Choosing the right native species for your planting project

In this article we touch on weather events such as droughts and floods and learn the best tips for mitigating their impact on your natives. We can’t control the weather, but we can control what species we plant where to ensure the best outcome.

Choosing the right species

Consider the following when choosing what to plant in an area:

  • North or south facing
  • Flood prone or dry
  • Steep or flat
  • Soil conditions (clay, sandy, peat)

You don’t order your fertiliser from a generic menu, you tailor it to what your farm needs. The same goes for planting natives, tailor your mix to your site and you will have great success. Get advice from experts in the field. Talk to your local nursery or search online for what to plant in your area.



To avoid losing plants in floods, determine how your waterway behaves in low, medium and full flows and at different times in winter. Avoid planting in the flood path as this can slow down the flow of water, increasing the risk of floods. Use plants that are well rooted and can survive many days under water.

Suitable plants for flood zones:

  • Grasses and sedges such as pukio and toetoe


Steep terrain and dry areas

Steep sidelings are prone to drying out in summer. Plant a simple mix of species that are hardy with good root systems. Diversity can be added later once shade has been created from previous plantings.

Suitable species for drier areas:

  • akeake (fast growing and hardy)
  • koromiko (fast growing and hardy)
  • ribbonwood (fast growing and hardy)
  • kanuka (fast growing and hardy)
  • manuka (fast growing and hardy)
  • kohuhu (fast growing and hardy)
  • larger totara (open dry hillsides in full sun)
  • rewarewa (open dry hillsides in full sun)


Soil conditions

Know your soils in the area you want to plant. Streambanks can dry out in summer and need dry and flood tolerant species. Clay soils can become waterlogged in winter and dry out in summer.

Suitable species for stream banks:

  • toetoe
  • harakeke

(Be mindful that harakeke has a shallow root system and can pose a flood risk if planted too close to stream banks.)

Suitable species for waterlogged soils:

  • mingimingi
  • harakeke
  • manuka
  • cabbage tree

Suitable species for clay soils:

  • manuka
  • mahoe
  • mingimingi

We hope this gives you some insight into what to plant where. Whatever planting project you’re planning on doing this winter, make sure you have a plan and get advice if you come unstuck.

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