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Plant type Perennials, Natives
Plant Uses Container Plant

Best uses

Best used to create texture in a mixed border or native garden.

Physical characteristics

Large, tufted, clump-forming native plant with drooping silvery leaves growing up to 1m tall.

Flowers and foliage

Narrow, silver-green leaves. Pale green flowers bloom in spring, followed by purple-black berries in autumn.

Preferred site

Prefers full sun to partial shade with rich, free-draining soil. Tolerates wind and coastal conditions. Suitable for planting on top of a wall or raised the bed, so they enjoy the good drainage and exposure.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown plants and plant after autumn rains. Before planting, ensure the root ball is saturated and remove the planter pot with minimal root disturbance. Trim any broken roots and plant at the same level as in the container. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball, press in and water once planted. Make sure the plants are watered well until established if planting in a drier period. Plant with some general slow-release fertiliser. After this, apply organic fertiliser, such as blood and bone, at a handful per square metre, in spring as new growth appears. Plant approximately 80cm apart.

Maintenance tips

Apply mulch annually to discourage weed growth and help maintain moisture. Keep mulch away from plant stems. Requires no major maintenance except for the removal of unsightly old fronds.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

Creates a habitat for invertebrates and food for forest birds.

Pests and diseases

Can occasionally suffer from slug damage, so avoid planting in poor-draining soil.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Native Identification Trail

Interesting facts and tips

Astelia banksii was named after Sir Joseph Banks, who was an English naturalist botanist and patron of the natural sciences.