The best drought tolerant, low growing plants for NSW
By Katrina Layt
Groundcovers and low growing plants are needed in almost every landscape. Low growing plants are perfect alternatives to lawns and can be planted on mass without looking too overbearing like some larger plants would. It’s even more important for them to be drought tolerant if the plants are mass planted.
Below are two drought tolerant, low growing plant categories to easily fit into your landscape with a mixture of shrubby groundcovers and strappy leaf plants.
Click on the links to see more information on each plant.
Drought tolerant plants under 40cm high
YAREENA™ Myoporum parvifolium ‘PARV01’ PBR: 10cm H x 1m W.
Crisp, clean foliage and longer lived Myoporum. Handles frosts and drought much better than other forms.
Themeda australis ‘MINGO’ PBR: 15-20cm H x 60cm W.
Blue foliage, native grass groundcover. With some maintenance this grass looks much better than if left alone.
DOUBLE GOLD™ Gazania hybrid ‘GT20’ PBR: 20cm H x 1m W.
A sterile Gazania that doesn’t spread from seed and has double the flowers compared to most other Gazanias.
PURPLE FUSION™ Scaevola humilis ‘PFS100’ PBR: 20cm H x 1.5m W.
Flatter growing Scaevola that flowers for almost the whole year if there aren’t heavy frosts. This species is much more drought tolerant than the aemula species.
GREY BOX™ Westringia fruticosa ‘WES04’ PBR: 20-40cm H x 20-40cm W.
Drought tolerant alternative to English Box. Beautiful silver/grey foliage with white flowers. Grows into a natural ball shape and can be pruned down to 20cm x 20cm.
ARANDA™ Dianella caerulea ‘DC150’ PBR: 25-30cm H x 35cm W.
Very compact Dianella with deep glossy green foliage. Clumping form with slightly arching foliage.
PURE BLONDE™ Liriope muscari ‘LIRBLONDE’ PBR: 30cm H x 40cm W.
Great to make a statement for sheltered and shaded positions. Can handle full sun but protect from windy aspects. Pure Blonde shoots blonde new growth in spring and will be completely Blonde if cut back in July.
GOLD CLUSTER™ Grevillea juniperina ‘H22’ PBR: 30cm H x 60-80cm W.
Lower growing and denser form capable of outcompeting weeds. Gold cluster has masses of golden flowers and the foliage isn’t as spiky as other forms.
ISABELLA® Liriope muscari ‘LIRF’ PBR: 20-40cm H x 50cm W.
Great as a lawn alternative from full sun to 90% shade. One mow per year in July-August is all it needs to stay 20cm high.
FLIRT™ Nandina domestica ‘MURASAKI’ PBR: 30-40cm H x 40-50cm W.
This groundcover Nandina goes red in summer with red new growth for most of the year.
LUCIA™ Dianella caerulea ‘DC101’ PBR: 30-40cm H x 50cm W
Spreading, low growing Dianella with deep purple flowers.
LITTLE JESS™ Dianella caerulea ‘DCMP01’ PBR: 40cm H x 40cm W
Very compact and low maintenance Dianella.
AMETHYST™ Liriope muscari ‘LIRTP’ PBR: 40cm H x 40cm W.
Beautiful, long lasting flowers above the foliage. Clumping, dark green foliage.
SWEET MIST® Phormium tenax ‘PH0S2’ PBR: 40cm H x 40cm W.
Compact Phormium with bronze foliage. For full sun or shaded positions. Better suited to southern NSW for mass planting. Best planted in humid areas from March-September.
SHARA™ Lomandra fluviatilis ‘ABU7’ PBR: 40cm H x 50cm W
Blue-grey, fine leaf Lomandra with beautiful yellow flowers above the foliage. Handles humid conditions and periodic wet feet much better than Lomandra longifolia. May need to be pruned every 3 years to keep this height.
MUNDI™ Westringia fruticosa ‘WES05’ PBR: 40cm H x 1.5m W.
Groundcover Westringia that only grows to knee height. White flowers in spring and less pruning needed to look tidy.
Drought tolerant plants 40-70cm high
MEEMA™ Hardenbergia violacea ‘HB1’ PBR: 30-45cm H x 2m W.
Tidy foliage, longer lived and flowers for longer than other Hardenbergias. Can be used as a climber or shrubby groundcover.
FREE FALL™ Casuarina glauca prostrate ‘CAS01’ PBR: 30-60cm H x 3-6m W.
Tough, prostrate form of Casuarina with erosion control capabilities. Planted on a slope it looks like a green waterfall.
YALBA™ Imperata cylindrica ‘ICL200’ PBR: 40-60cm H x 100cm W.
Super tough native grass with reddish foliage in winter. Beautiful fluffy plumes for 4-5 months if cut back in Feb-March.
PENNSTRIPE™ Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘PAV300’ PBR: 45cm H x 45cm W.
Fine, variegated leaves that look light green from a distance. Lower growing than most Pennisetum with showy flower plumes.
KINGSDALE® Poa poiformis ‘PP500’ PBR: 45cm H x 45cm W.
Blue foliage tussock grass with arching leaves. Full sun to part shade. Best suited to southern NSW for mass planting.
EMERALD ARCH® Dianella tasmanica ‘DT23’ PBR: 45cm H x 45cm W.
A great tropical feel in a cold hardy plant with wide arching leaves. Full sun to heavy shade.
CASSA BLUE® Dianella caerulea ‘DBB03’ PBR: 50cm H x 40cm W.
Clumping Dianella with blue foliage and masses of blue/yellow flowers. Drought tough and low maintenance. Best suited to southern NSW for mass planting.
REVELATION® Dianella revoluta ‘DRG04’ PBR: 50cm H x 50cm W.
The best flowering revoluta that will spread slightly and strengthens the soil up to 135%. A great fine leaf Dianella with blue foliage tones.
JUST RIGHT® Liriope muscari ‘LIRJ’ PBR: 50cm H x 50cm W.
Consistent and reliable in height and stays much more evergreen than Evergreen Giant. So far has never produced a viable seed.
CHERRY CLUSTER™ Grevillea rhyolitica x juniperina ‘TWD01’ PBR: 50cm H x 1.2m W.
A tough groundcover Grevillea with beautiful foliage and masses of flowers in autumn, winter and spring. Suitable for Sydney and south. Not suited for northern NSW.
Anigozanthos hybrid ‘Regal Velvet’ PBR: 50-60cm H x 40cm W.
Has the best finer leaf foliage of any Kangaroo Paw, more resistant to ink spot. Has the tallest flowers out of the Velvet range, red with highlights of green and yellow.
Anigozanthos hybrid ‘Gold Velvet’ PBR: 50-60cm H x 40cm W.
Gold Velvet was bred for toughness and landscape use, the gold flowers really stand out. More resistant to ink spot and has wider leaves than Regal Velvet.
TANIKA® Lomandra longifolia ‘LM300’ PBR: 50-60cm H x 65cm W.
One of the toughest and most reliable Lomandras available. Known for its use on roadsides, Tanika is the perfect drought tolerant, evergreen plant.
Poa labillardieri 'ESKDALE' PBR: 60cm H x 50cm W.
Eskdale is more humidity and drought tolerant with a less straw brown colour in summer. It is longer lived than the common variety. Best suited to southern NSW for mass planting.
OZBREED AUSSIE BOX® Westringia ‘WES02’ PBR: 60cm H x 60cm W.
Tough, native alternative to Japanese Box. Grows into a natural ball shape but can be pruned smaller.
NAFRAY® Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘PA300’ PBR: 60cm H x 60cm W.
A tough, compact variety of Pennisetum. Nafray has a finer texture, is more drought tolerant and is reliable.
BREEZE® Dianella caerulea ‘DCNC0’ PBR: 60-70cm H x 60-70cm W.
A large no cane variety of Dianella. Nice green foliage with blue/yellow flowers.
BLUSH™ Nandina domestica ‘AKA’ PBR: 60-70cm H x 60-70cm W.
Blush has new red foliage growth for most of the year and a much more vibrant red colour in winter.
KING ALFRED® Dianella caerulea ‘JOHN316’ PBR: 70cm H x 70cm W.
A great erosion control plant that strengthens the soil up to 752%. Great for coastal areas with blue-green foliage.