Choosing Plants

Our program has a focus on indigenous plants but that doesn’t mean that other plants are not good to have in the garden too. Indigenous plants mix well with exotics and attract more local wildlife such as butterflies and native pollinators.

All plants contribute something to a wildlife garden so don’t worry if you like roses and rhododendrons, you don’t have to rip them out, consider adding some indigenous (local) plants as well. When choosing a plant ask yourself what wildlife will it bring to the garden? See links to suggested plants below. Sometimes it is hard to track down indigenous plants but the more requests there are the more chance nurseries will try and stock them.

The terms indigenous, native, exotic, may be confusing, the photos below give a simple explanation on what the terms generally mean. Some plants exotic and Australian natives, may also be considered weeds in certain situations.

indigenous - is a plant that is naturally occurring in a local area

(Prickly Moses, Acacia verticillata)

native (Australian native) - could be from any area in Victoria or wider Australia

(Banksia blechnifolia)

exotic - plants that are native to other countries


weeds – plants growing in the wrong place, listed as noxious or environmental weeds. Some native plants may become environmental weeds. (Billardiera fusiformis Bluebell Creeper)

We highlight the use of indigenous plants for several reasons:

  • They grow well in our local soils and have adapted to our climate

  • Indigenous and support a range of local butterflies, birds and insects etc.

  • Some local wildlife and insects prefer indigenous plants and many plants have adapted to being pollinated by local insects

  • Many local plants are disappearing from our local area as the size of the city of Ballarat grows.

  • Growing more local plants preserves and enhances natural genetic diversity

  • We can make a big difference by including a few local native plants in our gardens

  • Helps to restore a wider diversity of species to remaining original flora

Find a handy list of local species with photos here - Indigenous Plants for Ballarat Gardens

Check our quick pick list - link

or check our bigger list - link

Chrysocephalum apiculatum

Common Everlasting


Dianella revoluta

Black-anthered Flax-lily

clumping plant

Kennedia prostrata

Running Postman


Myroporum parvifolium

Creeping Boobialla


Where to access local plants

Ballarat Wild Plants is one of the few nurseries that specialises in indigenous plants but the many of the other nurseries do have a range of native plants, see the list below.

As it is difficult to find local plants there are many advantages in learning how to grow your own plants from seeds or cuttings. Local seed may be purchased from Seeding Victoria

Joining a local landcare or friends group is an enjoyable way to learn more about local plants and how to grow them Find a Landcare Group

The Australian Plants Society Ballarat, garden clubs, landcare groups and community houses sometimes run workshops on propagation of native plants or look at Gardening Australia has a range of fact sheets and videos

Pultenea pedunculata

Matted Bush-pea


Indigofera australis

Austral Indigo


Pelargonium australe

Austral Stork's-bill

small perennial

Dodonea viscosa


large shrub

Before you buy

It is reasonably easy and fun to go to a nursery and buy plants. Aside from the soil type, position and whether you want a tree or shrub, there are some other things to consider when buying plants, to ensure the plants you get will attract more wildlife to a garden:

  • While big showy grevilleas are beautiful, go for smaller flowered ones as the larger flowered ones attract the bigger more aggressive honeyeaters.

  • Have a balance of flower colours, too many red ones seem to attract bigger honeyeaters which scare away smaller birds.

  • What many gardens are missing are smaller birds, so look for plants that are prickly to provide shelter and have flowers inside the bush.

  • Ensure you have plants flowering in all months of the year so there is a constant source of food for wildlife. Visit a nursery in winter to see what is in flower.

  • Choose open flowered species rather than double frilly hybrid ones, which are more difficult for insects to access

  • Choose plants in smaller size pots rather than larger advanced plants, not only is it cheaper but there is less chance of the roots being tangled. This is most important with eucalypts as they are fast growing. If they are not re-potted in a timely manner their roots will take on the shape of the pot and not go on to develop a strong spreading root system that will survive in the wind.

  • Check the root system to make sure the plant is not pot bound. Don't be afraid to trim a few roots if the roots are matted at the bottom of the pot.

  • Ask the nursery person about the plant’s likelihood to be a weed. A link to an article about plants including wattles that may become weeds

  • Avoid exotic plants like ivy, cotoneaster and the native Bluebell Creeper that have berries, as birds will spread them into the local bushland

Have a go at growing your own plants from seed

Germinating seeds

Keep a record of what you plant so you know what has been successful

Plants ready to go into the ground

Local Nurseries

There is a range of nurseries in the wider Ballarat area and we love to hear about new ones to add to our list.

Avalon Nursery 41 Kopkes Road, Haddon 53424519 Facebook link

Ballarat Wild Plants 435 Joseph Street, Canadian by appointment 0409 388 014

Birdsong Nursery & Gardens 9 Baglin Street, Smythesdale Facebook link

Bonshaw 0417 531 985 by messenger via Facebook link (occasionally advertises native plants for sale via Facebook)

Formosa Gardens 104 Leith Street, Ballarat 53356454 Facebook link

Navigators 410 Navigators Road Navigators, 0421 935 017 Closes during winter Facebook

Spot on Pots and Nursery 13-15 Wallis Street Delacombe, 53355368 Facebook link

Try growing plants in containers

Containers add another planting opportunity

Try growing plants from cuttings

A box full of cuttings

Take time to enjoy our local area and visit different places to see how our indigenous plants grow

  • Ballarat Botanic Gardens ( indigenous section)

  • Black Hill Reserve, Chisholm Street, Black hill

  • Ditchfield Bushland Reserve

  • Kirks Reservoir Park, Brown Hill

  • Lake Esmond, Larter Street, Canadian

  • Lake Wendouree, Wendouree

  • Macarthur Park Wetlands, Miner’s rest

  • Monte Cristo Bushland Reserve, Nerrina

  • Mullawallah Wetlands, Lucus

  • Nerrina Wetland, Nerrina

  • North Gardens Wetland, Wendouree

  • Pauls Wetland, Wendouree

  • Prior Park, Eureka Street

  • Sparrow Ground, Spencer Street, Canadian

  • Union Jack Reserve, Buninyong

  • Victoria Park, Gillies or Russell Street, Newington

  • Wallaby Track, Yarrowee Trail

  • Woowookarung Regional Park, Canadian

  • Gong Gong Reservoir, Brown Hill