Zanthorrea Nursery

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155 Watsonia Road,

Maida Vale, WA 6057

Ph: (08) 9454 6260

Fax: (08) 9454 4540

Zanthorrea Nursery

It is often thought that native plants are better off in the ground than growing them in a pot, and 

while this is true for some, many plants grow best in containers and can be enjoyed right on your 


Advantages to growing Australian plants in pots:

The main advantage to growing natives in pots is you can control the conditions, soil and aspect 

the plant grows in, and as many australian plants are quite particular to soil types this is a big 

advantage. For example many people find Boronias hard to grow, but if they are put in a semi 

shaded position, with a fluffy humus rich (slighlty acid) potting mix that holds more water, then they 

will actually be quite easy to grow.

Banksias and most of the proteacea family like a well drained potting mix with a low phosphorus 

fertiliser, the best for these is the Amgrow Native Potting mix. Also use this potting mix for 

Macropedias, as they are phosphorous sensitive and come from a nutrient poor soil, while 

Anigozanthos on the other hand prefer the richer soils of the Brunings Eclipse.

Another advantage to keeping your natives in pots is that you can prevent some of the damage 

done by pests. For keeping snails off your Kangaroo paws,  apply a copper ring around the top of 

the pot, and they will not go past it. Keeping your pot off the ground using pot feet will also 

minimise the damage that ants can do by moving pests around from one plant to another.

Problems you may encounter in the pot garden:

Drying out. This is very commonly the cause if a plant dies in a pot. It can be that if the potting mix 

dries out it doesn’t re-wet again, then when you are watering the pot the water is running down the 

sides, out the drainage holes and the soil is still dry. If this is the case and the pot has missed a 

water for a while and you suspect that the water is no longer going in, use a soil wetter, and/or 

place the pot in a large bucket of water for a few hours for it to soak up the water.

Too wet! As much as our plants like a drink, if they are left too long with soggy roots, then the roots 

will rot and the plant will die. Mostly a problem if there is insufficient drainage holes in the pot, or if 

the roots have blocked the holes. In this case it is often worth repotting the plant back into the 

same size pot, maybe creating a drainage barrier using some crushed stones. Maintain a regular 

watering program and be mindful that if the pot is in a saucer then, the water will be sucked back 

up into the pot using capillary action and out in the winter rain they will get pretty wet and soggy.


Problems with the pH! While a good quality potting mix 


should have a neutral pH of between 6.5 to 7.5, the 


addition of fertilisers and chemicals can change the pH 


and this effects what the plants can get out of the soil. 


Keep an eye out for Yellowing or purpling of leaves as 


this is sign of a pH imbalance. Also know your plants 


desired pH range, as some like the Boronia don’t mind it 


a little acidic, while others like the Eremophilas prefer 


slightly alkaline. Ask in store if you have any queries.

nu r s e r y


Aussie Pot Garden

Anigozanthos ‘Bush Pizzazz’

155 Watsonia Road,

Maida Vale, WA 6057

Ph: (08) 9454 6260

Fax: (08) 9454 4540

Zanthorrea Nursery

nu r s e r y


Aussie Pot Garden

Choosing a pot:

Generally you want to choose a pot that will give the plant some room to grow into, so a faster 

growing plant you will want to have a larger pot for. As a rule at least twice the volume is a good 

start. Also choose one that will emphasize the features, eg. A ground cover you may want a tall pot 

for it to hang down over, while a tall shrub you may want wide and solid to act as a base for the 

plant, adding to its stability.

Careful with the shape chosen, as if it tappers in at the top and the plant has a strong root system, 

you will never get the plant out from the pot again! While pots that tapper in to a point at the base 

will not be very stable and should be avoided in areas of high wind, or if planting a ‘top’ heavy 


Longevity and Bonsais:

Keeping a native in a pot and maintaining its size by

pruning actually increases its life span. In the case of

bonsais, some plants can actually be quite ancient

while still remaining at a small size and flowering every

year. Not all the natives make a good bonsai, for a start

try either Acacia ‘Green Wave’ or Melaleuca violacea

prostrate. For more choices, call into the nursery.


Regular pruning is essential in keeping your pot plant a manageable size, but should not be seen 

as a chore, as this is the time to sculpt your plant into the shape you want. I like to start by thinning 

out any branches that are not desirable then working my way to the tips, and finally check on the 

root system as these may need to be pruned and some fresh potting mix added. Be creative, 

experiment with different shapes or forms and find the one that matches the pot.

TIP: After pruning is a good time to add some fertiliser, my choice is Organic Native Plant Food.

My Favourites for pots

Leptospermum Pink Cascade in a tall pot (probably a dark colour)

Melaleuca violacea prostrate and Acacia ‘Green Wave’ in a bonsai pot

Kangaroo Paws: Try a cluster of 3 different colours in a glossy pot, Fantastic!

Melaleuca incana nana in a round squat pot, pruned as a ball.

Grevilleas - I have found most to be terrific in pots, favourites would be G. Jelly Baby, G.Supurb 

and G. Gilt Dragon. For a large pot and regular pruning G. Moonlight is great too.

Dwarf Banksias like B. ‘Birthday Candles’, B. menzesii dwarf and B. blechnifolia are all great too!

Grevillea ‘Jelly Baby’

Banksia blechnifolia

Acacia ‘Green Wave’

Melaleuca ‘Green Globe’

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