Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld


Flowering Perennials

In botany, the term "perennial" is generally used for the category of plants that live for more than one year, in contrast to annuals which complete their life cycle and die withing a year or biennials that mature, set seed and die in a two-year cycle.

In horticulture, "perennial" is usually applied to flowers other than annuals/biennials that are not woody or only only somewhat woody (versus true trees and shrubs which are technically perennial too). Examples are salvias, chrysanthemums and gerberas. It's a loose term whch might also include bulbous plants, ornamental grasses and sub-shrubs, which are comparable in their decorative uses in the garden.

Perennials are often associated with traditional, flowery English-style or cottage gardens. Consequently, many perennials you'll see in gardening books are unsuitable for most of Queensland. Unless you live in more temperate areas like Toowoomba and Granite belt, success here starts with selection of types suitable for tropical conditions. Be sure to check suitability for your climate when ordering perennials from suppliers based in the southern states.

Some of the more flamboyant perennials can also be used in tropical garden designs.

Get Results Gardening is a newsletter-style, mini-magazine for Australians, with an emphasis on the South East Queensland. It covers easy to grow perennials and other plants suitable for this regions, plus basic gardening information, trends and design concepts that will be of interest to home owners across the country. Get a three month trial for free and without obligation with a simple email request and learn more about other plants suitable for the subtropics. More information at


Queensland Peony Breakthrough

Growing peonies in the subtropics was never a practical proposition before, but breakthrough research at the University of the Sunshine Coast means that peonies could soon become a valuable cut flower crop in Queensland. Biologist Krista Bogiatzis began working on the problem at USC in 2015 and has now determined the exact combination of temperature and growing conditions to get them to bloom in the subtropics. What's more, they can be timed to take advantage of high-demand and under-supplied periods in other regions. For the local market, Queensland-grown flowers avoids the risks, costs and quality issues associated with importation of live product. (September 2019)


These groups are covered on separate pages:
Other Daisies (Argyranthemum, Gazania, Aster, Chrysanthemum, Osteospermum, Dahlia, Zinnia and others
Hemerocallis (Daylily)
Pelargoniums (Geraniums)


Agastache can provide garden color, fragrance Mississippi State University, USA


Alstroemeria Advice for professional growers from Western Australia Department of Agriculture (PDF)
Alstroemeria aurantiaca "Lily of the Incas" The Florez Nursery blog, NSW


Throw up spikes of small flowers in white, pink and purple shades. Described as an annual in some publications as they are a warm-climate plants that will not survice frost.
Angelonia or Summer Snapdragon PlantAnswers, Texas
Try the "Summer Snapdragon" for great summer color Charlotte County Cooperative Extension Service, Florida (PDF)
Angelonia Cornell University
Angelonia Biflora post at Typicalgardener's Blog, Malaysia
angelonia angelonia angelonia
angelonia angelonia

Dianthus and Carnation

Dianthus University of Florida
Dianthus, the “Divine Flower” University of California
Maiden Pink Dianthus deltoides University of Illinois
University of Illinois
Border Pinks Cornell University
Maiden Pink Cornell University
The Biology and Ecology of Dianthus caryophyllus L. (Carnation) (extensive literature review of the species and it's relatives) Office of the Gene Techology Regulator, Australian Govt (PDF)
Standard and spray carnations Department of Agriculture Western Australia (PDF)
Plant Captures Hearts Months After Bloom (Bath's Pink dianthus) Mississippi State University
Dianthus barbatus University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
Amazon Pinks Hybridisation of D. barbatus with D. chinensis). University of Arkansas


Gaura Gaura Gaura
Gaura Gaura Gaura
Gaura Gaura Gaura


Some years ago, A. brasiliana (A. dentata) became popular for dwarf hedges, the red-purple colour contrasting well against the gold duranta it was often planted in front of. However, this is very vigorous and weedy and cannot be recommended. However, compact cultivars like 'LRU30' (sold in Australia as Little Ruby™) could redeem this species. It is not yet known how weedy it is, but it will be a lot easier to keep neat.

Alternanthera brasiliana syn dentata Alternanthera brasiliana syn dentata
'Rubiginosa', the old, weedy type of A. brasiliana (A. dentata)
Alternanthera brasiliana syn dentata Alternanthera brasiliana syn dentata Alternanthera brasiliana syn dentata
Alternanthera brasiliana syn dentata Alternanthera brasiliana syn dentata
Compact variety of Alternanthera brasiliana, probably 'LRU30'
Alternanthera brasiliana syn dentata
Variegated variety of Alternanthera brasiliana, possibly 'Island Sunset'
 Alternanthera brasiliana syn dentata Alternanthera brasiliana syn dentata
Variegated variety of Alternanthera brasiliana, possibly 'Brazilian Red'


Also known as lions ear or lions tail. Whorls of flowers borne on tall stems 2m or more high. The most common colour is orange but there is also a white form white might be preferable for some garden designs. Useful for a adding a strong vertical element.
Lion's Ear Leonotis leonurus. Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Leonotis leonurus Botany Photo of the Day, University of British Columbia Botanical Garden & Centre for Plant Research
Lion's Ear (Leonotis leonurus) Washington State University
Leonotus leonorus, Lion's ear The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Lion's EarLeonotis leonurus Whatcom County Extension, Washington State University


Sold by one distributor in Australia under the name Little Boy Blue®. Sub-shrub with bright blue flowers.
Otacanthus caeruleus Amazon Blue, Brazilian Snapdragon. Flowers of India
Outstanding Otacanthus Caeruleus post at Typicalgardener's Blog, Malaysia


Scutellaria incana Missouri Botanical Garden
Senecio cineraria (Dusty miller) Missouri Botanical Garden
Santolina rosmarinifolia subsp. rosmarinifolia "Botany Photo of the Day", University of British Columbia Botanical Garden & Centre for Plant Research
Heliotropium arborescens,Cherry Pie The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens or peruvianum) Washington State University
Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia University of Wisconsin-Extension Master Gardener Program
Artemisia Kentucky Garden Flowers, University of Kentucky
Include gray-leafed plants in '05 gardens Mississippi State University
Phlox Notes on history and naming. Parker County Master Gardener Association, Texas (PDF)

More Online Information

The following links are for general information, research and ideas - some species or cultivars referred to in overseas publications may be unavailable in Australia or unsuitable for Queensland conditions


Redefining perennials for use in Florida Reproduction of a 1997 article from the Florida State Horticultural Society (PDF)
Exceptional Flowering Perennials for Central Florida Reproduction of a 1989 article, Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society (PDF)
Perennial Bedding Plants for Hawaii University of Hawaii at Manoa (PDF)
Flower Bed: Perennials Arizona Master Gardener Manual, University of Arizona

General Care

Perennials - Tips for the Home Gardener Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania (PDF)
Deadheading Washington State University Clark County Extension
Mid-summer care of ornamental plantings Perry's Perennial Pages, University of Vermont


Dividing Perennials Clemson University, South Carolina
Dividing Perennials Penn State University
Dividing perennials University of Minnesota
Perennials: How to Dig and Divide! Oregon State University (PDF)


Perennials: staking Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Staking Perennials Iowa State University
Cures for floppy perennials Kansas State University

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