How to Grow and Care for the most popular plants at 2022 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show
The winners at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show are always the gardeners because they get to take home lots of planting ideas and there was certainly no shortage of inspiration for the crowds who flocked to the show. Here are our top 5 plants which took centre stage this year and tips on how to grow them!
Hydrangea ‘Sundae Fraise’
Hydrangea ‘Sundae Fraise’ is in high demand this season thanks to its showstopping appearance in Warner’s Nurseries and Rob Boyle’s Gold winning garden. It bursts into bloom in summer with big showy flowers that first emerge green then open to snow white. Then as summer fades to autumn the flowers take on magnificent pink tones. Unlike many other hydrangeas, they enjoy basking in the sunshine, so grow them in a sunny spot in the garden (they enjoy part shade too) in moist, well-drained soil. Take a leaf out of Rob’s garden and plant them on mass for extra impact or make a feature of them in decorative pots if you have a small courtyard or balcony. Potted hydrangeas will thrive in Scotts Osmocote PremiumPlus Superior Potting mix and for a stunning, long-lasting display of flowers, feed them in Spring and Autumn with Scotts Osmocote All Purpose Controlled Release Fertiliser
Kangaroo Paws are uniquely Australian and this iconic plant was front and centre in gardens big and small at this year’s show. Plant Kangaroo Paws in pots or garden beds with well-drained soil, plenty of sun and nectar-feeding birds will come flocking. Their masses of furry, tubular flowers are shaped like a Kangaroo paw (hence the name) and come in all shades of yellow, orange, red, green, burgundy and even white. If you want tough, long-lasting plants, stick to the taller varieties like ‘Landscape Orange’, which lights up the garden through Spring and Summer with sunset orange flowers on stems up to 2 metres tall. Smaller cultivars like the white-pale pink flowering ‘Bush Diamond’ tend to be shorter lived but make up for it with sheer flowering enthusiasm, blooming through most of the year. Smaller types grow beautifully in pots, and for best results use Scotts Osmocote Native Premium Potting mix, which is tailormade for Australian plants. Feed twice yearly, when plants are producing new flower buds and when they are bursting into growth, using Scotts Osmocote Controlled Release Fertiliser for Natives.
Tractor Seat Plant
Ligularias have been underutilised in Australian gardens, but they certainly won’t be after this year’s show! Commonly called the Tractor-seat plant for their big bold rounded leaves, this is a fabulous plant to turn to if you want to create a lush tropical look in your home or garden. Ligularia reniformis carpets the ground with lush green foliage and creates a wow effect in any garden, particularly when planted on mass. It’s the perfect choice for those tough shady spots with moist well drained soil. Ligularia ‘Othello’ was another star of the show with big rounded dark green foliage that has attractive purple undersides. You would grow it for its foliage alone, but it also has the bonus of pretty gold-orange daisy-like flowers in the Summer. For lush, healthy foliage and showy flowers feed with Scotts Osmocote Pour+Feed for Indoor Plants.
Tulips are usually a feature of spring gardens, but thanks to the behind-the-scenes efforts of bulb growers, there were plenty of blooms on show – a visual reminder that autumn is the perfect time to plant tulip bulbs for a spectacular spring display. Look out for classic beauties like Tulip ‘World Friendship’, which is one of the first and longest in bloom or ‘Queen of the Night’ with dramatic almost black flowers. If you’re after something more flamboyant keep an eye out for double tulips like ‘Chato’ which has luscious deep pink blooms or the fringed tulip ‘Fabio’ with fiery orange-red blooms that have golden fringed edges. Grow them in big bold clumps in sunny garden beds or make a feature of them in decorative pots. And don’t forget to give the bulbs a good spell in the fridge crisper for 6-8 weeks before planting to promote big beautiful blooms (some suppliers will have already done this for you). For a spectacular potted display start with Scotts Osmocote Bulb Premium Potting Mix and feed your tulips both at planting time and again when they finish flowering with Scotts Osmocote All Purpose Controlled Release Fertiliser.
Beautiful, dry loving Leucadendrons were teamed with everything from natives to succulents in this year’s display gardens. These stunning plants hail from South Africa and display colourful bracts which light up the autumn and winter garden. The flowery bracts come in all the sunset tones, from Leucadendron ‘Safari Sunset’ which is a spectacular red colour to the sunshine yellow ‘Winter Gold’. They make wonderful feature plants and dramatic informal hedges. Enjoy their spectacular blooms all season long then prune back after flowering to keep them in tip top shape. Like many Australian plants, Leucadendrons are sensitive to phosphorous, so make them shine with a low phosphorous fertiliser like Scotts Osmocote Controlled Release Fertiliser for Natives.