Sustainable Organic Gardening

No phos for us!

Red Banksia

There’s a popular garden myth that states that native plants don’t like fertiliser. That’s really not true – most plants will benefit from fertiliser, there are just a few types of natives that don’t like being hit with a large amount of some nutrients, phosphorous in particular.


These plants – including Grevillea, Banksia, Casuarina, Protea and Hakea – have in common ‘proteoid’ or ‘cluster’ roots. These roots are very fibrous, giving a massive surface area to the roots; they evolved to allow the plants to make use of the very low levels of phosphorous and other nutrients in Australia’s old and weathered soil. Unfortunately, this adaptation also makes them prone to phosphorous toxicity which can be fatal. A slow-release fertiliser that is low in phosphorous is suitable for these native plants.

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