Top 5 Drought Tolerant Australian Native Plants…

…in five categories.

I decided that I would set 5 simple categories of plants and list five species within those categories.

Drought Tolerance is relative and what I have chosen are plants that are drought tolerant in an area with less than 14 inches (350mm) of annual rainfall (winter wet). Other issues which can make a difference are severe frosts, drying winds, the amount of rainfall the previous winter and whether mulch is used or the amount of shade available.

Ground Covering Plants

  1. Hardenbergia violacea (purple, pink, white) Native wisteria (Also a climbing plant)
  2. Chrysocephalum apiculatum (suckering plant with small yellow pom pom heads.
  3. Kennedia prostrata (Running Postman – because of red and black flowers and very flat form.
  4. Eremophila glabra (Emu Bush) (various prostrate forms, different colours)
  5. Myoporum parvifolium vigorous flat ground cover with white flowers

Small Shrubs to 1 metre

  1. Eremophila macdonnellii (large deep purple flowers)
  2. Eremophila macdonnellii (large deep purple flowers)
  3. Prostanthera magnifica (Mint Bush with very large flowers)
  4. Thryptomene saxicola (Pink or white small flowers)
  5. Grevillea lavandulacea

Tufted Plants

  1. Dianella revoluta (Purple nodding flowers and purple berries)
  2. Orthrosanthos multiflorus (Native Iris) (Mauve Blue flowers)
  3. Wahlenbergia communis (native Bluebell) (perrenial with blue star flowers.)
  4. Calostemma purpureum (Native Lily) (Pink-red flowers)
  5. Anigozanthos flavidus (Kangaroo paw)

Shrubs to 3 metres

  1. Acacia drummondii (yellow rods)
  2. Banksia ornata
  3. Melaleuca wilsonii (red bottle brush flowers)
  4. Chamelaucium uncinatum (various colour forms)
  5. Hakea leucoptera (Honey Suckle) (Prickly bush with cream flowers)


  1. Eucalyptus campaspe
  2. Melia azedarach (White Cedar)
  3. Callistemon viminalis (Weeping Bottlebrush)
  4. Agonis flexuosa (Native Willow)
  5. Melaleuca lanceolata (White bottle brush flowers)

These are some of my favourite plants and ones that I know to be successful. These are all growing in garden conditions. Growing the same plants in the field is another matter altogether and another list would need to be generated.

I haven’t been able to get to my blog for several weeks and this opportunity to participate in the latest Problogger writing project provided me with the push to get going again.


11 Responses to “Top 5 Drought Tolerant Australian Native Plants…”

  1. Tony F says:

    Thanks Corinne. I really love your lists and I think that most of these plants would be suitable for my garden on KI. Our annual rainfall is (supposedly) around 750mm – we live on the west end towards Cape Borda. I’ve had great success with several you mention: Myoporum parvifolium (I like the broad leaf form) grows extremely well here and I have propagated lots of it; Banksia ornata I think grows naturally on the Island, along with B. marginata; I have a Melia azedarach (winter deciduous) and seem to be having good luck with Agonis flexuosa (I think it likes the limestone subsoil). Look forward to your next entry. I’m now off to research some of the other species you mention. Regards.

  2. Corinne says:

    Hi Tony,
    Agonis flexuosa likes lime conditions, however is a little frost tender when young. The broad leaf Myoporum parifolium is my favourite also. Looks like a lawn but won’t take the wear and tear of lawn.

  3. […] Top 5 Drought Tolerant Australian Native Plants – actually 25 plants, 5 for each of these categories: ground covers, small shrubs, tufted plants, large shrubs and trees. It is a list with brief descriptions. […]

  4. deb says:

    Hi Corinne
    we have just returned from a camping holiday in the Narkat conversation park. We loved seeing all the native flowers that we are now going to landscape our front garden with natives. We live in the northern suburbs of adelaide so tend to have clay soils. I intend to put in a large raised garden bed to help combat this and use mainly small shrubs and ground covers. All the plants you mention we saw while we were away and in flower thankyou so much for the information you have on this website well done.

  5. gary harrison says:

    i brought a native iris so i was told it is in a haning basket it produces long leaves that shoot at the ends and can be cut & grown. the flowers are the same as an iris blue & yellow the plant is about 300mm or 1 foot high is this a native or not.

    • Corinne says:

      I don’t know of any native iris or lily that does what you describe, or has the colours that you say. It sounds like a water iris, and I am not familiar with those, other than to say that they need moist conditions. Some people describe wild plants as being native plants, when in fact they are ‘escapees’ from gardens years ago which have become naturalised and this might be the case here.

  6. […] Top 5 Drought Tolerant Australian Native Plants… May 10, 2007 … Top 5 Drought Tolerant Australian Native Plants – actually 25 plants, 5 for each of these … […]

  7. Donna says:

    Great info. Also relevant is the soil PH and the salinity of the conditions – both soil and wind. Also,Melaleuca lanceolata may remain as a shrub rather than a tree, depending on conditions.

  8. […] Top 5 Drought Tolerant Australian Native Plants… by Corinne […]

  9. […] Top 5 Drought Tolerant Australian Native Plants… by Corinne […]

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