Knox Your City
Skip Links
Visit our LinkedIn pageContact Knox City Council

Service Updates

We are prioritising critical services and some services may be reduced. This means there will be longer wait times for customers contacting us by phone. Many of our services are available online. Advice on which services can continue is changing rapidly. For regular updates, go to

Pink Bells

Indigenous Plants in Knox

What are indigenous plants?

Indigenous plants are the native plants which naturally occur in the local area. They enhance the character of our landscape, provide low maintenance gardens and maintain our local biodiversity by providing food, nesting sites and shelter for native wildlife.

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.

Download a sample of indigenous plants found in Knox

Genetic Integrity Policy

Knox’s native vegetation has become fragmented due to decades of land clearing for agriculture, housing development and infrastructure. Consequently, much of what remains is in small pockets. The populations of indigenous plant species within these remnants range from a few plants to many hundreds and their ecological and genetic health is highly variable and dependant on many factors.
A major risk factor for indigenous plants is the very small, genetically isolated populations that many species have. Small populations can mean:

  • poor pollination leading to inadequate reproduction;
  • inbreeding;
  • dumping of garden waste, household rubbish and builders' waste; and
  • vulnerability to chance events such as trampling by a dog or bike.

Planting of indigenous plant species can reduce these risks as long as the planting uses local strains. Knox City Council adopted the Genetic Integrity Policy to support the long term protection of the local provenance plants in the municipality.

Download the Genetic Integrity Policy

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.

Things to consider when planting


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.


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 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 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.


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 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

Gardens for Wildlife (G4W) is a free program in partnership with the Knox Environment Society (KES). It is designed to encourage residents and businesses in Knox to create an area in their garden to support local wildlife. This is done by providing habitat and food sources planted with locally indigenous, Australian native or suitable introduced species.

The program is free to join and once you have registered, we will visit your garden to provide advice and answer any questions you may have about your garden space and the type of wildlife you would like to attract.

To find out more about the Gardens for Wildlife Program visit or contact Knox City Council on 9298 8000.

Knox Environment Society (KES) Community Nursery

The Knox Environment Society (KES) Community Nursery preserves, propagates and promotes local indigenous plants, many of which are already facing extinction. They are located next to the Ferntree Gully Library on Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully. The nursery is open Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays - check the KES website for specific opening hours.

Powered by