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Indigenous Plants in Knox

What are indigenous plants?

Indigenous plants are the native plants which naturally occur in the local area.

Download a sample of indigenous plants found in Knox (PDF 2.4MB)

The benefits of indigenous plants

  • Require less water to be established and maintained;
  • Don’t require fertilisers;
  • Are tolerant of local environmental conditions;
  • Maintain the ecology and biodiversity of an area;
  • Provide suitable habitat for native fauna;
  • Maintain the unique character of the landscape.

Why indigenous plants benefit Knox

There is less than 4% of indigenous vegetation left in Knox that existed prior to pre – European development. Planting indigenous vegetation contributes to local biodiversity and assists in protecting species.

Things to consider when planting

Planning


Establish a garden plan prior to purchasing plants. When doing this, you will need to consider:

  • Space available;
  • Garden uses, taking into account: people, pets, access, play;
  • Existing plants;
  • Removal of environmental weeds;
  • Site orientation: observe sunlit and shaded areas of the garden;
  • Wet and dry areas;
  • Soil conditions;
  • Location of power/service lines, utilities, easements, etc.; and
  • Fire safety, i.e. Reduce vegetation close to house, create breaks in landscaping, mulching style and plant selection.

Benefit of Tubestock


There is a common perception with all plants that ‘bigger is better’ but research has shown that small plants suffer less transplant shock and rapidly establish a healthy root system; encouraging rapid growth and minimising soil disturbance.

Plant Density


Plant multiples of species as they advertise the habitat more broadly. Flowering is then more noticeable and provides a greater incentive for wildlife to visit and creates a more natural look and feel to the garden. Establishing plantings in layers; groundcovers, grasses, shrubs and trees, provides great opportunities for shelter as well as food to attract a wide range of wildlife.

Watering


Water the new plants in well. For the first summer, regular watering may be required. Once established, they will adapt to the local rainfall.

Did you know that around 400 litres of water can be saved per year for every square metre of irrigated lawn area replaced with mulched beds of indigenous plants.

Mulching


Mulching will conserve water by reducing evaporation. It will also enhance root density and aid in weed suppression. The mulch should be between 7.5 - 10cm deep and should be kept away from the plant stems (this can cause rot).

Fertilising


Fertilising is generally not needed. If you decide to fertilise, mix a low-phosphorous, slow release fertiliser for natives sparingly with soil as you backfill the hole when planting. High phosphorous fertilisers can harm some natives.

Pruning


Your indigenous plants will appreciate a light trim after flowering to promote new growth. Regular pruning imitates the natural process of fauna eating the tips off trees and shrubs.

Staking


Staking is not necessary unless the plant is in real danger of toppling over. A plant should only be staked for 1 year, and it should be done lightly so the plant is still able to ‘feel’ some movement. This will help promote the root growth it needs to stabilise itself.

Planting technique

1. Pre-water the plants whilst they're still in their pots.
2. Dig a hole to the same depth as the pot and twice the width. Retain the soil to backfill the hole.
3. Remove the plant from the pot and place in the hole to a depth sufficient to cover the root system.
4. Set the plant upright at the lowest point in the hole, refill the hole using the soil you retained. Tamp down the loose soil around the root mass to minimise any air holes and ensure that 2-3 cm of soil covers the top of the root mass.
5. Cover the surface of the soil with a thin layer of mulch and water in well.

Gardens for Wildlife Program

Watching birds and animals interact in your newly established garden adds a special dimension to the garden. Just by planting local species, you will attract local fauna.

To find out more about the Gardens for Wildlife Program visit www.knox.vic.gov.au/g4w or contact Knox City Council on 9298 8000.

Knox Environment Society (KES) Community Nursery

KES is located next to the Ferntree Gully Library on Burwood Highway between Glenfern Road and Brenock Park Drive, Ferntree Gully (Melway ref: 74 A5). The nursery is open Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays check their website for specific opening hours).

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