5 Great Plants For Part-Shade Gardens in Brisbane

Living in Brisbane, we have an amazing subtropical climate that allows for a wide range of plant selection in our gardens. I've chosen five plants of complementary shapes, colours and heights that look great grown together. They are also practical for a wide range of gardens in South-East Queensland as all five plants will thrive in sun to part shade, and are reasonably drought-tolerant. I think you'll love this combo too!

1. ALPINIA caerulea 'Red Back'

Native Ginger (Red Back) is a tall screening plant.The under leaf is purple/maroon, top lush grey-green.

  • The colour tones match with the bromeliad.
  • Ginger has an upright form that doesn’t spread, so is great for narrow spaces.
  • Ginger also grows well in sun or part shade. 

2. ALCANTAREA imperialis 'rubra'

The Imperial Bromeliad is low and large, forming a ‘crown’ feature. It is a feature/focal plant and should be used sparingly.

  • Also a sun to part-shade lover.
  • The size of the foliage marries with the ginger.
  • Always place features in group of odd numbers (it just looks right, and is good Feng shui too).

3. POGONATHERUM paniceum

The dwarf Malay bamboo is a low grass-type plant. Also known as Baby Panda Bamboo. This is a low ground-covering plant that could be used en masse, with a feature plant grouped within.

  • This bamboo's foliage is similar in form to the ginger, but smaller in scale.
  • The growth structure also imitates the taller Lomandra.
  • Colour tones are similar to the Lomandra, though the lom looks to be stretched out.

4. LOMANDRA 'Lime Tuff'

A tall native grass (400mm) that will act as the middle tier planting between high screen planting, and low groundcover planting.

  • This creates a colour barrier between the ginger and bromeliaed, allowing the maroon colouring to repeat its rhythm without becoming too repetitive as this is a strong colour in the garden.
  • The bright green colour reflects the dwarf Malay, and repeats the growth form of the ginger.

5. CHRYSOCEPHALUM apiculatum

Common Everlasting Yellow Buttons. This light green (sometimes grey green) native foliaged ground-cover will marry with the foliage colour of the other plants.

  • The bright yellow flowers provide a strong contrasting splash that is close in tone to the Lomandra, but opposite to the maroon of the ginger.
  • Small leaves compliment the foliage of the dwarf Malay in texture, contrasting with the large format of the ginger.


All species will work well in sun to part shade, though avoid long periods in fully exposed western afternoon positions.

All species are reasonably drought tolerant, and will do well without regular watering after their initial establishment period. These plants will thrive however with weekly drip irrigation.

All plants will need regular fertilizing to keep their soil food source appropriate.

These are very low maintenance plants, with zero to one prune per year.

So did you catch my blog post last week about the Four Worst Trees To Plant in your Brisbane garden? Head here to read my views and as always, feel free to call to chat about your ideas for your own garden.

Photo credits: 1: Palmland 2: Roberto Verzo 3: Bamboo Land 4: Bush Magik 5: Fagg, M

Paul Stein1 Comment