Companion Planting with Native Plants
As with any form of companion planting, doing so with native plants focuses on the idea of beneficial diversity in the garden.
Native Plant Companions can:
– Hold soil together and provide nutrients to assist the growth of other plants – Attract beneficial insects and discourage harmful ones – Naturally regulate insect populations; reduce spraying – Reduce weeds; reduce your weeding effort – Add beauty around a productive garden – Preserve native plants, birds and animals – Create a protective micro-climate for your vegie patch, your garden and your home
Plants with different nutritional needs and root depths compete less.
As well as limiting erosion and acting as a living mulch, ground-cover plants are great at trapping soil particles, nutrients and water and make them available for nearby plants. Native nitrogen-fixing ground covers include Running Postman (Kennedia prostrata), Coral Creeper (K. Coccinea) and Native Wisteria Hardenbergia comptoniana. Other colourful, effective, native ground covers include Convolvulus and Myoporum species.
A Protective micro-climate
On the other hand, some plants naturally inhibit the growth of other plants; eg. Eucalypts produce toxins that can suppress growth in nearby plants, so keep them well back from your vegie patch. Also avoid Gastrolobium species (Poison plants) if you keep a cow, goat or sheep which might stray into the vegie patch.
A protective micro-climate If your vegie patch receives too much hot summer sun or battering winds you can create protective barriers and micro-climates by clever plantings of native plants which cope with the conditions and provide shade and wind protection. A trellis or fence with native climbers can assist the micro-climate and help to make your vegie patch garden more productive.
Diversity for protection from insect pests
A diversity of plant shapes, colours and scents confuses insects. Arrange some colourful, strong-smelling native plants near and around your vegie patch as a decoy for the unwanted insect types.
Encourage predator birds, animals and insects to help protect your garden
Try various native daisies and dense habitat shrubs nearby for small birds. A pond can also attract beneficial insects, frogs, lizards and more birds.
So, again … Why Grow Natives as companions?
Plants prefer to grow much as they do in nature – mixed together. Think of any natural bush or scrub setting; a very mixed and highly successful mix.
Nature’s diversity of plants, insects, birds and other animals ensures a healthy self-sustaining system. In similar fashion you can create a healthy and diverse system in your vegie patch.
Companion planting with native plants can do wonders for a garden. Follow the normal methods to learn from experience and work out what works for your garden.
Remember, this is just a brief introduction to the topic of Companion Planting.
Another useful reference to visit is: http://www.sgaonline.org.au/companion-planting/ .
That site touches on natives and non-native plants which can be used in companion planting.