Best plants for Brisbane’s subtropical climate

Brisbane is known for its lovely days of sunshine which makes for a pleasant gardening experience. Our attractive subtropical climate means we experience a dry spring, so it is important we choose native plants to suit the climate.

Once established, these plants require minimal supplementary watering, and are best suited for low maintenance gardening.

Many of these plants (listed below) are naturally found in tropical and subtropical areas, and don’t spread and become weedy.

Need help at your next nursery trip? See below our top picks suitable for Brisbane conditions.

Native groundcovers, grasses and vines

  • Forest Daisies Brachyscome spp.
  • Flax Lillies Dianella spp.
  • Native Violet Viola banksii
  • Rasp Fern Doodia aspera
  • Bower of Beauty Pandorea jasminoides

Native low shrubs – 1-2 metres

  • Midyim Berry Austromyrtus dulcis
  • Coastal Rosemary Westringia fruticosa
  • Melaleuca ‘Claret Tops’
  • Syzygium ‘Aussie Boomer’

Native medium shrubs – 2-5 metres

  • Golden Candlesticks Banksia spinulosa
  • Bottlebrushes Melaleuca (Callistemon) spp.
  • Butterfly Bush Pavetta australiensis

Small trees – 5-8 metres

  • Tuckeroo Cupaniopsis anacardioides
  • Brown Gardenia, Native Gardenia Atractocarpus fitzalanii
  • Golden penda Xanthostemon chrysanthus
  • Ivory Curl Flower Buckinghamia celsissima

Tall trees – over 8 metres

  • Hoop Pine Araucaria cunninghamii
  • Flame Tree Brachychiton acerifolius
  • Weeping Lillypilly Waterhousea floribunda
  • Wheel of Fire Stenocarpus sinuatus

Want free native plants?

We're helping residents to cultivate their yards, balconies and courtyards by offering free native plants to all Brisbane City Council residential ratepayers, as well as schools and community groups.

More than 52,000 free native plants were provided to the community in 2018-19, demonstrating our city’s dedication to planting the town green.

The Free Native Plants program offers everything from ground covers and tufting plants, small shrubs like bottlebrush and honey myrtle, all the way up to tulipwood trees and weeping lillypillies, so there is something for everyone no matter the size of your patch.

Find out how to access free plants today.

Related links

*This post was edited on Friday 1 November to remove information about Arbor Day.

Date posted:
Last updated: 1 November 2019
Topics: green

Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.