Flowering times often vary from place to place. A plant that flowers in winter in one part of Australia, may well flower in spring or sometimes summer elsewhere. A plant that flowers this week in one part of a garden may flower a little earlier or later in the same garden if planted in a brighter, darker, warmer or cooler spot. Different varieties of the plant species can flower for longer or shorter periods too. If you want to stagger flowering, you could use the different conditions in your garden to lengthen the flowering period.
If you read that a particular plant flowers in June, for example, always consider that it may be early June in some places, late in others, and it may spill into adjacent months in different places too. Although unusual in cooler climes, many of the citrus family natives can flower in winter in warmer regions. Species of Chamelaucium, Crowea, and Eriostemon (amongst others) begin flowering in winter in Melbourne, Sydney and some other parts. In very cold areas it may be very late winter or early spring before some of these bear flowers. Many of Australia’s heathland species including Epacris and Astroloma will also flower in winter across much of temperate Australia.
There are Banksia species that flower in winter, in most parts of Australia, but you must choose the species appropriate to where you live. Although closely related, Dryandras tend to include more winter flowering species than Banksias. Dryandra praemorsa flowers in late winter in Melbourne, and earlier in milder locations.
Aside from the obvious winter flowering plants, some species will flower throughout the year in favourable environments. For instance, daisies including the Xerochrysums (formerly Helichrysums and Bracteanthas) and Hellipterum roseum can flower most of the year if weather isn’t extreme, and so may be useful for winter colour in the subtropics or coastal areas of temperate Australia. These plants are especially useful for attracting butterflies and moths because they act as a food source for their larvae. They also bring in native bees and hoverflies along with grasshoppers and beetles. The ‘everlasting’ flowers can be cut and brought indoors to brighten up the home.
Some natives such as the wattles may not flower much until they have been in the ground for a couple of years, but others, particularly smaller shrubs and groundcovers like. Grevilleas, Hardenbergias, and Croweas can often be purchased already in bloom. They can be planted directly into a drab winter garden for an immediate splash of colour.
Another idea is to keep newly purchased potted plants indoors for a couple of weeks to enjoy the flowers before planting them out in the garden. This can be more effective than a vase of flowers, and instead of simply adding to your compost heap when the flowers are spent you will have a ready source of winter flowers the following season.
What Flowers Where?
Some of the more popular species listed below for example Leptospermum, including L. scoparium can flower almost all year round, including winter and some cultivars flower specifically in winter e.g. L. ‘Cardwell’, L. ‘Daydream’, L. ‘Safari Sunset’, L. rotundifolium 'Julie Ann'. Hakeas are another example, some flower in winter in different parts of Australia including H. nodosa, H. petiolaris, H. sericea, and H. mulilineata.
Acacia spp., (Wattles) - many types ranging in size. Selected species flower in all states in winter. Cooler (Tasmania, Inland Victoria): Acacias e.g. A. Acinacea, A. Acinacea ‘Ruby Tips’, A. conferta; Mediterranean (Adelaide, Perth): Acacias e.g. A. microbotrya, A. cognata ‘Winter Flame’; A. fimbriata ‘Nana’ flowers in sub-tropical areas.
Actinotus helianthus - Flowers in temperate regions such as NSW.
Adenanthus sericeous (Albany Woolly Bush) – native to WA flowers during winter in temperate and cool regions also.
Alyogyne huegelii – commonly called Native Hibiscus and often used in road-side planting with hibiscus-like flowers some cultivars flower in winter throughout Australia.
Astartea spp., (False Baeckea) mostly small shrubs lovely pink flowers with a dark centre. Flowers throughout much of Australia though some forms (especially the lighter pinks) do better in Sub-tropics than the dark pink forms.
Anigozanthus (Kangaroo Paws) cultivars such as A. ‘Bush Bonanza’ and A. ‘Bush Elegance’ are two that flower in winter in cool and temperate regions, though the main flowering is in spring, summer and autumn; A. fimbriata ‘Nana’ does well in the sub-tropics flowering during winter. Kangaroo Paws) flower particularly well over winter in the north of Australia.
Astroloma conostephiodes (Flame Heath) a native of WA.
Banksia - many species of this large shrub flower in winter in several states including B. ashbyi, B. baueri, B. ‘Giant Candles’, B. brownii, B. coccinea, B. ericifolia, B. marginata; B. spinulosa. Banksia menziesii, and B. prionotes flower in Mediterranean regions at this time.
Baeckea ramosissima; Flowers in temperate and cool regions.
Boronia – a much loved and well-known small short-lived, scented shrub, several species flower in winter in cool and temperate areas also B. crenulata, B. megastigma; B. ledifolia (Sydney Boronia) flowers in late winter and spring and also B. coerulescens (Blue Boronia) in Sydney.
Bossiaea dentata shrub 1-2m tall lovely pink pendant flowers with a keel, native to WA but flowers also in cold and temperate areas; B. heterophylla temperate areas.
Brachycome spp. The Swan River Daisy – daisy flowers in purple and whites throughout the year;
Brachysema lanceolatum, B. latifolium, B. sericeum; plants from WA that flower well in Melbourne in winter.
Bauera rubioides – flowers in cool temperate, temperate and the subtropics.
Brachysema lanceolatum - flowers in temperate conditions but is native to WA.
Callistemon palludosus – native to NSW flowering during winter.
Calytrix tetgragona – native to the Sydney region.
Clematis glycinoides – native to the Sydney region
Correa alba; C. backhousiana, C. calcycina; C. ‘Dusky Bells’, C. glabra ,Correa reflexa; Flower in cold, cool and temperate regions during winter.
Cryptandra amara – native to the Sydney region.
Dampiera alata, D. hederacea, D. linearis, and several cultivars flower well in Melbourne, D. stricta is native to Sydney and flowers there in winter.
Dillwynia floribunda var. floribunda, D. retorta are both native to the Sydney region.
Epacris impressa and cultivars do well in Victoria and Tasmania, flower in winter; Epacris loniflora, E. microphylla are both native to Sydney and also winter flowering.
Dryandra nivea is a winter flowering native of WA.
Eremophila (some species) flower in cool and also Mediterranean areas such as Perth and Adelaide, but also NSW.
Grevillea (several species flower in winter in cool and also temperate regions including Grevillea buxifolia, G. juniperina, G. longifolia, G.sericea, G. speciosa for cool and temperate zones – also several species that flower in Perth, Adelaide e.g. G. “Robyn Gordon’, G. ‘Cherry Cluster’; and some in sub-topical and tropical areas. Grevillea lanigera, G. juniper cultivars e.g. G. ‘New Blood’, G. ‘Lady O’, G. victoriae flower well in Tasmania during winter;
Hakea (some species) including Hakea gibbosa, H. sericea in cool and temperate regions and also several species in Mediterranean like areas of Perth and Adelaide including Hakea platysperma; H. eriantha, H. laurina. Some species also flower in the sub-tropics.
Hardenbergia violacea – flowers in Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and also sub-tropical of NSW and Qld in winter.
Hibbertia (some species);
Kennedia rubicunda flowers in winter in the Sydney area. Kennedia coccinea flowers in Adelaide and Perth at this time.
Lechenaultia Formosa endemic to Western Australia; can flower almost all year, even in Sydney and Melbourne, but needs well drained conditions. Excessive moisture can kill.
Leptospermum flavescens ‘Cardwell’, L. sericeum flower well in the Melbourne region; Leptospermum laevigatum in and around Sydney, and some species also flower well in Mediterranean climates.
Melaleuca squamea flowers in winter in Sydney;
Olearia ciliata (Daisy Bush ) - flowers in cool climates in winter.
Philotheca myoproides - flowering starts in June in all areas except the tropics.
Westringia spp. (some species flower all year) in cold, cool, temperate and Mediterranean regions.
Xerochrysum bracteatum flowers in the subtropics.