Growing Natives for Your Winter Garden

The absolute best time for growing natives in the garden is through the winter months. I do a lot of work planting native trees and they love the extra water over the winter months. It’s a great time to get them established before the onset of spring when they can really put some growth in.

There is a lot of variety when it comes to native plants and there are so many benefits of growing native plants. NZ plants are grown in NZ conditions so they are extremely hardy and require little care once established. They are also great habitat for the local bird life providing food and shelter. You may need to source natives that are best for your particular area as they differ from region to region.

If you are looking for colour and texture in your garden, native plants can be just what you are looking for. We have some beautiful trees, shrubs and ground covers.

growing natives

Kaka Beak

Kaka beak is a small evergreen tree with a sprawling habit. It is usually sought after for its pendulous red flowers which are beautiful and unusual at the same time. There is also a white flowered variety which is less common. Plant in full sun in a free draining position. Kaka beak is very well known for being attacked by caterpillars, slugs and snails so you will need to lay snail bait to protect them from being eaten. If you have children or animals look for the pet safe snail bait in stores. Kaka beak is a very good food source for native birds. One of my favourite native flowers, second only to kowhai.

growing natives


Hebes are an evergreen shrub grown for their flower and their form. They are a hardy and drought tolerant plant with beautiful flower spikes of white, blue or lilac. There are so many varieties I can’t name them all but they all vary in size and structure. They can be compact and small or bushy and large. They can be grown for garden edges and hedges, in pots and as larger specimens in the garden.

Hebes are best grown in full sun but can handle some shade and free draining soil is best. Hebes bloom from summer through to autumn. Regular trimming after flowering is beneficial to keep their shape. Check out our guide to growing hebes.

growing natives


A gorgeous tree with an abundance of beautiful yellow flowers. There are quite a few different varieties. Full sun to part shade is best with free draining soil. Some of the varieties are perfect for shade or specimen trees in the garden, or there are smaller varieties available for the people with less room. Very beneficial to bird life.

growing natives


If you want to add some colour and texture to your garden flax is a great place to start especially if you want a maintenance free garden. There is such a wide variety available now with different colours and sizes available to suit most gardens. Most of the garden varieties of flax with the beautiful colours prefer a well drained site in full sun but they can handle most conditions. Take off any old foliage at the base to keep the plants looking neat and tidy.

growing natives


Just like the flax the cabbage tree is another of those plants that are perfect for adding texture to the garden. You can really make a statement with these plants. Best planted in full sun with free draining soil.

growing natives


You knew this one was coming. It is an iconic native tree which flowers profusely over the Christmas season which makes it so desirable to have. It is a large tree that prefers full sun and a free draining position. It is also well suited to coastal environments and a good food source for wildlife. It makes a gorgeous specimen tree.

With so many gorgeous NZ natives I often wonder why we want to plant anything else. If you want to increase the amount of wildlife in your garden and at the same time decrease time spent on maintenance, then natives are for you! Planting native plants can be a really rewarding way to establish your garden. Having worked doing many native plantings, the increase in bird life has been phenomenal and I have really enjoyed seeing the life come back in to those spaces.