Best Australian Rainforest Plants for the Garden

Stream lily (Helmholtzia glaberrima)


This is a strappy leafed plant that can fulfill the same role in the garden as the Clivea, namely a clumping habit that still flowers well in shady conditions such as at the foot of a large tree where it will also be protected from frost. The creamy pink flowers are borne in summer on 1.5 to 2 metre stems above the attractive dark green foliage. Find out more about Helmholtzia

Midyim  or midgenberry (Austromyrtus dulcis, Austromyrtus tenuifolia)

This is a fantastic small shrub growing to no more than a metre in height and width with the attractive pinkish new growth maturing to fern-like foliage that extends to ground level. Dainty white flowers are produced in spring and summer and are followed by very tasty creamy purple and white fruits that are a lovely delicacy eaten straight from the bush. It will also tolerate light frosts if given a protected spot in the garden.

Atherton oak (Athertonia diversifolia)

This is a close relative of the macadamia and also produces a delicious nut from the white flower sprays that tend to be hidden within the canopy. The beautifully glossy divided leaves are undoubtedly the most ornamental feature of this small tree that has proven adaptable to climates as far south as Melbourne. It can also be used as an indoor plant whilst in a pot. Learn more about growing Atherton Oak

Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)

This is a must have large shrub for the Australian garden with its showy white flower clusters in early summer. The richly aromatic leaves have long been recognized for their culinary uses in a wide variety of dishes. Given a well drained soil and an absence of heavy frost the lemon myrtle will quickly establish itself as a feature plant in a shrubbery.

Learn more about how to grow lemon myrtle

Native violet (Viola hederacea)

This is a charming ground cover that flowers year round even in heavy shade. It adapts well to most soil types and can recover readily from stressful events such as drought or frost. The clumps slowly spread by means of runners that can also be encouraged by division. It is a very low maintenance ground cover, and when well grown and dense will suppress weed growth.

Native frangipani (Hymenosporum flavum)

Hymenosporum flavum features glossy dark green foliage that frames the large white to yellow deliciously fragrant spring flowers. It has proven adaptable to colder inland climates where it is often used as a street tree. Normally a small to medium tree, there are new and outstanding dwarf forms appearing on the market. Hymenosporum ‘Gold Nugget’€™  grows to less than a metre in height and width. Hymenosporum ‘Lushious’ is also less than a metre tall and a metre and a half wide, and both make great bun shaped landscaping plants.