Small Shrubs, Herbs and Creepers

Small Shrubs, Herbs and Creepers

This section covers small herbaceous plants, woody steamed shrubs less than 1 meter in height and prostrate ground creeping plants.

Acacia aculeatissima - Snake wattle

0.2-0.6 m x 1-2 m

Light open sprawling shrub. Branchlets ribbed, covered in short, stiff hairs.

Yellow ball flowers, July - Sept.

Excellent for rockeries or banks.

Acaena novae-zelandiae - Bidgee Widgee

Prostrate x 1-4 m

Perennial herb. Rambling mat plant with sparse to densely hairy stems.

Adaptable, tolerating wet or dry conditions; full sun to shade.

Acaena ovina - Sheeps Burr

25-50 cm x 30 cm

Rosette ore erect tufted perennial herb. White flowers with dark purple stamens form in a spike and has green spiny burrs.

Image result for Acrotriche prostrata

Acrotriche prostrata - Trailing Ground Berry

Prostrate - 15 cm x 1-2 m

Open trailing plant, stems rooting at intervals, branchlets softly hairy.

Greenish translucent, tubular flowers.

Moist friable soil. Semi-shade to full shade.

Ideal for growing with ferns.

Acrotriche Serrulata - Honeypots

10-30 cm x 0.5-1 m

Slow-growing, dense mounding shrub.

Greenish translucent tubular flowers rich in nectar.

Most well drained soils tolerating dry periods. Semi-shade to dappled shade.

Flowers have a strong honey fragrance.

Bossiaea prostrata - Creeping Bossiaea

Prostrate x 0.5-1.5 m

Groundcover, yellow and brown pea flower.

Variable foliage.

Grows well under other plants.

Brachyscome multifida - Cut Leaf Daisy

10-40 cm x 0.2-1 m

Fast growing, suckering perennial herb forming dense spreading groundcover.

Profuse pale mauve, pink or white flowerheads. Flowers most of the year.

Moist clay soils, tolerating dryness once established; full sun to full shade.

Popular ornamental plant.

Brunonia australis - Blue Pincushions

10-35 cm x 10-15 cm

Rosette of spoon-shaped leaves and dense blue flowerheads.

Often short-lived in cultivation. Makes an excellent container plant.

Calocephalus lacteus - Milky Beauty Heads

15-50 cm x 10-30 cm

Sprawling shrub, soft grey leaves, white button flowers.

Moist soils tolerating inundation and some salinity. Full sun, semi-shade.

Calotis scabiosifolia var integrifolia - Rough Burr Daisy

Hairy perennial herb with mauve flowerheads on long stalks.


Chrysocephalum apiculatum - Common Everlasting

Prostrate - 30 cm x 1-2 m

Spreading dense shrub, terminal clusters of yellow flowers.

Well drained soils. Full sun.

An excellent rockery plant. Prune regularly.

Chrysocephalum semipapposum - Clustered Everlasting

0.3-1 m x 1-3 m

Wooly aromatic herb, golden flowers.

Variable, from moist to dry soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

Requires hard pruning of old growth.

Coronidium scorpioides - Button Everlasting

Synonyms: Helichrysum scorpioides, Helichrysum rutidolepis

20-30 cm x 20-30 cm

Spreading herb, yellow flowers. The foothills form has paler flowers and less leaves on stalk.

Moist well drained soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

An attractive rockery plant.

Craspedia variabilis - Billy Buttons

15-60 cm x 0.5-1 m

Variable tufted perennial herb, yellow flowers on long stalks.

Shallow, well drained to moist sandy to clay soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

Spectacular in flower. May be grown in containers or rockeries or used in massed plantings.

Cymbonotus preissianus - Bear's Ears

Prostrate x 10-30 cm

Hairy annual or perennial herb forming a flat rosette. Single yellow daisy flowerheads.

Dry to moist clay soils. Semi-shade to full shade. 

Desmodium gunnii - Slender tick-trefoil

20-50 cm x 20-50 cm

Slender scrambling herb which dies back to its rootstock in summer. White to yellowish pea flowers.

Well drained soils, tolerating dry periods once established. Full sun, semi-shade.

Dichondra repens - Kidney Weed

Prostrate, creeping herb, spreads to 2m.

Moist to well drained soils; semi-shade to full sun.

Alternative to grass with light foot traffic.

Gonocarpus humilis - Shade Raspwort

Prostrate - 30 cm x 30-70 cm

Semi-prostrate to bushy shrub with terminal spikes of tiny greenish-yellow flowers.

Moist soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

Grows amongst thick undergrowth.

Gonocarpus tetragynus - Common Raspwort

10-30 cm x 20-40 cm

Erect bushy herb with loose spikes of tiny pinkish-red flowers.

Moist to dry, well drained soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

Goodenia lanata - Trailing Goodenia

Prostrate x 0.5-1.5 m

Dark green foliage, yellow flowers on long stalks.

Tolerates extended dry periods once established; full sun, semi-shade.

Attractive in a container and trailing amongst other plants.

Hackelia latifolium - Forest Hounds Tongue

Synonyms: Cynoglossum latifolium, Austrocynoglossum latifolium

0.5-1.5 m x 0.5-2 m

Weak-stemmed, straggling prickly perennial.

Ovate, hairy leaves with small bluish flowers.

Moist soil in sheltered areas; semi-shade to dappled shade.

Hackelia suaveolens - Sweet Hound's-tongue

10-50 cm x 0.5-1.5 m

Basal rosette of wavy spoon-shaped leaves. Small, highly fragrant white flowers.

Moist, well drained soil. Full sun, semi-shade.

Useful for containers or on embankments. Responds well to light pruning.

Hibbertia riparia - Erect Guinea-flower

Synonym: Hibbertia stricta

30-100 cm x 60 cm

Showy plant with pale yellow flowers and dull green leaves.

Moist well drained soil, responding to summer watering. Full sun, semi-shade.

Hovea heterophylla - Common Hovea

Synonym: Hovea linearis

30-60 cm x 30 cm

Open trailing or erect plant with mauve pea flowers along the stems.

Dry well drained soil. Semi-shade to full shade.

A dainty little plant to grow amongst other plants and under eucalypts.

Hydrocotyle hirta - Hairy Pennywort

Carpeting perennial herb.

Tiny pale yellow flowers.

Round kidney-shaped leaves.

Moist soil; semi-shade to full shade.

Hypericum gramineum - Small St. John's Wort

25 cm x 5-20 cm

Erect perennial herb, stems often ridged.

Blue-green oblong leaves with orange-yellow flowers in loose clusters.

Moist soils tolerating moisture and summer dryness; full sun, semi-shade.

Kennedia prostrata - Running Postman

Prostrate x 1-2.5 m

Crinkly and hairy grey-green leaves,

Scarlet long-stemmed pea flowers.

Well drained soils; full sun, semi-shade.

Drought tolerant once established. Grows well in a hanging basket.

Lagenophora stipitata - Blue Bottle Daisy

Synonym: Lagenifera stipitata

5-25 cm high

Hairy dark green leaves with mauve flowers on stalks.

Adaptable to moist well drained soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

Lagenophora sublyrata - Slender Bottle Daisy

Synonyms: Lagenifera gracilis, Lagenophora gracilis

To 25 cm x 8 cm

Basal rosette of dark green leaves with small mauve or white flowers on stalks.

Well drained soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

Suitable for containers.

Leptorhynchos tenuifolius - Wiry Buttons

10-30 cm x 30 cm

Wiry, branched perennial with single yellow flowers held erect.

Prefers well drained situations but tolerates some moisture. Full sun, semi-shade.

Linum marginale - Native Flax

30-80 cm x 30 cm

Slender erect bluish perennial herb.

Open, clear blue flowers.

Ascending, narrow leaves.

Moist well drained soils; full sun, semi-shade.

Cut back hard in late autumn to encourage new growth.

Lobelia anceps - Angled Lobelia

Synonym: Lobelia alata

Prostrate - 30 cm high

Suckering, erect to spreading perennial herb. Small, pale blue, fan-shaped flowers.

Seasonally moist soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

Suitable for a bog garden.

Lobelia pendunculata - Matted Pratia

Prostrate x 2-3 m

Dense matting plant with fine stems. masses of starry to fan-shaped blue or white with bluish tinges flowers.

Permanently moist but not waterlogged soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

A most attractive suckering plant flowering well in full sun provided it is kept moist.

Microseris lanceolata - Yam Daisy

15-50 cm x 15-25 cm

Tufted perennial herb regenerating annually from fleshy, branched or turnip shaped tuberous root.

Long toothed leaves with a single bright yellow daisy flowerhead.

Moist to well drained soils. Seli-shade.

Tuberous rootstock was a staple part of the Aboriginal diet.

Microtis unifolia - Common Onion-orchid

15-90 cm high

Dense spike of several pale to golden-green erect flowers.

Moist to dry soils, well-drained rocky situations; full sun, semi-shade.

May form extensive colonies.

Olearia myrsinoides - Silky Daisy Bush

0.3-1 m x 1-1.5 m

Open, spreading shrub, white flowers.

Well drained and rocky soils tolerating extended dry periods once established. Semi-shade.

Pelargonium australe - Austral Storks Bill

30-60 cm x 0.3-1 m

Soft, perennial herb forming a clump.

Aromatic rounded leaves with clusters of white or pink flowers.

Well drained soils, often on ricky outcrops, tolerating dryness once established; full sun, semi-shade.

Useful rockery plant.

Pelargonium littorale - Coast StorksBill

20-40 cm x 0.3-1 m

Erect perennial herb with long stalked clusters of pink flowers.

Well drained soils; full sun, semi-shade.

An attractive plant for small gardens and containers.

Pimelea curviflora - Curved Rice-flower

15-50 cm x 10-50 cm

Dull green, curved leaves with yellow-green flowers.

A variable species. Possibly toxic to stock.

Pimelea humilis - Common Rice-flower

10-30 cm x 0.3-1 m

Erect or straggling small shrub with dense creamy-white flowerheads.

Moist to dryish well drained soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

Can be planted under established trees.

Plantago debilis - Slender or Shade Plantain

Tuft 3-25 cm high.

Rosetted perennial herb with slender spikes of pale green flowers.

Moist to well drained loamy soil. Semi-shade.

Plantago varia - Variable Plantain

10-20 cm x 15-30 cm

Rosetted perennial herb with dense spikes of brown flowers on stalks.

Well drained dryish soils. Full sun, semi-shade.

Platylobium infecundum - Famine Flat-pea

Separated from Platylobium formosum

Prostrate x 1-2 m

Spreading suckering shrub.

Heart-shaped leaves with large yellow & red pea flowers.

Moist to well drained soil. Semi-shade.

Platylobium obtusangulum - Common Flat-pea

0.6-1 m x 0.6-1.8 m

Spreading, clumping or arching shrub.

Triangular leaves with sharp points. Flowers yellow with red central markings.

Prefers drier well drained soils. Semi-shade.

Pterostylis curta - Blunt Greenhood

10-30 cm high

Rosette of ovate or oblong leaves. Single erect green and white striped flower.

Moist to well drained soils. Semi-shade to full shade.

An easily grown free flowering plant that forms vast flowering colonies. 

Pterostylis pendunculata - Maroon Hood

To 25 cm high 

Rosette of long-stalked, prominently veined ovate to oblong green leaves. Single erect green and white flower. Tip of maroon.

Moist soil from sand to clay. Semi-shade to full sun.

Forms small dense colonies beneath low shrubs and grasses or protected by tree trunks.

Pultenaea hispidula - Rusty Bush-pea

0.3-1 m x 0.5-2 m

Graceful pendulous shrub with single yellow flowers.

Well drained moist soil. Semi-shade.

A graceful small shrub. An attractive addition to the garden.

Pultenaea pedunculata - Matted Bush-Pea

Prostrate x 1-3 m

Densely matted plant with yellow & red flowers.

Well drained soils, tolerating dry periods once established. Full sun, semi-shade.

An excellent groundcover. Useful for soil-binding and cascading over rockeries and retaining walls.

Ranuculus lappaceus - Austral Buttercup

10-60 cm x 30-60 cm

Soft, sparsely to densely hairy, tufted perennial herb, long spreading hairs on lower stem.

Singles or pairs of golden flowers on long, erect stalks.

Moist but not stagnant soils; full sun, semi-shade.

A bright, easy to grow herb for permanently moist areas.

Ranuculus plebeius - Forest Buttercup

10-40 cm x 20-60 cm

Tufted perennial herb covered with flattened or spreading hairs. Shiny yellow flowers.

Semi-shade to full shade.

Sambucus gaudichaudiana - Native Elderberry

0.6-1 m x 0.5-1.5 m

Upright perennial herb with waxy, white fragrant flowers.

Moist well drained soil. Semi- shade to full shade.

A bright shrub for a shady moist area. Aborigines ate the berries.

Senecio quadridentatus - Cotton Fireweed

0.4-1 m x 0.5-1 m

Erect perennial herb with stems and leaves covered with cottony hairs.

Very adaptable to most soils except waterlogged conditions. Full sun, semi-shade.

Solenogyne gunnii - Hairy Solenogyne

Rosette of dull green leaves with erect flowering stalks with single , terminal, greenish flowerheads.

Prefers moist, shaded positions in poor soils.

Sphaerolobium minus - Eastern Globe-pea

20-60 cm x 20-50 cm

Leafless plant with spikes of yellow pea flowers.

An attractive rockery plant. Rarely seen around Melbourne.

Sphaerolobium vimineum - Leafless Globe-pea

0.3-1 m x 0.3-1 m

The wings of the pea flower are longer than the keel, and the bracteoles are green.

Full sun, semi-shade.

Stylidium armeria - Thrift-leaved Triggerplant

0.2-1 m x 20-40 cm

Small tufted perennial herb, with pink flowers.

Moist well drained soils, tolerating dryish periods once established. Full sun, semi-shade.

An excellent rockery or container plant.

Stylidium graminifolium - Grass Trigger Plant

20-75 m x 10-50 cm

Small tufted perennial herb, with pink flowers.

Moderately well drained sandy or gravelly soil. Full sun, semi-shade.

Tetratheca ciliata - Pink Bells

0.3-1 m x 0.3-1 m

An erect clumping shrub with fragrant mauve to white flowers.

Prefers morning sun. Attractive in flower, it can be grown in containers or rockeries.

Veronica gracilis - Slender Speedwell

15-30 cm x 1 m

Slender, erect herb with pale mauve cup flowers.

Moist, well drained and seasonally wet soils. Full sun to full shade.

Veronica plebeia - Creeping Speedwell

Prostrate - 30 cm x 1-2 m

Attractive ground cover in shady gardens, lavender flowers.

Moist well drained soils; full sun to full shade.

Spreads readily in ideal conditions, and makes an attractive groundcover in shaded gardens.

Viola betonicifolia - Mountain Violet

15-30 cm x 15-40 cm

Erect tufted perennial herb.

Basal rosette of dark green leaves.

Large purplish-blue to purple flowers with golden-yellow centres.

Moist to dryish well drained soil; semi-shade to full shade.

Viola hederacea - Native Violet

10-15 cm x spreading.

Tufted stoloniferous herb forming a dense mat.

Single violet flowers.

Dryish to moist soils; full sun to full shade.

A prolific grower once established.

Wahlenbergia capillaris - Tufted Bluebell

15-50 cm x 15 cm

Vigorous erect, branching perennial herb.

Pale to bright blue flowers on long stalks.

Moist well drained soils; full sun.

Wahlenbergia gracilis - Sprawling Bluebell

10-60 cm x 0.3-1 m

Sprawling annual or perennial herb.

Soft blue bell-shaped flowers.

Full sun; semi-shade.

Spreads readily in garden.

Wahlenbergia stricta - Tall Bluebell

20-50 cm x 30-40 cm

Erect, clumping herb.

Pale blue or white flowers.

Well drained soils; full sun, semi-shade.

Xanthosia dissecta var. dissecta - Cut-leaf Xanthosia

5-10 cm x 20-30 cm

Spreading perennial herb. Tiny green or reddish flowers.


Xerochrysum viscosum - Sticky everlasting

Synonym: Bracteantha viscosa

20-90 cm x 0.3-1 m

Much branched sticky herb with showy bright yellow flowers.

Well drained soils. Full sun.

Prune to encourage bushiness.