Westringias add touch of native beauty

Bright gem: If you only have room for one westringia, Westringia Wollomombi Falls is  the one for you.

Bright gem: If you only have room for one westringia, Westringia Wollomombi Falls is the one for you.

The westringias are members of the Lamiaceae family in company with the culinary mints and the native mint bushes (Prostantheras). There are 25 species and some cultivars.

Westringias only occur in Australia. They develop into small to medium shrubs. Their leaves are held in whorls of from two to six around the stems. Flowers have an irregular shape with five lobes.

Westringias have proved to be hardy, free-flowering, frost-resistant and, once established, have low water requirements. They appreciate light pruning which increases both foliage density and flowering.

Westringia longifolia is one of the best white-flowered native plants and would make an eye-catching addition to a native shrubbery.

Westringias are some of the easiest plants to propagate from cuttings. All the varieties described are surviving and thriving in local gardens.

Westringia Wollomombi Falls is, as the name implies, a local species that grows in the gorge country, east of Armidale. This small shrub has shiny leaves and purple flowers that are carried throughout the year. The petals have maroon dots that are thought to signal to insects that there is nectar at the base of the flower. This is a characteristic of all westringia flowers.

Westringia Wollomombi Falls is our favourite variety because of the bright, long-lasting flowers, foliage and growth habit. If you only have room in your garden for one westringia, then this is the one for you.

Try this variety in cottage gardens, rockeries or containers to add colour to a patio or balcony.

Westringia Wynyabbie Gem first appeared on the nursery scene way back in 1979. Wynyabbie Gem is a medium shrub that will reach a height of one and a half metres.  The flowers that are carried for most of the year are pale lilac with orange dots that attract insects. They are both conspicuous and profuse.

Westringia longifolia is a medium, upright shrub that will reach a height of two metres. Buds are pinkish to pale lilac opening to pure white flowers about one centimetre across. Flowering is sporadic throughout the year. Blooms are profuse and eye-catching.

Westringia longifolia is one of the best white-flowered native plants and would make an eye-catching addition to a native shrubbery.

Westringia Glabra Cadabra is a hybrid whose parents are Westringia glabra and Westringia fruticosa. Glabra Cadabra will develop into a dense shrub about 1.5 metres high by the same width. Clusters of violet flowers appear, in large numbers, in spring with sporadic flowering at other times. Light pruning will keep plants bushy and increase flowering.

Glabra Cadabra could be grown as an informal hedge in company with Westringia Wynyabbie Gem.

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