Being a successful outdoor gardener is very different to keeping indoor potted plants alive and happy, so you’ll need a new set of skills and gardening knowledge if you want to plant and grow your first outdoor garden.
We aske horticulturalist and Victa Ambassador, Adam Woodhams, what the best plants for beginner outdoor gardeners are, and he gave us his top four favourites.
“These are some of my garden favourites that are perfect for budding gardeners still on their ‘L’ plates. Remember, you always need to evaluate your planting spots, such as shady, sunny, cool, warm, shallow soil, clay soil, and take these sort of things into account when selecting plants,” says Adam.
1. Murraya (Murraya paniculata)
“Beautiful tropical-looking foliage, a profusion of small, white, richly fragrant flowers throughout the year and almost un-killable - Murraya is a fantastic ‘everything’ plant! Technically, it’s a large shrub, but you can keep it pruned to virtually any shape or size, so it’s a great chance to develop your shaping skills. They’ll thrive in sun or part-shade, can be used solo or as hedging or topiary. Although they do prefer reliable moisture, they can tolerate dry periods once established.”
2. Clumping bamboos (various species)
“Hardy, beautiful and fantastic problem solvers, don’t mistake clumping bamboo for the problematic running bamboos, but do make sure you are buying a clumping or ‘escape proof’ variety. They’ll stay to neat sizes in a reasonably defined area. Clumping bamboo are awesome for screening or even hedging and have very defined heights, so buy a variety with a height to suit your needs. When well looked after, many get close to their maximum height in as little as 18-months. They like reliable moisture, so keep well mulched, and regular feeding. As they are technically a grass, an annual feed with a quality lawn fertiliser works wonders!”
3. Mondo grass (Ophiopogon various species and cultivars)
“Fantastic plants for everything from ground covers to filling patches between rocks or pavers, to using them as border plants. Although called a ‘grass’ they are in-fact a clumping lily that spreads in a grass-like way from runners. Theer are lots of varieties, from dwarf to giant, but my favourite is the variegated giant (Ophiopogon jaburan ‘Variegatus’) with its beautiful stripy leaves. All very hardy, preferring good moisture and can handle occasional water-logging, but they will also tolerate dry conditions n bounce back afterwards. Performs best in positions with a little shade.”
4. Sasanqua camellia (Camellia sasanqua cultivars)
“Sasanqua camellia have gorgeous glossy foliage, and from autumn through winter it has an amazing display of beautiful flowers. Sasanqua camellia can be used solo or as a hedge or screen, and they’re often described as the only true flowering hedge. This is another that can be pruned to preferred size and shape, but you will find different varieties have different sizes so pick something to suit your needs. Sasanqua camellia perform best when lightly pruned after flowering, which is generally late winter. They’ll grow from shady spots through to full-sun and will do well in most soils, except heavy clay or water-logged situations.”