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Australian Native Hedge Plants: Complete Guide

There are a number of natives that work well as hedge plants including Lilly Pillies and Grevilleas.

Native plants are generally easier to grow and maintain than exotic species, plus they provide food and shelter for local wildlife and help support our environment.

Looking to grow a native hedge plant on your property?

In this guide, we discuss what to consider when choosing native plants and then list some popular native hedge plants for Australian gardens.

What to consider when choosing native plants for your garden

Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly | Native plants
Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly

Your climate

There are native plants available for every part of the country but some are better for cooler southern climates while others prefer the more sub-tropical and tropical regions of the north.

If you live in a more arid region, you’ll want to consider drought-tolerant plants while southern gardeners need to select plants that can handle a little frost every now and then.

Your soil type

As most Australian natives prefer slightly acid soil, you may need to make some amendments to your soil in order to accommodate this.

Shade or sun

If you already have a few tall trees, your garden may be shaded for part of the day.

Therefore, you need to select plants that can handle the shade.

Alternatively, your garden space may be in full sun and you might want to plant a couple of taller trees to create some shade.

Formal or free-flowing

Most native gardens are fairly free-flowing but you can create a more formal garden by using natives for hedging or for creating a less formal border around your other plants.

Australian native hedge plants

There are a number of natives that work well as hedge plants.

Here are some of our favourites:

Syzygium / Acmena smithii ‘Lilly Pilly’

Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly hedge 2 | Native plants
Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly

Lilly Pillys 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.

Lilly pillies are more suitable for areas with a more temperate climate. However, if you protect them from frosts while young, they can be grown successfully in southern areas as well.

Not only do Lilly pillies have attractive foliage with lovely new red growth but they also produce edible fruits that are quite popular for making into jams. Of course, the birds love these fruits too.

Lilly pillies can grow into large trees reaching a height of around 6 metres. However, they are quite happy to be trimmed and pruned to a more suitable height.

Space your hedge plants around 1 metre apart to get a nice dense hedge and fertilise with a slow-release fertiliser once a year in spring.

Westringia fruticosa ‘Coastal Rosemary’

Westringia fruticosa hedge | Native plants
Westringia fruticosa

For people who garden in coastal areas, Westringia fruticosa is a great choice for a low-maintenance hedging plant. It has lovely grey-green foliage and small white or lavender flowers.

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

Coastal Rosemary has dense green foliage and small fan-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring and summer months but can appear year-round.

These flowers are covered in small hairs and the upper petal is uniquely divided into two lobes. The leaves are needle-like and are covered in tiny hairs.

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

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.

Grevillea

Grevillea rosmarinifolia | Native plants
Grevillea rosmarinifolia

Many grevilleas make excellent informal hedging plants thanks to their fast growth and hardiness.

Grevilleas are such hardy plants that they don’t need a lot of extra care. When you’re growing them as a hedge, all you have to do is give them a tidy-up to help maintain the general shape of the hedge.

Keep in mind that a grevillea hedge will be informal but will look fantastic when the plants are in full bloom.

As your plants start to grow, you can use your hedge shears to give them a very light prune to get the shape you want. Tip pruning is best as this will encourage denser growth.

Remember to prune off the spent flowers regularly as this will encourage the plant to produce more.

Here are a few varieties of grevilleas that you can use for hedging:

  • Grevillea ‘Superb’
  • Grevillea ‘Peaches and Cream’
  • Grevillea rosmarinifolia
  • Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’
  • Grevillea ‘Coconut Ice’

Callistemon viminalis ‘Bottlebrush’

Callistemon viminalis | Native plants
Callistemon viminalis

The red-flowering bottlebrush can be left to grow without too much fuss. But for growing as a hedge, 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.

This species of bottlebrush can grow to a height of 6 metres and a spread of 4 metres. However, you can control the growth with regular pruning.

The bright red bottlebrush flowers blend beautifully with the deep green foliage.

Rhagodia spinescens (Spiny Saltbush)

Rhagodia spinescens Spiny Saltbush cropped | Native plants
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.

This small native tree 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.

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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1 thought on “Australian Native Hedge Plants: Complete Guide”

  1. Thanks Steve. A great post – I’m wanting to put in an Australian native tall hedge to screen out our neighbours. This really helped me alot. Thankyou!

    Reply

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