Resilient Plants
Joan Dillon



Sunshine Coast horticulturist Joan Dillon takes us on a journey to when the order of the day was hardy, tough plants. With current gardening trends it’s time to re-look at what worked many years ago and see how these plants fit in today.

The poet Dorothea Mackellar was right when she referred to Australia
as a country “of drought and flooding rains”, a readily appreciated description of a country with a very variable climate. Our native flora adapted to this climate over a long period of time and has provided us with an amazing diversity of plants suited to each of our climatic regions. Seeds may lie dormant in the soil for years, and following an occasional flood a carpet of flowers blooms, as happens when floodwaters reach Lake Eyre. These plants are very resilient.

It is worth searching out old gardens before they are sub-divided for closer housing or covered in boundary to boundary bricks and mortar. They contained some very resilient plants which can be mixed with local natives and newer releases to make a lush, colourful and imaginative garden well suited to our variable climate and today’s frenetic lifestyles.

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Nineteen
Banksia robur
The Simpson garden at Mapleton encorporates native and non-native plants.
Salvia confertiflora and Orthosiphon aristatus (syn. Orthosiphon stamineus).
Camellias in the Subtropics
Claire Bickle



The Camellia is by no means the first shrub that comes to mind when thinking about trees and shrubs that grow well in the humid subtropical regions of the world but none the less these breathtaking flowering plants do have a place in gardens in these climatic zones. Given the right soil preparation, location and care they can be grown successfully, rewarding their owners with some of the most stunning flowers that the floral world has to offer.

When embarking on the journey to grow camellias in warmer climates, type, species and cultivar must be considered. Not all varieties perform well so careful selection will ensure that there is less likelihood of disappointment.

Camellias flower throughout autumn and winter and this is when plants are most readily available to purchase. This is the time to visit gardens with camellias and attend local camellia shows to see the wonderful range to choose from and talk to local growers and experts on what are the best choices to make.

Probably the most famous of all the camellias in the world is Camellia sinensis, the world’s most popular beverage being made from its leaves – tea.

The article also covers:

  • Care of Camellias
    • Position
    • Soil
    • Planting
    • Watering
    • Mulching
    • Fertilising
    • Pruning and disbudding
  • Varieties
  • Pot Culture
  • Camellia Selection
  • Summary Calendar
From an 8 page Feature Article in Issue Nineteen
Camellia reticulata ‘Valentine Day’ Varigeated  [CB]
Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’  [CB]
Warm Climate Bulbs
Paul Plant


The below item complements this article read in the current issue:

Information on how to tell the difference of bulbs, tubers, rhizomes etc. (p. 22-25)

Horizontal Nest-Box




Gardening in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate climates is synonymous with lush foliage, stunning flowers and glorious plant diversity. Yet with all these options, many gardeners are keen to grow plants that remind them of seasonal changes or of cooler climates. Horticulturist Paul Plant takes a look at a range of bulbs and bulbous plants best suited to growing in warm climates.

Growing bulbs in warm climates is surprisingly simple. The one
important rule is to choose the appropriate plants for the climate. In simple terms, if the bulb or bulbous plant comes from a similar climate to where you live, then it will be easy to grow and reliable in your garden. If your garden experiences a warm, wet and humid summer then a bulb from a wet cold winter climate will not be suitable.

The following species are featured:

  • Reliable Bulbous Plants
    • Abyssinian Gladiolus (Gladiolus murielae syn. Gladiolus callianthus, Acidanthera bicolor)
    • Aztec Lily (Sprekelia formosissima)
    • Hippeastrum (Hippeastrum spp.)
    • Blood Lily (Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. katherinae)
    • Caladium (Caladium bicolor)
    • Crinum (Crinum spp.)
    • Dahlias (Dahlia spp. and cultivars)
    • Falling Star/Montbretia (Crocosmia aurea)
    • Freesia (Freesia laxa, F. alba, F. grandiflora)
    • Glory Lilies (Gloriosa superba ‘Rothschildiana’)
    • Golden Lycoris (Lycoris aurea)
    • Hot Water Plant (Achimenes longiflora)
    • Ifafa Lily (Cyrtanthus spp.)
    • Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria psittacina)
    • Pineapple Lily (Eucomis comosa)
    • Pink Watsonia (Watsonia borbonica)
    • Pregnant Onion Plant (Ornithogalum longebracteatum syn. Ornithogalum caudatum)
    • Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)
    • Spider Lily (Ismene narcissiflora syn. Hymenocallis narcissiflora)
    • Sweet Garlic (Tulbaghia simmleri)
    • Storm Lily (Habranthus spp.)
    • Storm Lily (Zephyranthes spp.)
    • Quill (Ledebouria petiolata syn. Drimiopsis maculata)
  • Native Bulbs
    • Brisbane Lily (Proiphys cunninghamii)
    • Cardwell Lily (Proiphys amboinensis)
    • Native Leek (Bulbine bulbosa)
    • Slug Herb (Murdannia graminea)
    • Yellow Garland Lily (Calostemma luteum)
  • Daffodils, Hyacinths, and more…
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Nineteen
Hippeastrum cultivars are well suited to warm climate gardens.
Watsonia borbonica
Trees: telling them apart with classification

Helen Curran

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To better understand trees, Arborist and Horticulturist Marian Hammond looks into a number of gardening terms related to these vital plants in the landscape.

There are two main classifications of trees in modern gardens. Both types of plants are classed by their ovary morphology. They are the Gymnosperms and the Angiosperms.

Gymnosperms is the common term for all plants that develop their seeds from exposed ovules hidden within cones rather than in an enclosed ovary as in angiosperms.

Angiosperms (now called Anthophyta) is the second and most common class of plants found in our subtropical and tropical environment.

Monocotyledon (syn. Alternifoliae), also called monocots, is a descriptive term and refers to the fact there is only one cotyledon (seed leaf).

Dicotyledon (syn. Oppositifoliae), also called dicots, is a descriptive term for a plant that has two cotyledons (seed leaves).


From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Nineteen

A typical gymnosperm, Araucaria cunninghamii.
Bauhinia x blakeana is a dicotyledon.
Just Justicia Part 2
Paul Plant

There are approximately 400 species of Justicia and they include some of the showiest and hardiest shrubs and groundcovers in warm climate gardens. Four popular species were featured in Issue 18 and an additional four species are included in this issue.

Justicia adhatoda (syn. Adhatoda vasica)
Malabar Nut
Origin: Nepal, India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia

Justicia betonica
White Shrimp Plant
Origin: India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and many parts of Africa

Justicia brandegeeana (syn. Beloperone guttata)
Shrimp Plant
Origin: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras

Justicia fulvicoma (syn. Beloperone fulvicoma, Beloperone comosa)
Mexican Plume
Origin: Mexico to Honduras


From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Nineteen

Justicia brandegeeana
Live Plants as Alternative to Cut Flowers

By the Sunshine Coast Orchid Society Caloundra Inc.

Images John Kemp [JK] and Graham McKay [GM]



Many people readily pay $20 to $40 for a bunch of cut flowers that will
normally wilt and die within a few days. For the same money, they could buy an orchid in flower that will last for 6 to 10 weeks. Even if the plant is discarded after flowering, that represents better value and even without the expert skills or knowledge of the grower, the plant can still thrive in a subtropical or tropical environment and continue to flower year after year.

There is a perception amongst many gardeners that orchids are difficult to grow. It is true that some require special conditions but there are many that can be grown in the garden, or even inside the house as indoor plants.

Topics regarding orchids covered include:

  • Phalaenopsis
  • Cattleya
  • Dendrobium
  • The Oncidium alliance
  • Vanda, Ascocenda and related genera

A bunch of flowers must be disposed of once the blooms finish. With a potted orchid you have repeat blooms each year enhancing the enjoyment
and pleasure of gift giving and receiving.


From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Nineteen

Phalaenopsis Dendi Meh-Teh ‘GiGi’  [GM]
Epidendrum Burdekin Honey  [JK]
Colour Your World

Noel Burdette



The use of colour is often underestimated as one of the most powerful tools given to any gardener. Avid plant collector and nurseryman, Noel Burdette introduces the use of colour in a garden.

Enter any size or style of garden and our mood automatically shifts to
match the garden’s individual design and most importantly the colour scheme that is used within.

No matter your plant choice, the strongest impact is always made by the use of colour as it can provide the illusion of space in small areas or bring intimacy to a large open garden. It can lift our spirits when we are feeling melancholy or bring calm at a stressful point in our day.


From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Nineteen

The flowers of Agapanthus cultivars  are favoured by designers for their  intensity of blue.
Simple Colour Wheel.
Planting combination that works.
Tropical Looking Shrubs in Sydney

Helen Curran



When thinking of creating a tropical-style garden in Sydney or central New South Wales, one of the first questions is “Where do I find my tropical plants”? Gardener and horticulturist, Helen Curran, living in Seven Hills, Sydney tackles the answer.

Local Sydney gardeners have been growing subtropical and tropical
plants in gardens since the early to mid 1800s. They are that much a part of the garden culture here [Sydney] that they are just thought of as being a plant that will grow here, with their origins forgotten as they became a basic part of the local garden centres’ stock ranges.


From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Nineteen

Coral Bush (Russelia equisetiformis syn. Russelia juncea).
Cuphea (Cuphea hyssopifolia).
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