Choosing the best plants for your land

Talk to us about which native plants are best for your unique site and project. 

Planting tips

Wetlands, riverbanks and ponds

If you have rivers, streams or ditches running through your property, you can aid water quality and habitat by excluding stock. Planting riparian species will stabilise the banks, filter and shade runoff, and reduce bacteria levels significantly.

Carex secta/virgata (sedges) are suitable for nearest the water, along with harakeke, cabbage tree and toetoe as these plants won’t impede flows when in flood. Beyond these species on higher ground, plant karamu, Pittosporum, kanuka, koromiko, kowhai and ribbonwood.

For projects where primary cover has been established it is important to re-introduce climactic forest species such as kahikatea, totara, matai, rimu and beech.

Lowland forest 

If you'd like to create an area of bush on your land, start by planting fast-growing natives to compete with the many lightdemanding weeds such as gorse and rank grass species. Once the plant leaves meet to create a canopy closure, the resulting shade will diminish weed control requirements, however in the meantime weed control is important for good results and growth rates. Plant kohuhu, kanuka, karamu and lemonwood.

On warmer free-draining sites include akeake, akiraho and ngaio. On the plains include ribbonwood, lacebark, kowhai and totara. If you already have a patch of bush, plant up the gaps and edges to discourage weeds and include lemonwood, mahoe, five-finger, mapou, kawa kawa, pigeonwood or putaputaweta, which are all tolerant of more shady sites and margins.

Climactic forest species

Podocarp species, such as kahikatea, totara, rimu, matai and miro, along with beech trees – rata, tawa and pokaka, are the aristocrats of our forests. They create self-sustaining forests, providing large quantities of highly sought after fruits for birds to enjoy and then disperse. They live a long time, however they're not necessarily slow growing as often perceived.

In the natural sequential evolution of our forests, primary/colonising species set the scene for these majestic trees to evolve. Too often they are left out of planting plans and sites, and without their inclusion we’re in danger of missing the real point of revegetation which is to set the scene for self-sustaining forests to evolve and endure. Ask us about the best time to plant out your real forest trees.

Coastal sites

To counter erosion, stabilise the land and build beaches, choose sand-binding species Spinifex sericeus, Ficinia spiralis (pingao) and sand tussock (Poa billardierei). These species can protect against sea-level rises and storm events by trapping and growing with moving sands. Back-dune plant communities include Muehlenbeckia complexa, Coprosma acerosa, Ficinia nodosa, toetoe, harakeke, ngaio and akeake.

For bach owners in the Marlborough Sounds or on the coastline of Tasman or Golden Bays, native plants provide good shelter from the wind. For sites surrounded by gorse or scrub some native plants will also reduce the risk of fire.

On very exposed sites, plant ngaio, mirror leaved Coprosma, toetoe and flax as the first line of defence and behind these a mixture of akeake, kanuka and Olearia paniculata.

If your land is around coastal estuaries, plant communities include salt-marsh ribbonwood, Coprosma propinqua, pohuehue, toetoe, harakeke and manuka. Rushes include Oi oi, sea rush, knobby club rush and estuarine tussock.

Native birds

All native plantings help to create a habitat for birds by providing shelter, nectar, fruits, seeds and insects. For nectar, plant flax, Pittosporum and cabbage tree. Fruiting species include Coprosma, Carpodetus, kahikatea and tawa.

Creative landscaping

Learn about some weird and wonderful native plants and flowers, and glean some creative ideas about how to integrate them into your gardens, over at 02 Landscape's website.