Black-eyed Susan



Australian native plants are perfect for our gardens. This little beauty is known as Black-eyed Susan with its pretty small, white, bell-shaped flowers, Judith Sleijpen explains.

Growing to a height of about 40 centimetres and spreading up to 60 centimetres wide, Black-eyed Susan (Tetratheca thymifolia ‘Fairy Bells Snow’), is a neat, compact perennial. From late winter it displays bright, bell-shaped flowers with a central black eye from which it takes its common name. 

This Australian native plant grows well in most soils that are free draining. It has low water requirements, once established, but benefits from regular watering during extended periods of heat. It blends well with other plants in mixed garden borders, rockeries and gravel gardens.

In a decorative container in premium-grade potting mix suitable for Australian native plants, Black-eyed Susan adds charm and interest to any balcony or courtyard.

Fairy Bells White is easy to maintain, simply apply a fertiliser suitable for Australian native plants in late summer to encourage healthy growth.   

Top gardening tips for November 

•    Brighten up your entertaining area with pots of summer flowering annuals. Plant seedlings of petunias, salvias, marigolds or zinnias and you’ll have a colourful display in time for the Christmas festive season.

•    Raise the height of the mower blades and allow the grass to grow a little longer. The grass blades shade the root system to help the lawn withstand intense summer heat.

•            Grow your own vegetables. Plant sweet corn, squash, zucchinis, beans, spinach, cucumbers and chillies. Condition the soil with some compost or organic matter before planting.

•    Give your indoor plants with shiny leaves a spring clean. Wash and wipe them over to remove any dust, increase watering and apply a slow release fertiliser.

•    Watch for aphids and other insects that are more prevalent in warmer weather. You’ll usually find them in clusters on plant tips and buds. Squash them with your fingers (wearing garden gloves), hose them off with a strong jet of water or apply some horticultural oil, as directed.

•    Remove old flowers from roses and finish pruning spring-flowering plants such as camellias, azaleas, wisteria and daphne to maintain an attractive shape. 

•    Lift and store spring-flowering bulbs, after their leaves turn brown, in a stocking or onion bag in a dry, airy spot. Then they’re ready for re-planting in late April to mid-May next year.  

•    Check that ties are secure on staked trees and shrubs during summer, their most active growing period. Pantyhose make ideal soft ties for small shrubs and tall perennials, such as dahlias and delphiniums. 
What’s on?

Gardening in Large and Small Spaces Workshop: Whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping an existing area, enjoy learning how to transform an open space into a haven for relaxed living. Comprehensive notes are provided, and places are limited. $125. 10am to 4pm, Sunday, 29 November, Northern Beaches Community College (9970 1000).

Bonsai for Beginners Workshop: Remove the mystery – create and enjoy your own bonsai!  Discover its history and how easy it is to grow. Comprehensive notes are provided and bookings are essential. $125. 10am to 4pm, Sunday, 6 December, Northern Beaches Community College (9970 1000).

Judith Sleijpen is an experienced horticulturist, columnist and garden designer advising clients on all aspects of their gardens. For more information phone 9907 6460. 

Judith Sleijpen, Contributor, Peninsula Living Magazine

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