An email came today asking for assistance with species that would grow in bore water with high salt readings. This is a difficulty for many in the mallee areas of South Australia and no doubt other parts of the country too. In many cases it becomes trial and error to see what would grow in such a situation, but some lists have been compiled by members of the Australian Plants Society which give a good starting point.
There are some things to consider.
- There is a need to ensure that watering is deep.
- Choose plants from areas which have the same rainfall situation ie same amount of rain, at the same time of year. This is to ensure that plants will get minimum exposure to the high salinity.
- If possible place highly desirable plants near an alternative water source, eg rain water, to get them well established without the saline water.
List of Australian Native Plants with salt tolerance.
1st Line Coast
Ground Covers, Climbers and Low Spreading Plants
Eremopohila glabra prostrate red form
Templetonia retusa prostrate form
Eremophila glabra (Rottnest Island)
Shrubs over 2m.
More lists will be available soon.
Olearia passerinoides is a mallee daisy and is quite a large bush with bright green leaves, different to many mallee daisies which often have grey green leaves. Although this is a shrub, to me it behaves as a perennial shrub, in that new growth appears along the older wood.
The bush has a tendency to become scruffy, with the leaves higher up the stems and the flowers also high. If it was cut back to the lower growths, it would have dense foliage and be a more compact plant, and I suspect the flowering would also be quite spectacular.
As usual, I promise myself that I will do this, and yet another season goes buy. Mine have just finished flowering, so out with the secateurs tomorrow, while I think of it.
Olearia passerinoides is drought, lime and frost tolerant. It has clusters of small white daisies and grows to 2-3m tall by about 1.5-2m wide if left to its own devices. Pruning will keep it to a more compact size.
I found another good photo of this suckering plant which spreads by underground shoots form the root stock. It is a good hardy plant to have in a perennial border. It is easily kept confined.
It is drought tolerant and frost hardy and grows in lime soils.
I found this plant in Canberra Botanic gardens in the bush garden with other grasses and daisies. I assume that it is native to the area around Canberra. I could not find ant direct information about the plant. Most of the time I scrabbled around the base of plants in the garden looking for the aluminium tag attached to the plant to read what the species was. Unfortunately, I forgot to check other plants in the area in case there was further information.
Judging by the type of soil and location, I suggest that this plant needs good drainage. It is obviously frost hardy as it was in an exposed situation. There was a saying amongst the Australian Plant Society members that if a plant grew in Canberra, it would survive any frost that formed in South Australia.
The prostrate form of Acacia baileyana is a lovely form of the taller tree. Even without flowers, the dense, grey green foliage is attractive in a garden setting. It cascades over slopes and follows the contour of the ground and it is excellent for covering large areas as a ground cover as it grows 30-60 cm tall and 3-4 metres wide. It has bright yellow flowers from winter to spring. It is a very hardy plant in most situations, withstanding dry periods and growing in full sun to part shade in sand, clay or loam.
A photo of the larger form in flower can be seen here.