The surest path to garden success is to choose varieties of plants that are naturally suited to your local area. In Perth we often experience hot, dry conditions and plants from the Mediterranean regions of Southern Africa and Europe are perfect for us as they are used to the occasional water shortage.
If you struggle to find the perfect plant to flourish in your garden and climate, then look no further. We outline the best plants for Perth’s somewhat Mediterranean climate.
Baboon Flower (Babiana Stricta)
These are perfect for growing in warm-temperature climates or even in cooler areas if potted and stored in mildly warmed greenhouses. In autumn, plant them 15cm deep and apart in light, rich, well-drained soil. Provide with sufficient water to keep the soil moist but not overly wet throughout the growing season and ensure they are kept in a sunny position. Babiana has no specific pest or disease problems and can be left undisturbed for many years. However, an occasional fertilise from year to year can be advantageous.
Belladonna Lily (Amaryllis belladonna)
Belladonnas come as pink or white scented flowers on tall stems will strappy leaves. They prefer the sun so pick a position in full sun, unless you’re in a hot, arid region when some shade is beneficial. You can prepare the growing site by digging over the soil and adding some rich compost. When planting, ensure a moist, free draining soil is used and plant the bulbs with the neck protruding at soil level. Water them in well at planting time and then just on an occasional basis throughout autumn and spring to promote growth. Belladonnas suffer from no particular pests or diseases.
Ranunculus (Ranunculus app.)
Ranunculus are a poppy-like, ruffled, semi double bloomed flower that come in an array of colours. They suit most climates, except tropical, so choose a sunny and wind sheltered position and plant with well-draining soil. Prepare the growing site by digging over the soil and adding a rich compost or well decayed animal manure prior to planting. The claw shaped plant should be soaked for 3 to 4 hours in lukewarm water prior to planting at 3 to 4cm deep and 12 to 15cm apart. Plant them in autumn for spring flowering and water in thoroughly. If the soil is not moist at planting, water to initiate growth. Ensure that the soil is kept moist during windy and particularly dry weather conditions in spring. Allow the soil to dry out in summer while the plant is dormant. This will assist flowering the following season. Feed every spring as new growth is made. Protect them from Mildew in damp and humid conditions.
Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)
Snowflakes have an array of grass-like foliage, with dainty, fragrant drooping bells blooming in late winter to spring. They can be left undisturbed for years, especially when planted in drifts beneath trees. Alternatively, choose a location with full sun or partial shade, and plant with well-drained soil. If your soil isn’t rich in organic matter, be sure to work plenty of compost or manure into the bed before planting. When spring arrives, the plants only demand is moist soil. Water the plants deeply and thoroughly when rainfall is less than five centimeters per week. Keep up the watering schedule as long as the plant is growing. Snowflakes can be prone to snail and slug problems so it is a good idea to set our traps or baits during spring.
Spring Star Flower (Ipheion uniflorum)
Spring star flowers come as they sound – blue or white small star shaped flowers that protrude 10 to 15 centimetres above a layer of flat, grassy, light green leaves. In warmer zones such as Perth, they prefer a more sheltered position with spotted light. You can prepare the growing site by adding rich compost or well decayed animal manure prior to planting. Plant the bulbs 5cm deep and 8 to 12cm apart before watering in well at planting time. On occasional, water and fertilise to promote growth, especially throughout spring. The flower experiences no particular pests or diseases, but there is a potential for weed problems.