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15 Australian Native Ground Cover Plants (With Pictures)

Looking for some low-maintenance ground cover? We’ve listed some of our favourite natives to provide you with inspiration.

Native plants are a great option for anyone that has difficult growing conditions, or for those simply looking to create a low-maintenance yard.

In this article, we’ve listed some of our favourite native ground covers to provide you with some inspiration for your garden.

Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’

Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle | Native plants
Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’ / Photo by Akos Kokai / Wikimedia / CC BY 2.0

This is one of the most popular grevillea ground covers. It has lush green foliage and gorgeous red toothbrush flowers.

It will easily spread for several metres in all directions.

New growth is a coppery colour and this adds to the allure of this lovely grevillea.

Dichondra repens ‘Kidneyweed’

Dichondra repens Kidneyweed 3 | Native plants
Dichondra repens

Dichondra repens is an Australian native groundcover with small green kidney-shaped leaves. It prefers to grow in lightly shaded spots in your garden but can handle full sun if it is watered during dry weather. However, it should be shaded from the fierce afternoon sun.

This plant spreads rapidly through underground stolons and will cover a wide area. Some people use it to replace lawns, especially in more shaded areas. It doesn’t need to be mowed. However, it’s not suitable for high-traffic areas.

Kidneyweed is ideal for use as a ground cover in your garden beds where you are growing shrubs and flowers. Thanks to its dense growth habit, it’s perfect for preventing weed growth once it’s well established.

This also makes kidneyweed ideal for use in cottage gardens or rock gardens.

RELATED: Plants That Grow Well With Afternoon Sun

Ajuga australis ‘Austral Bugle’

Ajuga australis | Native plants
Austral Bugle / Photo by Mark Marathon / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Austral Bugle is a ground cover that grows to 0.1 – 0.6 metres tall and up to 0.5m wide. It has tubular mauve flowers and blooms in spring and summer.

This plant is indigenous to Eastern Australia and can be used for erosion control, habitat enhancement, ornamental purposes, or weed suppression.

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.

Brachyscome multifida ‘Cut-leaf Daisy, Native Daisy’

Brachyscome multifida | Native plants
Brachyscome multifida / Photo by Krzysztof Golik / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

Cut-leaf Daisy is a hardy perennial ground cover native to Australia. Its white, pink, or mauve flowers will add a pop of color to your garden.

This easy-to-grow native Australian flower likes full sun and well-drained soil. It can tolerate drought conditions and doesn’t need much water once established.

You can use Native Daisies in your garden as either ground covers or border plants; they look great with other Australian native grasses and perennials.

Chorizema cordatum ‘Heart-leaf Flame Pea’

Chorizema cordatum | Native plants
Chorizema cordatum / Photo by Dr. Alexey Yakovlev / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Chorizema cordatum is a dense native shrub with heart-shaped leaves that grows to between 1 and 2 metres tall and spreads up to 1 metre wide.

Also known as Heart-leaf Flame Pea, this Western Australia native blooms from spring through summer, producing yellow, orange, or red flowers.

The Heart-leaf Flame Pea attracts butterflies and bees with its pretty blooms, making it an excellent choice for habitat planting.

Chrysocephalum apiculatum ‘Common Everlasting, Yellow Buttons’

Chrysocephalum apiculatum 1 | Native plants
Chrysocephalum apiculatum

Chrysocephalum apiculatum belongs to the Asteraceae family, which also includes daisies and sunflowers.

The Chrysocephalum apiculatum generally grows up to 60 cm tall and 50 cm wide, although the appearance of this plant varies widely due to its wide distribution around the country.

It has yellow flowers, which are compact heads, and thin green leaves.

Grevillea ‘Bronze Rambler’

Grevillea ‘Bronze Rambler | Native plants
Grevillea ‘Bronze Rambler’

This is a great ground cover for use in larger areas as it has the capacity to spread to around 3 to 5 metres.

It has dense foliage with deeply divided leaves that have a bronze sheen. The flowers are toothbrush-shaped and a deep red in colour.

This plant is also frost and drought tolerant and will grow in most soil types.

Hibbertia scandens ‘Climbing Guinea Flower, Snake Vine’

Hibbertia scandens | Native plants
Hibbertia scandens / Photo by Karelj / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Climbing Guinea Flower, or Hibbertia scandens, is a hardy native Australian ground cover. It’s ideal for erosion control but can also be used as a feature plant with its beautiful large flowers.

It is a vigorous climber that can reach 1-2 metres in height and 4-5 metres in width. The flowers are large star shaped and yellow in colour, blooming in spring and summer.

This native climbing plant prefers full sun to part shade and is drought tolerant once established. It tolerates light frost as well as soil salinity.

Pelargonium australe ‘Austral Stork’s-bill’

Pelargonium australe | Native plants
Pelargonium australe / Photo by Magnus Manske / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Pelargonium australe, or the Austral Stork’s-bill, is a native Australian plant that attracts butterflies and other pollinators with its bright flowers.

It is an evergreen ground cover that grows to a height of 0.3 – 0.7 metres and a width of 0.5 – 1.5 metres, and it bears pink flowers in spring and autumn.

Commonly mistaken for Geranium, the plant is often found in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

Pycnosorus globosus ‘Billy Buttons’

Pycnosorus globosus | Native plants
Pycnosorus globosus / Photo by Raffi Kojian / Gardenology / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Billy Buttons is a beautiful Australian native ground cover plant that can grow up to 1.3 metres high and 1 metre wide.

Previously known as Craspedia globosa, Pycnosorus globosus goes by the common names of Billy Buttons and Drumsticks.

They flower in spring and summer, when the sun is high and hot. Their flowers are bright yellow globes that stand out against the soft grey leaves.

Billy Buttons are easy to care for and can be planted almost anywhere in Australia. They prefer full sun but will tolerate most soil types as long as it is free draining.

Viola hederacea ‘Native Violet’

Viola hederacea | Native plants
Viola hederacea / Photo by Harry Rose / Flickr / CC 2.0

Our own native violet is one of the best groundcovers for shaded gardens.

It will spread around the garden and pop up quite readily to form a fairly dense mat of dark green foliage.

The lovely white and purple flowers appear through most of spring and summer.

Australian violets like moist soil and are perfect for planting under native trees and in rockeries. The only thing that they don’t like is dry conditions.

They are fairly low maintenance but do prefer to be kept moist but not waterlogged.

Note that Viola hederacea spreads by underground runners quite rapidly so may need controlling so that they don’t take over your entire garden.

Scaevola albida ‘Small-fruit Fan-flower, Pale fan-flower’

Scaevola albida | Native plants
Scaevola albida / Photo by Geoffrey Derrin / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

Scaevola albida is a groundcover that can be found across Australia.

It has small blue flowers that look like fans, and it blooms in spring and summer.

This plant prefers full sun and well-drained soil of any type, including clay, loam, and sandy soil.

It will tolerate drought conditions as well as moderate frost.

Westringia fruticosa ‘Flat’n’Fruity’

Westringia fruticosa ‘Flat’n’Fruity’ is a dense native ground cover that grows to 0.3 metres tall and 1.5 metres wide.

It will flower most of the year, but especially in spring and summer.

This wonderful plant is very hardy and can cope with a wide range of soil types.

Grevillea obtusifolia ‘Gin Gin Gem’

Grevillea obtusifolia ‘Gin Gin Gem | Native plants
Grevillea obtusifolia / Photo by Melburnian / Wikimedia (cropped) / CC BY 3.0

This is a really dense-growing grevillea that makes an ideal ground cover and weed suppressor. It has small spidery red and cream flowers.

This variety is particularly suitable for coastal areas and will benefit from a yearly prune after flowering.

It will tolerate light frosts and can grow in both full sun and lightly shaded spots.

Hardenbergia violacea ‘Purple Coral Pea

Hardenbergia violacea | Native plants
Hardenbergia violacea / Photo by KENPEI / Wikimedia (cropped) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Hardenbergia violacea flowers are pea-shaped and grow in clusters, with colours ranging from light pink to deep purple, and occasionally white.

In spring, they bloom and cover the top of the bush in a stunning display of colour. They’re also perfect for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

When mass planted, this flowering climbing plant creates an eye-catching display of colour that can be a standout feature of your garden.

Keep in mind that it is frost sensitive, especially when young, so is best planted in late winter or spring.

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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