Callistemon rigidus plant with green and red leaves citrius

Best plants for beginners

Hardy, drought resistant, tolerant of salt spray or boggy conditions… there really is a native plant for every garden situation. So why do so many gardeners struggle growing native plants?

Think about this vast country of ours – Australia has climates that vary from desert to tropical, coastal and alpine extremes, and soils that range from rocky to sandy to boggy and everything in between. The diversity of our native plants reflects this – you won’t see the same plants growing in Western Australia as you do in New South Wales. You won’t even see the same plants growing everywhere in New South Wales! 

When you walk into a native nursery you’re going to find a vast array of truly spectacular plants… but just because they’re native doesn’t mean they’re going to thrive in your garden. To ensure your plant is happy and healthy you need to mimic the conditions it grows in naturally; by amending your soil, adding or removing shade, or growing in containers or raised beds to ensure adequate drainage. 

At Sydney Wildflower Nursery we want every gardener who visits our nursery to be a successful gardener. If you’re new to gardening with native Australian plants, you’ll find a few suggestions below of hardy plants that suit tricky spots to help get you started. And, as always, asking one of our trained staff members for suggestions is a great way to make sure your garden is off to the best start. 

  • Grevillea Pink Midget – this is a great plant to start with as it flowers for much of the year, attracts bees and other beneficial insects, is fast growing and will tolerate a range of conditions. 
  • Dichondra repens – wonderful filler for between pavers or a shady spot. It will grow in sun and part shade and tolerates a range of soil conditions. 
  • Ajuga australis – an unusual plant with architectural leaves, this is a great one to give contrast to an area that has dry soil and shade. 
  • Lomatia siliafolia – excellent screening plant for dry shade, it’s often mistaken for a grevillea. Beautiful creamy flowers during spring and a dense habit make this an usual but hardy garden favourite!
  • Westringia fruticosa – a hardy coastal plant, well suited to surviving drought and neglect. It may look a little understated but it shines as an architectural element in the garden, especially when pruned into mounding balls. 
  • Banksia sentinel – the perfect narrow screen for a well drained spot. It will tolerate both part shade and full sun and reward you with stunning nectar filled blooms through autumn and early winter. 
  • Callistemons – better known as the bottlebrush, Callistemon’s come in every shape and size and colour. They’re great for a boggy spot and will thrive after a heavy prune, so they make great hedges and screening plants. 

To discover more about great plants for beginners, pop into the nursery and ask one of our friendly plant people for their professional picks!



Since 1983, the Sydney Wildflower Nursery at Heathcote has been providing residents and visitors from around Australia with quality native Australian plants.

Supplying plants for jobs big and small we pride ourselves on our knowledge, passion and extensive range of beautiful and unusual Australian native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.


9 Veno Street, Heathcote, NSW, 2233

Ph: 02 9548 2818