Indestructible Landscape Plants and Turf
(Pictured in this photo is Shara™ lomandra)
By Todd Layt
Any garden will benefit from almost indestructible plants and turf. Some fuss unless the dirt, climate and care is correct where others just keep giving in the face of adversity. These plants deserve the title of ‘bulletproof’ or ‘almost indestructible’ and they are a good starting point for an easy-care landscape.
The physical characteristics that make plants bulletproof are being free of pest and disease problems, having a good tolerance for soil extremes – both dry and wet conditions – and being both heat and cold tolerant. Bulletproof plants also establish quickly to form a strong root system, which is part of the plant’s survival tactic.
Of course if a plant is too bulletproof, it could become a weed. To work in a landscape and not become weedy, select plants that don’t produce lots of seed, and don’t become invasive.
Where to look
You can discover bulletproof plants growing in your local area, particularly on road sides. Look at plants that have survived in neglected gardens, thrive in the tough environments of a roundabout planting or grow happily beside a footpath, fence or car park.
If you can’t identify the particular plant yourself, get help from the local council authority or local garden centre, where experts should be able to identify not only the genus and species but also the cultivar. There are also state of the art apps available to help identify plants as well as well researched websites like www.ozbreed.com.au
A word of warning though – even bulletproof plants may take a hit if they are placed outside their usually broad comfort zone. You have to choose the right plant for the right place. Wet or poorly drained soils, extremes of cold or heat, salt spray and other factors can take their toll. So can poor planting or lack of good post-planting care just to get the plant established. Using the right mulch is also important. Chunky mulch with no fines not only reduces disease pressure, but it also stops weed seed from germinating. Mulch with lots of fines acts as a seed raising mix.
Having patrolled roundabouts, local parks and explored quite a few neglected gardens and landscapes looking for bulletproof plants, one plant breeder has developed and selected a range of tough, bulletproof selections. These plants, which are marketed by Ozbreed, can be used to set up the structure of the garden as hedges and edging plants, as groundcovers, massed shrubs for borders or accent plants to provide colour and seasonal interest…read more