I’m trying to
identify this tree. Can you help me?
This is the New Zealand Christmas tree (Metrosideros
excelsa). This tree would have started off as a
variegated form (remnants of variegated foliage remain),
but over the years, it has reverted back to the stronger
growing, plain green form.
My friend gave
me this plant as a cutting and to my surprise, I managed
to get it to grow (I am a novice gardener). It must be
hardy. Can you please tell me what it is called?
This delightful plant is Dichondra Silver Falls. It is
very popular and can be found in most nurseries. It is a
terrific plant for hanging baskets on balconies and
verandahs. Try combining mini petunias (Calibrachoa) and
the stunning grey foliage of your dichondra in the one
We have this plant
in our garden and we are wondering what type is it as we
want to know how to keep it a reasonable size.
This is Polyscias fruticosa. I have several in my
garden. It comes in lots of different leaf forms and is
very hardy. I like to keep mine to under 2m by pruning.
Just cut tall stems back to where you want it to branch.
It is a perfectly well-behaved plant for gardens or
I planted a pot of lemon grass. It
has grown really tall and is now producing seeds that
are germinating everywhere. It looks nothing like lemon
grass I have grown in the past. Are there different
types? Where can I get the more manageable, non-seeding
type that I prefer for cooking?
The lemon grass sold in pots in nurseries is typically
East Indian lemon grass (Cympogonon flexuosus). It is
often too large and weedy for small gardens. The lemon
grass you buy is the smaller, non-seeding West Indian
lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus). To grow this type,
buy fresh stalks from the supermarket or fruiter and
This plant has appeared in my
garden. It is a climber with maroon flowers. Can you
tell me what it is? I am a bit worried as it seems quite
vigorous, but I do like the flower colour. Is it a
This creeping vine is siratro (Macroptilium
atropurpureum). It is an exotic, climbing legume planted
for farm grazing. Regrettably, it has escaped to
bushland and gardens. It is very vigorous and known to
completely engulf shrubs and trees. Remove it before it
forms long narrow seed pods.
Can you please identify the actual
name of the dragon tree that sits at the front of my
property. What is the pineapple looking object that has
sprouted and sits proudly overhanging the grass public
pathway? Is it a fruit if some sort?
Barry of Rothwell
What you call a dragon tree is actually a native
pandanus or screw pine (most likely Pandanus tectorius).
The pineapple-like structure is a fruit, but I would not
recommend trying to eat it. If you are concerned about
the danger to people using the grass pathway, the fruit
should be removed.
My daughter and family have just
returned from a trip to Israel to visit family there and
are raving about the pummelo fruit they had whilst
there. They would like to try and grow one. Can you tell
me where we could buy a tree suitable to plant here?
Wilf Sunshine Coast
Pummelo (Citrus maxima) are also known as pomello or
pamplemousse and grow well in SE Queensland. They are
not popular as a home garden tree and this limits their
supply. Ask your local nursery to order a grafted tree
for you. Pummelo varieties include Bosworth Pink,
Bosworth Red, Carter’s Red, Nam Roi and Tahiti.
Our neighbours' shed is literally covered in cats claw
creeper. They love it - and it looks stunning when it is in bloom - but do you
have any suggestions on how I can stop the seeds from blowing into our 16
perches and taking root?
What a nightmare! Perhaps you can encourage your neighbour's to reconsider and
remove the invasive environmental weed. Unfortunately, only complete removal
will prevent seeding. The extensive system of underground tubers must be
physically removed and regrowth continually removed. Check out government
recommended control options at: https://www.daf.qld.gov.au
I saw these croc egg plums at Woolworths recently. I grow
tropical plums at home (Gulf Ruby and Gulf Gold), so wondered if I could
possibly grow these as well.
Michael of Tamborine
Croc eggs are another wonderful product from our Australian stone fruit growers.
Developing new varieties like this takes significant amounts of time, research
and money, so typically plants of such patented varieties are not available for
gardeners to grow at home.
I love to grow this tropical climbing spinach, but
lately it has developed ugly spots on the leaves. What
can I do?
John of Noosa
Your spinach is known as Ceylon or Malabar spinach (Basella
rubra). It is a prolific grower in warm, humid
conditions. If the foliage remains wet as evening
temperatures drop, it suffers from bacterial leaf
disease. Remove the affected leaves and avoid watering
late in the day. If you live where winter is cold it
will die completely. In warmer coastal areas it survives
I bought these fabulous little
avocado fruit from my local fruit shop. They have
virtually no seed and are the perfect size for a single
serve. Can you tell me what variety they are and if they
will grow in Brisbane?
Meredith of Warner
These are commonly known as cocktails or cukes. Rather
than being a variety, they occur spontaneously when
temperatures at flowering and fruit set are extremely
cold or abnormally hot. The Fuerte variety is
particularly susceptible to temperature extremes and
most commonly forms cukes, but it can occur on other
I bought these grapes recently.
They are sweet, seedless and so unusual – long, black
and as thick as your thumb. Can you tell me anything
Grace of Kedron
You mystery grapes are Sweet Sapphire, an American
variety bred by renowned Californian table grape
breeder, David Cane. They are grown by grape producers
in several Australian states including Queensland, but
are only available for a very short season early in the
year. They are in high demand for export to Asia.
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Poem by Annette
to find the name of a shrub the height of a low picket fence which grows most
happily in an open, protected sunny spot in New Farm and which seems to have an
extended flowering season.
Denise of New Farm
This shrub is the mock gardenia or crepe jasmine (Tabernaemontana
divaricata). It looks like a gardenia, but has no perfume. There are lots of
different flower forms (single, double, ruffled blooms etc). This plant has
recently been in the news in regard to its potential as a medicine for pain
This pretty little flower came up in my garden. I am
sure I never planted it. Can you tell me what it is?
Edwina of Logan.
How wonderful! This is a native shepherd’s crook or pink
nodding orchid (Geodorum densiflorum. It was once common
in bushland, but is now rarely seen. It is a real
treasure that remains dormant for much of the year and
emerges to flower in summer.
I have recently
cut down a curry leaf tree as so many were popping up
from the roots. Now it is removed and the stump ground,
new trees continue to sprout from the extensive root
system. Do you know how I can finally get rid of it?
Digging out the roots is a full time, unending job.
Suckers of curry trees (Murraya koenigii) will continue
to sprout from stored nutrients in the roots. Control
options include: digging out all roots; covering the
area with builder’s plastic or tin in an attempt to
exclude light; or pruning and immediately (within 10
seconds) dabbing the fresh cut with glyphosate
herbicide. Always grow curry trees in pots.
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