and yellow flowers. However, there are other varieties in varying flower colours.

Kangaroo paws are drought-resistant and require very little maintenance.

Rhagodia spinescens (Spiny Saltbush)

Rhagodia spinescens Spiny Saltbush cropped | Plant varieties
Rhagodia spinescens / Photo by Daderot / Wikimedia (cropped) / CC0 1.0

This hardy shrub has the loveliest silvery-gray foliage and is as low-maintenance as they come.

It only grows to a height of around 1.5 metres but will spread nicely to cover an area of around 4 metres. It produces pretty little cream flowers in summer.

This plant is also useful for hedging and can be tip-pruned to encourage bushier growth.

It’s both frost and drought-tolerant and can even handle coastal areas that have salt spray.

Carpobrotus glaucescens (Pigface)

Pigface Carpobrotus glaucescens | Plant varieties
Carpobrotus glaucescens

This creeping succulent is mostly native to South Africa. However, there are around 6 pigface species that are native to Australia.

It has thick, fleshy leaves that are designed to hold water and bright daisy-like pink or purple flowers.

This plant is the perfect ground cover in sunny spots as it will spread to cover a large area. It grows naturally in many coastal areas along the east coast and has been helpful in stabilising sand dunes.

Once planted, pigface requires no maintenance except for an occasional prune if it spreads too far.

Correa reflexa (Native Fuchsia)

Correa reflexa Native Fuchsia | Plant varieties
Correa reflexa / Photo by peganum / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Correas are some of my favourite native flowering plants because they’re just so easy to care for and display lovely bell-shaped flowers almost all year round.

I’ve planted a variety of different correas in different gardens and all I did was plant them and give them the occasional watering when conditions were particularly dry.

This particular species can grow to a height of around 1.2 metres and a width of around 1 metre.

The pretty tubular bell-shaped flowers can be either cream, red, yellow, or pink. The plant does prefer well-drained soil and will tolerate light frosts. 

Did you know?

Many native Australian plants are adapted to low-nutrient soils, especially low in phosphorus.

Over-fertilising, particularly with high phosphorus fertilisers, can harm these plants. It’s best to use a slow-release, low-phosphorus fertiliser, specifically formulated for native plants.

We recommend this native fertiliser from Amgrow, designed to promote healthy root growth, lush foliage, and increased flowering, without overwhelming native species.

Callistemon viminalis (Bottlebrush)

Callistemon viminalis Bottlebrush | Plant varieties
Callistemon viminalis

Another favourite native plant of mine is the red-flowering bottlebrush. The bright red bottlebrush flowers blend beautifully with the deep green foliage.

Once planted, it can be left to grow without too much fuss. However, it will respond really well to some regular pruning as this will encourage bushier growth.

The best way to prune a Callistemon is to just cut off the spent flower heads. Every time you do this, two new stems will grow from where you made the cut.

I’m particularly fond of Callistemon viminalis ‘Prolific’. This species can grow to a height of 6 metres and a spread of 4 metres. However, you can control the growth with regular pruning.

Westringia ‘Blue Gem’ 

Westringia | Plant varieties
Westringia eremicola / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Westringias are hardy, low-maintenance plants that grow happily in full sun. This particular hybrid has the most spectacular blue-purple flowers that cover the entire plant in spring.

It will grow to a height of 1.5 metres and spread to a width of 1.3 metres. This makes it a lovely rounded shrub that is perfect for more formal landscape plantings.

Westringias prefer well-drained soil and are frost and drought-tolerant. These plants are also quite useful for creating low-growing hedges as they do respond well to pruning.

Eremophila glabra prostrate (Emu Bush)

Eremophila glabra prostrate Emu Bush cropped | Plant varieties
Eremophila glabra / Photo by Allthingsnative / Wikimedia (cropped) / CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re after a low-maintenance ground cover, then is definitely one to consider. It has bright green foliage and pretty tubular flowers in late winter through to summer.

This hardy plant is the perfect ground cover for difficult areas and will thrive in full sun. This emu bush can spread to cover 2 metres.

You will find it available in a number of different hybrids in flower colours of yellow, orange, and burgundy.

Grevillea rosmarinifolia ‘Scarlet Sprite’

Grevillea rosmarinifolia flowers | Plant varieties
Grevillea rosmarinifolia

Nothing beats the intrigue of the spidery flowers of grevillea and this hybrid is no exception.

The scarlet red blooms appear in profusion all over the plant over an extended period of time almost all year round.

Grevilleas require very little maintenance and can be left to grow happily in the garden on their own. However, you can give the plant a light prune if you want a denser growth habit.

This variety will grow to a height and spread of around 1 metre.

Banksia spinulosa (Birthday Candles)

Banksia spinulosa Birthday Candles | Plant varieties
Banksia spinulosa / Photo by Don McCulley / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

This gorgeous little banksia only grows to a height of around 0.5 metres and is perfect for rockeries or other small sunny garden areas.

It has the most delightful upright flowers in autumn and winter that are golden-yellow in colour.

Banksia spinulosa is both drought and frost-tolerant and will attract a variety of birds and butterflies to your garden.

It would also make an excellent ground cover if mass planted as it does form quite a dense mat.

Liriope muscari

Liriope muscari | Plant varieties
Liriope muscari

If you’re after a low-maintenance border plant, then you should consider the Liriope species. This particular cultivar has delightful deep purple flower spikes that will sit high above the strappy green leaves late in the season.

This is quite a compact cultivar that grows to a height and width of around 40 cm.

Although not an Australian native, Liriope muscari will grow almost everywhere in Australia and is one of those plants you can just plant and forget. It creates a fantastic display if planted en masse along a driveway or other type of border.

Correa alba (White Correa)

Correa alba Pinkie | Plant varieties
Correa alba Pinkie / Photo by peganum / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

I planted one of these in my garden a couple of years ago and it grows in full sun and has required hardly any maintenance at all. It’s a beautiful shrub with lovely greyish leaves and dainty white flowers. 

Correa alba does like a little supplementary water when young but the plant will droop a little to let you know when it needs water. Other than that, all you want to do is some regular tip pruning to create a nice shape.

Grevillea lanigera (Woolly Grevillea)

Woolly Grevillea | Plant varieties

This is a very hardy groundcover grevillea that will happily grow in a sunny position and is perfect for a low-maintenance garden. It has striking white, pink or red spider flowers during the colder months of the year. 

Being a groundcover, the plant will only reach a height of around 30 cm but it can spread to a width of around 1.5 metres. This makes it ideal for planting under taller shrubs in order to act as a living mulch and suppress weeds.

Lomandra longifolia ‘Lime Tuff’



This Lomandra cultivar is a hybrid between three different Lomandra species which makes it extremely hardy and care-free. It has lovely lime green strappy leaves and is perfect as a border plant. 

Lomandra Lime Tuff will also produce cream flower spikes in spring that will add some interest to your garden. It’s a fairly compact grower and will reach a height of around 0.2 metres and a width of around 0.4 metres.

It’s a good idea to give young plants some extra watering until they’re well-established especially if there has been no rain in your area.

Myoporum parvifolium (Creeping Boobialla)

Myoporum parvifolium Creeping Boobialla | Plant varieties
Myoporum parvifolium / Photo by cultivar413 / Flickr (cropped) / CC BY 2.0

This is another Australian native groundcover that is extremely low-maintenance and will grow happily in full sun. It has very dense foliage so it’s good at suppressing weeds. In late spring through to early autumn, the plant will be covered with masses of white flowers.

Myoporum parvifolium will reach a height of around 0.3 metres and will spread extensively over the soil. It does like well-drained soil that has been enriched with organic matter. Apart from growing as a groundcover, creeping boobialla is also great for growing on top of garden walls so that it can trail down over the edge.

Acacia rigens

Acacia rigens | Plant varieties
Acacia rigens / Photo by Melburnian / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Who doesn’t love the stunning display when an Australian wattle blooms in late winter? For me, it’s always a sign that spring is just around the corner. This particular species can either grow as a spreading shrub with a height of around 3 metres or, depending on the growing conditions, it can grow into a small tree with a height of around 6 metres.

This is a highly adaptable species and will handle most soil types that are well-drained and slightly alkaline. As a bonus, this species is both frost and drought-tolerant once it has become established. It has the most delightful bright yellow pompom-type flowers.

Xerochrysum bracteatum ‘Dargan Hill Monarch’

Xerochrysum bracteatum ‘Dargan Hill Monarch | Plant varieties
Xerochrysum bracteatum ‘Dargan Hill Monarch’ / Photo by Melburnian / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Australian paper daisy is a lovely plant that will grow in full sun and delight you with its bright yellow papery flowers.

This particular cultivar is a dwarf hybrid that will reach a height of around 1 metre and a spread of around 2 metres.

Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Yellow Buttons)

Chrysocephalum apiculatum | Plant varieties

This is another of my favourite Australian native plants that has the cutest yellow button flowers.

It looks stunning when planted along a border but also makes an attractive feature plant in your garden.

You can even cut the flowers and bring them inside to put in a vase.

Chorizema varium (Flame Pea)

Chorizema cordatum flowers | Plant varieties
Chorizema cordatum / Photo by HelenaH / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

This stunning plant originates from Western Australia and has the most striking pink and orange flowers during winter and spring.

It’s a small spreading shrub growing to a height of 0.3 metres. This would make an excellent feature plant in your garden and can also be grown in a pot.

Philotheca ‘Flower Girl’ (Wax Flower)

This hardy small shrub has pretty white star-shaped flowers that have a slightly pink tinge. The plant will flower from late winter and right throughout spring.

It will grow to a height and width of around 1.5 metres and will adapt to most soil types around the country.

Low Maintenance Full Sun Plant FAQ:

What plants like afternoon sun?

All of the plants on our list will happily grow in the afternoon sun. Other species that will thrive in hot conditions include lantana, lemon verbena, marigolds, cosmos, salvias, geraniums, and sedums.

What is the easiest plant to grow in full sun?

All of the plants on our list are easy to grow in full sun. However, if you’re looking for a plant that will thrive and spread right around your garden, consider nasturtiums. These hardy plants are almost impossible to kill and will grow to cover a large area fairly quickly. Not only do they spread all over the ground but they’ll even climb up fences and other structures. They’re also loved by bees and other pollinating insects. You can even dig out a section of a trailing stem that has roots and plant it elsewhere in the garden and it will flourish.

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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2 thoughts on “Low Maintenance Full Sun Plants for Australian Gardens”

  1. Hi Annette I really enjoyed reading your Article on all the different plant species, especially the Natives. I am wondering if you could suggest what I could plant in my front yard against my house which faces more west then towards south. and gets full sun more or less in summer and from about 12 o’clock in the afternoon now in Autumn.The drainage is shocking, I have put Ag pipe with pebbles and a fair bit of sand and compost as there is alot of clay and rubble and stuff from the builders and what not from the building of our house. At the moment I have planted Etemophila Nivea which I absolutely love and am willing to take the risk but I know these hate wet feet and don’t think they’ll last. So if you can kindly suggest something that sits more or less in full sun and doesn’t mind having pretty wet feet when it rains, I’d love your advice. It’s about 380O wide and would love to have some sort of shrubs that I can hedge or not. I’d like all the plants to be the same, something about a metre high or under to trim. I’d appreciate any thoughts. Much obliged Vicki

    Reply
    • Hi Vicki

      Firstly, can I suggest that you try and get hold of some acacia mulch to put on top of the soil. As this breaks down, it will really improve the structure and should help with the drainage as well. Plus, it’s full of nitrogen, so it will really benefit your plants. As for plant suggestions, have a look at this article I wrote recently that describes natives that don’t mind wet feet – https://ultimatebackyard.com.au/plants-that-like-wet-feet/

      Reply

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