Native Plants For Cut Flowers
Some of the most spectacular large floral arrangements are those of Australian native flowers and foliage. Equally appealing are vases of delicate flowers with feathery foliage or small posies of delightful native violets interspersed with tiny fronds of ferns. Whatever your taste in cut flowers, planting a variety of native plants in your garden can provide year round displays in your home.
As with all cut flowers, there are a few ground rules to follow. Flowers are best cut early in the morning and the stems immediately placed in water for about thirty minutes. If the stems are woody, it is a good idea to re-cut them on a slant whilst underwater. This will allow maximum uptake of water and thus prolong the life of the flowers. The addition of a sachet of STS (silver thiosulphate) to the vase water will also help. This can be obtained from a florist. The vases should be clean and placed in a position away from direct sunlight and warm surfaces.
For those who like large, bold arrangements there are several choices of plant that grow well locally. The beautiful Queensland tree waratah (Alloxylon flammeum) has large red flowers that are about 20 cm across. The upright spikes of the banksias, for example the cream to yellowish Banksia aemula and Banksia integrifolia look great in a bowl by themselves or with mixed foliage. The golden penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) has, as it’s name suggests, beautiful golden flowers arranged in a terminal ‘ball’. Sago flower (Ozothamnus diosmifolia) has large heads of white flowers whilst the powderpuff lilly pilly (Syzygium wilsonii) has beautiful pom poms of purple flowers with silvery golden stamen.
More delicate displays can be achieved using the white flowering tea trees such as Leptospermum speciosum or Leptospermum trinervium or bottlebrushes such as the willow bottlebrush (Melaleuca saligna) and Sieber’s paperbark (Melaleuca sieberi). The hakeas (for example Hakea acites and Hakea florulenta) have both curly clusters of cream flowers which would suit these types of arrangement and lovely woody pods which would look good amongst the more robust flowers.
With planning, a range of plants suitable for cut flowers can provide year round flowers to brighten your house. Come and speak to the staff at the nursery (57 Paten Road, The Gap – open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm and Sunday from 9am to 1pm) about these and other suitable plants for your garden.