In a previous article some groundcovers were described that grow into flat, dense carpets. This time, we will gain some horticultural altitude and feature some native groundcovers that develop into dense, mounded, weed-suppressing ground covers. They will reach a maximum height of 50 centimetres with a spread usually exceeding one metre.
As per usual, all the varieties described and recommended are surviving and thriving in local gardens.
Melaleuca hypericifolia usually grows into a medium to tall shrub. There is a form, known as “Ulladulla Beacon”, that grows on south coast headlands and has lance-shaped, light green leaves that are about four centimetres long. In spring and summer, plants produce masses of large, rusty-red bottlebrush-shaped flowers.
The prominent flowers are rich in nectar and attract honeyeaters. Plants reach a height of 50 centimetres with a spread at least one metre square. Growth habit, foliage and particularly flowers are attractive features.
“Ulladulla Beacon” could be grown to cover embankments with the plants cascading down the slope. Used as a foreground plant in large native garden beds would be another cultivation idea.
Occasional tip pruning will increase foliage density.
The fringed honey-myrtle
Micromyrtus ciliata, the fringed honey-myrtle, is another native that grows into a dense, mounded ground cover covering a wide area. The aromatic leaves are small, dark green and conifer-like in appearance. Small pink buds appear in spring and open into deep pink, tea tree like flowers. What flowers lack in size they make up for in quantity.
During the flowering period, branches are covered in blooms. Once again growth habit, foliage and especially flowers are all attractive, eye-catching features.
This delightful mounded groundcover would be an interesting addition to native cottage gardens and rockeries.
During the flowering period, the long branches could be picked and used in flower arrangements. Tip pruning is appreciated.
Correa “Dusky Bells”
Correa “Dusky Bells” is one of our favourite correas that has been cultivated for many years.
“Dusky Bells” is another mounded groundcover reaching the usual 50 centimetre height with a spread exceeding one metre. Ovate leaves are up to four centimetres long. In autumn and winter, plants produce large numbers of tubular, carmine-pink flowers that hang down from the branches.
As with all correas, the flowers are nectar-rich and attract honeyeaters.
“Dusky Bells” is a useful plant as it blooms in the cooler months when colour is rather scarce in the garden.
Leptospermum “Pink Cascade”
Leptospermum “Pink Cascade” is a spreading tea tree with small, linear, aromatic leaves. Young stems are a reddish colour. During the warmer months branches become covered with pink flowers that are about one centimetre in diameter.
This attractive mounded ground cover, as well as growing in the garden, will live happily in a container.
Mounded ground covers, as well as bringing colour to the lower level of the garden, will inhibit weed growth and reduce evaporation.