Native plant ideas Hebe 'Wiri Desire' at the Auckland Botanic Gardens

Native Plant Ideas

Get inspired in our Native Plant Ideas garden

Inspiring ideas for using native plants in your home garden

Bring NZ native plants into your home garden. Visit Native Plant Ideas for inspiration for subtropical and coastal looks, residential courtyard plantings or perhaps a brilliant and different native plant border.

If you thought natives were all shades of green, there are lots of interesting cultivars available on the market, come and be pleasantly surprised by some bright colour combinations. The unique habit of many natives can be used to bring some real texture to your border and many respond well to clipping. Enjoy some playful and beautiful shaping; hedges of pittosporum and hebe contrasted against yellow balls of totara, clouds of beautifully clipped muehlenbeckia contrasted against linear flax leaves and architectural nikau palms.

All of these plants can be grown successfully in your Auckland home garden – come and learn more about design and maintenance. Clipping especially is fun and, if you follow a few simple rules, very satisfying. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or come along to one of our drop n learn sessions on hedging held during the year.

Check out some news about a renewal happening in this garden:

Leptospermum scoparium 'Wiri Sandra'

Leptospermum scoparium 'Wiri Sandra'

A cultivar is a plant that has been selected form the wild or bred by horticulturalists for some new or different quality for your garden e.g. colour, leaves, fragrance or form. You can recognise a cultivar by its name - first comes the botanical name of the original plant species followed by name of the cultivar (in quotation marks) e.g. Leptospermum scoparium ’Wiri Sandra’. Native plant cultivars with the prefix ‘Wiri’ have been bred here at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

Some cultivars are protected by Plant Varietal Rights (PVR). In nurseries these plants should have PVR on their label. This is like a patent and means that breeders receive a royalty for their work. Hebe ‘Wiri Desire’ has a PVR and returns a royalty to the Friends of Auckland Botanic Gardens. Using cultivars is great for urban gardens but please don’t plant them in the wild where they can inter-breed with natural species.

Gardening Tips for Native Plant Cultivars
  • Many coprosmas are very useful in coastal gardens around Auckland as they are reasonably hardy to strong wind and drought
  • Plant a pretty Leptospermum cultivar that brings in the bees - flower colours range from scarlet to deep rose and many shades of pink and white
  • Clip topiary regularly, ideally before periods of vigorous growth
  • Some native plants make great hedges - the frequency of pruning will depend on the species. Faster growing plants such Pittosporum tenuifolium (kohuhu) will require trimming three times a year whereas slower growing Podocarpus totara (totara) only once a year
  • Hedges should be shaped so they are narrower at the top than the base. This allows more light to reach the hedge sides, prevents it from becoming top heavy and unstable, and is easier to maintain.


Native Plant Ideas - hedging examples

Auckland Botanic Garden ensures that any significant cultivars, that may potentially become unavailable commercially, are conserved. Where appropriate, they are redistributed to commercial growers e.g. through the Growing Friends nursery at Auckland Botanic Gardens.


Horticulturalists at Auckland Botanic Gardens are monitoring, trialling and recording the performance of native plants in this collection as well as in supporting trial beds. You can find our top performing Hebe and our recommended native plants for Auckland gardens in the 'Plants for Auckland' brochures.  


Fully accessible, enter off the main Pacific Pathway (stairs from the Perennial Garden entrance are not suitable for a wheelchair).

Visit our other native plant collections