Expert Tips

Five Top Trees

Digby Growns is the Senior Plant Breeder at Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Western Australia and one of the country’s leading native plant experts. Digby lives, breathes and speaks plant botany and is here to share some expert tips for your own Native Plant Project.

Digby’s Top 5 Trees for suburban gardens…

#1. Corymbia ficifolia – Red flowering gum

Iconic West Australian plant, flowers in summer with stunning red or bright orange flowers.  Look out for dwarf grafted forms which are the most suitable for home gardens.

#2. Eucalyptus torquata – Coral gum

Magnificent flower displays with red pink or sometimes yellow flowers in winter through to early summer. This is one of the more petite (up to 6m) and ornamental eucalyptus species that can be used in smaller spaces and in residential gardens. It’s planted as a patio tree and garden trees – just ensure careful staking and pruning when young to produce a well formed shape. Happily tolerates dry conditions and can easily grow with low amounts of supplemental water during summer following normal winter rainfall.

#3. Eucalyptus erythrocorys

It may have an untidy habit, but the magnificent bright yellow flowers in summer with a bright red ‘cap’ provide a great reward.  This tree is ideal for coastal conditions.

#4. Melaleuca lanceolata – Rottnest Island tea tree

It’s a rather misleading name, but this is a great tree for creating dense shade – with foliage to the ground which can be pruned to provide a fantastic trunked shady tree for a garden.  It’s black paper bark and showy heads of white flowers adds interest in summer. An ideal choice for southern coastal planting.

#5. Grevillea pteridifolia

This tree comes in different forms, but the tree form from the Kimberley with silver foliage and large racemes of orange flowers in winter and spring adapts well to tropical and subtropical environments as well grow happily in cooler places in a warm place protected from frost.

Meet our Native Plant Project Expert ~

Digby Growns is the Senior Plant Breeder at Kings Park and Botanic Garden. He manages programs in the breeding and development of Anigozanthos, Boronia, Chamelaucium, Corymbia, Grevillea, Leptospermum and Scaevola.  He has worked for many years on the development of Australian native plants for horticulture and over 40 new varieties of native plants including the hybrid Chamelaucium ‘Pearlflower’ series and Grevillea ‘RSL Spirit of ANZAC’. He leads research into new technology developments in plant tissue culture, biotechnology and plant breeding. Digby shares his knowledge with Native Plant Project in a regular ‘Top 5 Picks”…