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Green Heart Fair "Native Plant List". Click on image to view or print complete list.

Question
I’m trying to identify this tree. Can you help me?
Annette Brisbane


This is the New Zealand Christmas tree (Metrosideros excelsa). This tree would have started off as a variegated form (remnants of variegated foliage remain), but over the years, it has reverted back to the stronger growing, plain green form.

Question
My friend gave me this plant as a cutting and to my surprise, I managed to get it to grow (I am a novice gardener). It must be hardy. Can you please tell me what it is called?

This delightful plant is Dichondra Silver Falls. It is very popular and can be found in most nurseries. It is a terrific plant for hanging baskets on balconies and verandahs. Try combining mini petunias (Calibrachoa) and the stunning grey foliage of your dichondra in the one hanging basket.

Question
We have this plant in our garden and we are wondering what type is it as we want to know how to keep it a reasonable size.
Annemarie Brisbane

This is Polyscias fruticosa. I have several in my garden. It comes in lots of different leaf forms and is very hardy. I like to keep mine to under 2m by pruning. Just cut tall stems back to where you want it to branch. It is a perfectly well-behaved plant for gardens or pots.

Question
I planted a pot of lemon grass. It has grown really tall and is now producing seeds that are germinating everywhere. It looks nothing like lemon grass I have grown in the past. Are there different types? Where can I get the more manageable, non-seeding type that I prefer for cooking?

The lemon grass sold in pots in nurseries is typically East Indian lemon grass (Cympogonon flexuosus). It is often too large and weedy for small gardens. The lemon grass you buy is the smaller, non-seeding West Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus). To grow this type, buy fresh stalks from the supermarket or fruiter and plant them.

Question
This plant has appeared in my garden. It is a climber with maroon flowers. Can you tell me what it is? I am a bit worried as it seems quite vigorous, but I do like the flower colour. Is it a keeper?
Andrea, Samford


This creeping vine is siratro (Macroptilium atropurpureum). It is an exotic, climbing legume planted for farm grazing. Regrettably, it has escaped to bushland and gardens. It is very vigorous and known to completely engulf shrubs and trees. Remove it before it forms long narrow seed pods.

Question
Can you please identify the actual name of the dragon tree that sits at the front of my property. What is the pineapple looking object that has sprouted and sits proudly overhanging the grass public pathway? Is it a fruit if some sort?
Barry of Rothwell


What you call a dragon tree is actually a native pandanus or screw pine (most likely Pandanus tectorius). The pineapple-like structure is a fruit, but I would not recommend trying to eat it. If you are concerned about the danger to people using the grass pathway, the fruit should be removed.

 

 

Question
My daughter and family have just returned from a trip to Israel to visit family there and are raving about the pummelo fruit they had whilst there. They would like to try and grow one. Can you tell me where we could buy a tree suitable to plant here?
Wilf Sunshine Coast


Pummelo (Citrus maxima) are also known as pomello or pamplemousse and grow well in SE Queensland. They are not popular as a home garden tree and this limits their supply. Ask your local nursery to order a grafted tree for you. Pummelo varieties include Bosworth Pink, Bosworth Red, Carter’s Red, Nam Roi and Tahiti.

Question
Our neighbours' shed is literally covered in cats claw creeper. They love it - and it looks stunning when it is in bloom - but do you have any suggestions on how I can stop the seeds from blowing into our 16 perches and taking root?

What a nightmare! Perhaps you can encourage your neighbour's to reconsider and remove the invasive environmental weed. Unfortunately, only complete removal will prevent seeding. The extensive system of underground tubers must be physically removed and regrowth continually removed. Check out government recommended control options at: https://www.daf.qld.gov.au
 

Question
I saw these croc egg plums at Woolworths recently. I grow tropical plums at home (Gulf Ruby and Gulf Gold), so wondered if I could possibly grow these as well.
Michael of Tamborine

Croc eggs are another wonderful product from our Australian stone fruit growers. Developing new varieties like this takes significant amounts of time, research and money, so typically plants of such patented varieties are not available for gardeners to grow at home.

Question
I love to grow this tropical climbing spinach, but lately it has developed ugly spots on the leaves. What can I do?
John of Noosa


Your spinach is known as Ceylon or Malabar spinach (Basella rubra). It is a prolific grower in warm, humid conditions. If the foliage remains wet as evening temperatures drop, it suffers from bacterial leaf disease. Remove the affected leaves and avoid watering late in the day. If you live where winter is cold it will die completely. In warmer coastal areas it survives through winter.

Question
I bought these fabulous little avocado fruit from my local fruit shop. They have virtually no seed and are the perfect size for a single serve. Can you tell me what variety they are and if they will grow in Brisbane?
Meredith of Warner


These are commonly known as cocktails or cukes. Rather than being a variety, they occur spontaneously when temperatures at flowering and fruit set are extremely cold or abnormally hot. The Fuerte variety is particularly susceptible to temperature extremes and most commonly forms cukes, but it can occur on other varieties.

Question
I bought these grapes recently. They are sweet, seedless and so unusual – long, black and as thick as your thumb. Can you tell me anything about them?
Grace of Kedron


You mystery grapes are Sweet Sapphire, an American variety bred by renowned Californian table grape breeder, David Cane. They are grown by grape producers in several Australian states including Queensland, but are only available for a very short season early in the year. They are in high demand for export to Asia.

 


Other articles of interest:
How to drill your recycled china
Tree Paste and
Fertiliser Sausages

Seed-saving:
When buying seeds look at
where and how the seed
is stored and packed....

Edible Ornamentals
My Top Ten:

 Kangkong (Ipomoea aquatica)
 is an aquatic plant popular
in Asian cuisine, in fact you
 have possibly eaten it
 unknowingly in vegetable
based dishes. If you have a
 pond or water feature you
 can grow kangkong....

Native Plants W/Shop Notes
Lawns W/Shop Notes
Fruit Guide
School Planting Guide
Soil pH Plant List
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Seed Packet Template

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Question
I'm trying to find the name of a shrub the height of a low picket fence which grows most happily in an open, protected sunny spot in New Farm and which seems to have an extended flowering season.
Denise of New Farm

This shrub is the mock gardenia or crepe jasmine (Tabernaemontana divaricata). It looks like a gardenia, but has no perfume. There are lots of different flower forms (single, double, ruffled blooms etc). This plant has recently been in the news in regard to its potential as a medicine for pain relief. See www.abc.net.au/news/2011-05-23/crepe-jasmine-tabernaemontana-divaricata/2727898

Question
This pretty little flower came up in my garden. I am sure I never planted it. Can you tell me what it is?
Edwina of Logan.

How wonderful! This is a native shepherd’s crook or pink nodding orchid (Geodorum densiflorum. It was once common in bushland, but is now rarely seen. It is a real treasure that remains dormant for much of the year and emerges to flower in summer.

Question
I have recently cut down a curry leaf tree as so many were popping up from the roots. Now it is removed and the stump ground, new trees continue to sprout from the extensive root system. Do you know how I can finally get rid of it? Digging out the roots is a full time, unending job.
Catherine, Brisbane


Suckers of curry trees (Murraya koenigii) will continue to sprout from stored nutrients in the roots. Control options include: digging out all roots; covering the area with builder’s plastic or tin in an attempt to exclude light; or pruning and immediately (within 10 seconds) dabbing the fresh cut with glyphosate herbicide. Always grow curry trees in pots.
 

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