Breathe Magic Into Your Rainforest Garden
There is one rainforest plant from northern Australia every coastal garden should grow: Phaleria clerodendron, the scented daphne. This compact tree can be grown in a coastal garden at least as far south as Sydney and it will fill a garden with fragrant flowers up to three times as year. Endemic to far northern Queensland and the NT, unless Australians discover and grow this magical plant, who else will?
In the wild, Phaleria grows a metre a year under a tree canopy. If you want to grow one, find a spot with dappled shade which is either moist or can be watered during drought. You can look forward to Phaleria flowering three times a year, say gardeners Barb and Rex Wickes who planted the specimen illustrated. Their tree has grown to around 8 metre tall and 6 metres wide, and it was a major drawcard at their garden’s final open day last weekend.
The fruit only fully ripen bright red once they hit the ground. Seed does not store well and should be sown fresh. In the wild, they attract seed vectors such as the cassowary, those great rainforest gardeners of the wet tropics. This species is one which I will be advocating gardeners make more use of the Mission Beach Community Cassowary Festival 2019.
Director, Seed Savers’ Network
Patron, National Toxics Network
8th April 2019