Local native plants, natural resource management, community education and sustainable eco-gardening
Native grasses and drought-tolerant gardens

Native grasses and drought-tolerant gardens

Until recently the use of Australian native grasses in the domestic garden and by the landscape industry has been mainly overlooked. The use of Australian native grasses in revegetation and land management is still also in its infancy despite our increasing recognition of the value of using native grasses and understorey species.

With global warming and the possibility of uncertain rainfall in many regions of Australia in the future, there is an increasing need to conserve water. The selection of plants for gardens and lawns, and for revegetation will increasingly be based on drought tolerance criteria.

Australian native plants are already adapted to the climatic conditions and will survive periodic drought. Many of our Australian native grasses, in particular, are drought hardy plants. Grasses are also an important part of the ecosystem as they are often the initial colonisers. They help to bind and stabilise the soil, are a source of humus and provide habitat for animals, birds, reptiles and insects.

The following list of local native grasses and clumping plants could form the basic foundation of a drought-tolerant garden and revegetation project in the Lower Hunter region.


  • Austrodanthonia fulva Wallaby Grass An erect grass to 50cm tall with tawny flower spikes
  • Cymbopogan refractus Barbed Wire Grass Hardy tufted grass with tall wiry stems
  • Dichelachne micrantha Short-Haired Plume Grass Slender grass to 50cm with dense plume-like panicle
  • Echinopogon caespitosus Hedgehog Grass A slender erect grass 50-80cm with a short, dense, bristly flower head
  • Eragrostis brownii Love Grass Hardy ascending or sprawling grass to 30cm
  • Poa affinis Coastal Tussock Grass Hardy tussock grass with more or less open panicle to 75cm
  • Poa labillardieri Common Tussock Grass A dense, hardy tussock grass with panicle 60-90cm tall
  • Themeda australis Kangaroo Grass Common tufted grass with copper –purple flower spikelets to 1m

Clumps & groundcovers

  • Chrysocephalum apiculatum Yellow Buttons An erect perennial herb to 50cm with dense grey felt-like hairs on the stem and leaves and with yellow flowers
  • Dianella caerulea Blue Flax Lily Clumping perennial to 60cm with blue flowers and blue fruit
  • Dichondra repens Kidney Weed Low creeping herb with kidney shaped leaves
  • Lomandra longifolia Spiny-headed Mat Rush Hardy clumping perennial 50-75cm tall found in various situation but often on creek banks
  • Hardenbergia violacea Purple Twining Pea Twinning plant with purple flowers