2018 Plants of the Month

  • Each month the Growing Friends will choose a plant from their nursery to showcase
  • Previous Year's Plants of the Month - Have a look at them all

  • Goodenia macmillanii - January/February 2018 Plant of the Month

    Goodenia macmillanii, an Aussie plant, was first described by von Mueller in 1859 and is endemic to Victoria being found only in a few locations in East Gippsland. It is listed as vulnerable in the Department of Sustainability and Environment's Advisory List. Unlike the more common Goodenia ovata which has yellow flowers, it has purple/mauve flowers and an upright habit. Flowering is in summer. It seems to grow well in most soil types, tolerates sun and shade although the best conditions are moist soils. It is frost tender. It is an interesting and rewarding perennial for home gardens and not just because of its rarity; it is attractive in its own right.

    There are plants available for sale in the Growing Friends nursery

    Chamaecereus sylvestri - March 2018 Plant of the Month 

    Chamaecereus sylvestri, (The Peanut Cactus) is an interesting, easy to grow little plant originally from a mountainous area in Argentina.

    Its young shoots resemble peanuts, and will readily fill a pot in 2 years. The stems lengthen into cylindrical finger-like shapes and are pale green with soft hairs and lengthwise shallow indentations.

    This fascinating cactus will also grow indoors, as long as it receives sunlight and is kept moist. Bright scarlet star like flowers may occur in Spring and early summer under favourable growing conditions. Great for terracotta pots and hanging baskets.

    There are plants available for sale in the Growing Friends nursery


    Salvia splendens ‘Van Houttei’ - April 2018 Plant of the Month

    This Salvia is at its best during Summer, Autumn and into the early stages of Winter, in its loosely shrubby, perennial form. It grows to about 1 - 1.5 x 1 - 1.2 m approx. It has limey green foliage and its flowers are quite large and a very attractive crimson/maroon colour with the calyx a deeper maroon red. It is best grown in a protected position, with morning sun (but good indirect light or light shade) and away from strong winds and hot sun.

    It prefers some moisture, compost-rich soil and is certainly a stunner in full bloom! Remove spent flowers to extend the flowering period and give a light prune by about one third in Spring as the plant begins to show new growth, or to new shoots back along the stem - hard pruning can lose this plant. It is not frost tolerant. 

    The Growing Friends have good stock of this wonderful and colourful Salvia.

    Hibiscus paramutabilis - May 2018 Plant of the Month

    Native to China, this rarely seen, long flowering, deciduous shrub grows to 2m or more in height. Luxuriant mid-green, maple like foliage compliment abundant, large, single, bright pink flowers that bloom from late summer till winter.

    This showy plant prefers a sunny spot that is adaptable to most well drained soils. It is quite hardy and will tolerate frosts. Can be pruned to shape/size in late winter, early spring. Grow it as a background plant or a feature….perhaps amongst some Salvias or one of the Ceratostigmas  where it will shine brightly.

    The Growing Friends have plenty of stock of this spectacular, distinctive Hibiscus.


    Begonia angularis - June 2018 Plant of the Month

    Begonia angularis has an upright form and bears white pendulous flowers, it grows to 1 metre in height. The  beautiful leaves have wavy-toothed margins and are grey – green with silver veins. The plant enjoys filtered light and well drained soil. It comes from the rain forests of Brazil and so does not require rich soil. The plant can also be grown indoors.

    The Growing Friends Nursery should have stock of this lovely begonia at the regular monthly nursery plant sales.


    Correa pulchella 'White Tips' - July 2018 Plant of the Month

    A cultivar of the versatile and hardy Correa family.

    Flowers in Autumn and Spring with masses of pink narrow bell-like flowers with a distinct and sun catching white tip. A small and decorative shrub around 500mm x 500mm with shiny foliage. Benefits from light tip-pruning to maintain a compact shape and encourage flowers. Needs a well drained soil and is very suitable for pots

    Camellia japonica ‘Shiba Xueshi’ - August 2018 Plant of the Month

    Camellia japonica ‘Shiba Xueshi’ (syn. ‘Eighteen Scholars’) originated in China, and is a famous old variety. It is highly unusual with up to 18 medium-sized sports, ranging from semi-double to formal double, in combinations of white, rose pink and red.
    Some pots are available for sale in the Growing Friends Nursery.


    Velthemia bracteata - September 2018 Plant of the Month


    This lovely bulb has broad shiny, wavy foliage, tall heads of multiple tubular flowers in late winter, early spring followed by attractive papery seed heads.


    Keep dry in summer, propagates easily from seed.

    Clivia sp. - October 2018 Plant of the Month


    Clivia is a genus of monocot flowering plants native to southern Africa. They are from the family Amaryllidaceae. Common names are Natal lily or bush lily. They are herbaceous evergreen plants, with green, strap-like leaves. Individual flowers are more or less bell-shaped, occurring in umbels on a stalk above the foliage; colors typically range from yellow through orange to red. Many cultivars exist, some with variegated leaf patterns.


    Clivias are a versatile garden plant and will grow in most conditions including dry shade.

    There should be numbers of this plant available for sale at the Growing Friends' Spring Plant Sale

    Philadelphus ‘Natchez’ - November 2018 Plant of the Month

    Latin Name: Philadelphus x virginalis 'Natchez' 
    Common Name: Mock Orange, 'Natchez'
    Grows to around 2 metres high x 2 - 4 metres wide.
    Lightly scented, white cupped flowers.
    Does need some watering until established & prefers well drained soil.
    Benefits from a regular pruning after flowering in Spring

    Sandersonia aurantica - December 2018 Plant of the Month

    Sandersonia aurantica is a rhizomatous perennial plant genus native to South Africa and Swaziland.


    This one species bulb can be a small twiner which with support can grow to 30-50 cm. It is known as Christmas bells, golden lily of the valley or Chinese lantern lily or Chinese lantern bulb.

    Requires good free draining hummus soil. It will grow in sun to semi shade, but not excessive heat. Planted in spring, it spreads slowly, and can be kept beautifully in pots. Will die down in Winter. They are slow to start off the first few years but will pick up speed with each new season. Once they are large enough they can be divided to create more plants.