Australian Natives II

Course CodeBHT225
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Grow and Use Australian Wildflowers and Shrubs 

This course deals with both woody (hard wooded) and herbaceous (soft wooded), low growing Australian Native plants, which bear showy flowers. The focus is on small shrubs and ground covers.

Comment from one of our Australian Natives II students:
"The plant recognition assignments were challenging and a great help for the future" D. Sydenham



  • Combined with Australian Natives 1 this course will make you an expert!
  • Great for those looking to work in natural environments such as Nature Parks or environmental rehabilitation
  • For Australian native garden designers - extend your design possibilities
  • For Australian native plant enthusiasts to extend your knowledge

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Scope and Nature
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • Resources, sources for further information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.)
  2. Growing Conditions
    • Plant Relationships
    • Understanding Environmental Zones across Australia
    • Soils; composition, colloids, peds, texture, chemical properties, pH and nutrient availability
    • Improving Soils
    • Natives on Low Fertility Soils
    • Diagnosis of Nutritional Problems
    • Inspecting Plants and diagnosing health issues
    • Preventing Problems
    • Pests and Diseases on Natives
    • Planting, staking, mulching, watering
    • Planting; different tequniques for plant establishment
    • Pruning Australian Native Plants
    • Water Management -review
    • Propagation Technique -review
  3. The Heaths and Similar Plants
    • Scope and Nature of Heaths
    • Heath habitats
    • Epacridaceae; the Epacris Family
    • Proteaceae
    • Myrtaceae
    • Thymeleaceae
    • Dilleniaceae
    • Glossary of botanical terms used to describe plants
    • Introductory Plant Morphology
    • Review of plant genera and many of their species:
    • Grevillea
    • Hakea
    • Hibbertia
    • Hypocalymma
    • Isopogon
    • Leptospermum
    • Melaleuca
    • Micromyrtus
    • Pimelia
    • Richea
    • Telopea
    • Thryptomene
    • Verticordia
    • Acronidium
  4. The Daisy Family
    • Characteristics of Asteraceae
    • Floral Structure of Asteraceae
    • Review of culture and distinguishing characteristics of various Asteraceae genera, including:
    • Heichrysum and Bracteantha
    • Helipterum
    • Olearia
    • Orthronathus
    • Rhodanthe
  5. The Legumes
    • Common characteristics of all legumes
    • Distinguishing Fabaceae, Caesalpinacea and Mimosaceae
    • Acacia
    • Albizzia
    • Eutaxia
    • Goodia
    • Hardenbergia
    • Hovea
    • Indigofera
    • Kennedya
    • Pultenea
  6. Other common groups
    • Alogyne
    • Bauera
    • Burseria
    • Clematis
    • Correa
    • Crowea
    • Dampiera
    • Hibbertia
    • Hibiscus
    • Lobelia
    • Leschenaultia
    • Pandorea
    • Pittosporum
    • Pratia
    • Prostanthera
    • Rhagodia
    • Sollya
    • Viola
    • Westringia, etc.
    • Basic Landscape Design; Design Procedure, Drawing a plan
    • Native Plants for Specific Situations; long flowering species, climbing species, etc
  7. The Monocotyledons
    • Blandfordia
    • Bulbine
    • Caesia
    • Calectasia
    • Calostemma
    • Carex
    • Cordyline
    • Dianella
    • Lomandra
    • Danthonia
    • Patersonia
    • Stypandra
    • Anigozanthus
    • Xanthorrhea, etc.
  8. Commercial Applications: Growing Native Cut Flowers
    • Production Plan for Cut Flowers
    • Selection Criteria for Plants


  • Distinguish between different types of native wildflowers.
  • Determine reliable information about the identification and culture of Australian wildflowers.
  • Specify general cultural practices, including propagation, for different families of Australian native wildflowers.
  • Explain the characteristics, including identification and culture, of heath like native wildflowers; with reference to both proteaceous and myrtaceous plants.
  • Explain the characteristics, including their identification, culture and use, of wildflowers in the Asteraceae (ie. Daisy) family.
  • Explain the characteristics, including identification, culture and use, of different legume wildflower genera.
  • Explain the characteristics, including identification, culture and use, of different Australian native monocotyledons (ie. narrow-leaved plants).
  • Prepare a planting design featuring Australian wildflowers.
  • Develop a cut flower production plan, for a selected Australian wildflower.

What You Will Do

  • Distinguish, using illustrations and minimum but adequate comments, between twentydifferent plant families within which Australian native wildflowers are commonly found,including the following: Asteraceae, Caesalpiniaceae, Dilleniaceae, Epacridaceae, Ericaceae, Fabaceae, Poaceae, Haemodoraceae, Iridaceae, Lamiaceae, Liliaceae, Mimosaceae, Myrtaceae, Orchidaceae, Proteaceae, Rutaceae and Thymelaceae.
  • Prepare a collection of fifty pressed wildflower specimens (or illustrations), not collected elsewhere with information included on culture and use.
  • Compile a resource file of sources of information on native wildflowers.
  • Develop criteria for distinguishing the accuracy of information, relating to native wildflowers.
  • Determine four reliable sources, of accurately named Australian plant material, including both seed and plants.
  • Develop a procedure for researching cultural information on an unfamiliar species of Australian wildflower, listing specific information sources in order of importance.
  • Explain two different ways to plant each of three, different specified wildflower plants
  • Compare the use of four different types of mulch, around specified wildflowers.
  • Explain appropriate techniques for watering wildflowers, in a specified garden.
  • Compare the pruning of two specified wildflowers, from two different taxonomic families.
  • Explain why three different wildflower plants have different preferences in soils.
  • Compare the use of five different types of fertiliser on wildflower plants.
  • Propagate wildflower plants using four different techniques (eg. Seed, Cuttings).
  • Identify pests and diseases afflicting at least three different wildflowers.
  • Discuss the culture of fifteen different wildflower plants.
  • Distinguish, using illustrations and minimum but adequate comments, between genera which include heath-like native plants, including:
    • Epacris
    • Micromyrtus
    • Thryptomene
    • Verticordia
    • Grevillea
    • Isopogon
    • Melaleuca
    • Pimelia.
  • Prepare a poster size chart which compares the characteristics, including:
    • Appearance
    • Propagation
    • Lifespan
    • Soil requirements
    • Environmental requirements
    • Pests & diseases
  • Special cultural techniques of various different genera of heath-like wildflowers.
  • Describe the unique characteristics of different genera of wildflowers
  • Dissect, draw and label the parts of a daisy flower, including:
    • Ligule
    • Stigma
    • Style
    • Anther
    • Corolla tube
    • Pappus
    • Ovary
    • Receptacle
    • Disc floret
    • Ray floret.
  • Distinguish, using illustrations, between three different native daisy genera.
  • Design a garden bed using only Australian native daisy flowers which will grow in your locality, and will flower for an optimum period of months over the year.
  • Produce dried flowers from an appropriate native plant variety in the Asteraceae family.
  • Distinguish between Fabaceae, Caesalpiniaceae & Mimosaceae families characteristics.
  • List fifteen of the more commonly grown native legume genera.
  • Describe various uses for specific legume native genera, including:
    • Soil improvement
    • Flower colour
    • Weed suppression
    • Erosion control
    • Decorative foliage
    • Screening as a climber.
  • Write an essay comparing the characteristics of four different Australian Native legume genera.
  • List twenty species of low growing native monocotyledons suited to culture in your locality
  • Describe various uses for monocotyledon native species listed, including:
    • Soil improvement
    • Flower colour
    • Weed suppression
    • Erosion control
    • Decorative foliage
    • Screening.
  • Design a garden bed of 20 square metres, using only Australian native monocotyledons which will grow in your locality; to be colourful for an optimum period of months during the year.
  • Determine applications for five different species of wildflowers, in amenity horticulture.
  • Grow a combination of three different wildflower varieties in an area of four square metres, to achieve an aesthetically attractive display of colour.
  • Prepare a scale drawing for a design of a 40 square metre garden bed which features wildflowers, and creates a high impact colourful display for a period of at least two months.
  • Develop criteria for selection of a wildflower species to grow as a commercial crop.
  • Determine ten different species of wildflowers which have potential as a commercial cut flower crop, in your locality.
  • Design & conduct simple trial for testing the performance of three specimens of a selected wildflower species, and summarise the trial procedure, detailing:
    • What to grow
    • Schedule of cultural tasks
    • List of equipment and materials required
  • Evaluate the commercial potential of the different cut flowers.
  • Devise a crop production schedule for a specified cut flower crop, detailing all essential work tasks.


When most people think of growing Australian natives, the ‘bush garden’ which features native plants in a ‘natural bushland’ setting is the landscape style that comes to mind. While this garden style remains popular, there are many other ways to grow natives in the garden. Today, native plants are grown in formal gardens, rainforest gardens, indigenous gardens, cottage gardens, contemporary gardens, eclectic gardens, courtyard gardens and Oriental gardens.

Regardless of the garden’s theme or style, good plant selection is vital – choose specific varieties that complement your preferred style of garden. 

Bush Gardens

Bush gardens typically are modelled on natural bush habitats, such as heath-land or dry sclerophyll woodlands. The main plantings are usually woody flowering shrubs such as grevilleas, hakeas, prostantheras and callistemons, interspersed with smaller shrubs and groundcovers such as baueras, eriostomons and brachyscomes. Larger bush gardens might also feature an over-storey of eucalypts, casuarinas or angophoras. Mossy bush rocks, winding paths and leafy, bark mulches add to the bushland effect.

While this garden style aims to recreate nature, it is essential to approach the design and maintenance in the same way as any other garden style, otherwise the garden may end up as a meaningless assortment of straggly plants. Follow the principles of landscape design, so that the garden is not only pleasing to look at, but is functional as well. Consider the plants’ form, texture and colour. Also consider their longevity – some smaller bushland plants only live a season or two, so you must be prepared to replace them at regular intervals.

Choosing Native Plants for Your Garden Style

How to choose the right plants for your garden style? Some native plant gardeners are happy to grow any plant as long as it is a ‘native’, that is that it originates in Australia. Purists are more likely to choose species that are indigenous to their locality. Others consider the garden style first, then select natives that do the same job as exotics for example: training lillypillies as hedges or topiaries, or edging garden beds with small-growing varieties of lomandras.

Designing a Natural Bush Garden

A natural bush garden can be anything which attempts to simulate a natural environment. For reduced maintenance it must aim to be an area where the created garden will inhibit the growth of unwanted weeds through close planting and mulching. For a wilderness or bush garden the design must be informal. Consider the whole atmosphere including scents and sounds. The garden should be alive with chattering birds, fluttering butterflies and lizards lounging on warm rocks. Underfoot should be spongy with mulch smelling of earth and eucalyptus. A bush garden is more than just trees and shrubs. Try to include all of the low-growing herbs, grasses, lilies, etc of the under-storey.

When designing a native garden consider:

  • How things fit together in the bush – trees, shrubs, grasses, rocks, leaf litter and natural water courses
  • What makes up a bush garden – not just the plants, but also the native birds and animals, and soil, rocks etc.
  • How you will put it all together and maintain it over time.

This course is particularly valuable for:

  • Nurserymen
  • Cut Flower Growers
  • Garden Designers
  • Environmental Surveyors
  • Gardeners
  • Plant Breeders



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