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12 Australian Native Flowering Trees

Native flowering trees are the perfect way to bring a little bit of Australia into your backyard.

Aussie natives can be the ideal addition to your garden. They are low maintenance and easy to care for, their flowers are beautiful and their foliage is stunning.

Better yet, most of these trees will attract birds, bees and other pollinators to your garden.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your own garden or just want to find out more about some of Australia’s native flora, we hope this guide can help.

Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)

Lemon myrtle Backhousia citriodora | Native plants
Backhousia citriodora / Photo by Krzysztof Ziarnek / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

The lemon myrtle is one of our all-time favourite plants. Nothing beats the lovely citrusy scent of the glossy green leaves as you brush past this tree and the stunning display of the large white pom-pom-type flowers.

Backhousia citriodora makes a great feature plant in your garden. It needs well-drained soil and protection from heavy frosts but it will tolerate light frosts. You can grow this gorgeous tree in full sun or part shade. 

This is a small to medium tree growing in height from 3 to 20 metres. However, it will rarely get to its full height when grown in a suburban garden.

In general, most rainforest trees will only reach around a third of their maximum height when cultivated in home gardens.

Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius)

Brachychiton acerifolius | Native plants
Brachychiton acerifolius / Photo by John Robert McPherson / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

This impressive large tree is a sight to behold when in full bloom. The clusters of red bell-shaped flowers will cover the tree in spring and summer.

Brachychiton acerifolius can grow to a height of around 20 metres but is usually much smaller when grown in a garden.

Cootamundra Wattle (Acacia baileyana)

Acacia baileyana Cootamundra Wattle | Native plants
Acacia baileyana / Photo by John Jennings / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

This fast-growing wattle has lovely grey foliage and bright yellow flowers in winter.

You always know that spring is just around the corner when you see this wattle in full bloom as it becomes completely covered with flowers.

The Cootamundra wattle can reach a height of around 6 to 8 metres. It can handle most soil types and will be happy in either full sun or light shade. It will even tolerate light frosts.

Best of all, this mid-sized native tee is particularly attractive to bees and seed-eating birds.

Hickory Wattle (Acacia implexa)

Acacia implexa Hickory Wattle | Native plants
Acacia implexa / Photo by Donald Hobern / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Hickory wattle will grow almost anywhere around the country, even in the outback as long as it receives some supplementary water in summer.

It has stunning dark green foliage and pretty cream, pom-pom flowers in summer.

This wattle is also drought and frost-tolerant once it becomes established. It’s a good idea to mulch around the base of the tree to protect the roots as suckering is common if the roots become damaged.

The tree will reach a height of 8 to 10 metres.

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.

Willow Bottlebrush (Callistemon salignus)

Callistemon salignus Willow Bottlebrush | Native plants
Callistemon salignus / Photo by Dinesh Valke / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

This is perhaps one of the hardiest bottlebrush trees you will ever grow. It can tolerate both waterlogged soils and periods of drought.

The attractive new growth is red in colour and the lovely bottlebrush flowers are white to cream.

This tree will grow to a height of around 10 metres but it’s a good idea to plant it well away from buildings because the roots can become invasive.

The Willow Bottlebrush will grow in full sun or part shade and can even tolerate heavy frosts.

Lilly Pilly (Syzygium)

Syzygium luehmannii flower | Native plants
Syzygium luehmannii / Photo by Stephan Ridgway / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Lilly Pillies are popular Australian natives that grow in a variety of conditions and soil types. They’re commonly grown as hedges and make perfect screening plants.

There are around 60 different Lilly Pilly varieties that are native to Australia and Southeast Asia.

In addition, there are also quite a few different cultivars and hybrids that have become popular across the country.

Sydney Golden Wattle (Acacia longifolia)

Acacia longifolia | Native plants
Acacia longifolia / Photo by Donald Hobern / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

You’ll be absolutely stunned by the mass of bright yellow flower spikes that appear in late winter and early spring. This beautiful wattle can reach a height of around 7 metres.

If you’re looking for an effective screening plant, then Acacia longifolia may suit your needs as it can spread to a width of 4 metres.

It’s also both frost and drought-tolerant. It prefers to grow in full sun and well-drained soil.

Hairpin Banksia (Banksia spinulosa)

Hairpin Banksia Banksia spinulosa | Native plants
Banksia spinulosa / Photo by Moonlight0551 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Banksia spinulosa is a native Australian plant in the family Proteaceae. It can grow up to 4 metres tall and 5 metres wide.

Its yellow flowers form as long spikes and bloom in autumn or winter. It’s commonly known as “Hairpin Banksia” because of its distinctive, narrow leaves.

This small native tree is mostly found on the central and southern coasts of New South Wales. This type of banksia is also found in Victoria and Queensland. It’s used for ornamental purposes, but can also serve as habitat for birds such as honeyeaters who feed on its seeds.

Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca nesophila)

Melaleuca nesophila | Native plants
Melaleuca nesophila / Photo by 阿橋 HQ / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

This small-growing tree will only reach a height of around 5 metres. It has typical melaleuca green foliage and very pretty pink pompom flowers in spring and summer. 

It will grow in most soil types and is happy in full sun or part shade.

It will also tolerate heavy frosts and is extremely attractive to nectar-eating birds, bees, and butterflies.

Dwarf Apple (Angophora hispida)

Angophora hispida Dwarf Apple | Native plants
Angophora hispida / Photo by Margaret Donald / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

This lovely summer-flowering tree can grow to a height of around 6 metres. In summer, this tree is covered with large clusters of fluffy cream-coloured flowers.

Nectar-feeding birds absolutely love these flowers and will flock to your yard in droves. The flowers also attract a variety of colourful beetles.

When not in bloom, the tree will astonish you with its beautiful bark and gorgeous new growth that is red in colour.

When young, the tree will need some frost protection but will be more tolerant once it becomes fully established.

It will grow happily in a sunny position but will tolerate some light shade.

Pincushion Hakea (Hakea laurina)

Hakea laurina | Native plants
Pincushion Hakea / Photo by Jean and Fred / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

This is only a small tree that can reach a height of around 6 metres.

The red, white, cream, and pink pincushion flowers appear from late autumn and throughout winter. 

The Pincushion Hakea has a non-invasive root system so is suitable for planting close to a house.

Yellow Hakea (Hakea nodosa)

Yellow Hakea Hakea nodosa | Native plants
Hakea nodosa / Photo by Luis Mata / iNaturalist Australia / CC0 1.0

Hakea nodosa is an evergreen plant that grows well in full sun or partial shade. The yellow flowers grow in clusters and bloom from autumn through winter.

This Australian native can be found in the states of South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania and grows up to 3 meters tall.

Photo of author

Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY and is always looking for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking meals with produce harvested from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.

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