See & do

8 trendy native plants you can grow indoors

Saraya Robinson & Liz Spooner | April 14, 2020

Indoor plants are having a moment.

Filling our Instagram and Pinterest feeds with endless inspiration, indoor greenery has quickly become a staple addition to transform a house into a home.

The Gold Coast is home to an incredible 1730 species of local native plants, with some of these only found within the Gold Coast region. Got a green thumb but lacking a backyard? There’s a huge range of local native plants that grow well indoors, giving those with little to no backyard space the perfect opportunity to incorporate native plants into your home.

Grab the potting mix and get ready to brighten your indoor space with our top eight picks for indoor plants.


Birds nest fern, Asplenium australasicum

Blackbean (Castanospermum australe)

Brisbane Lilly (Proiphys cunninghamii)

Brown Plum Pine (Podocarpus elatus)


Asplenium australasicum

This fern usually grows in trees and on rocks, but it also makes a fantastic indoor plant grown in a pot. It’s lush and green, giving a tropical feel with its long strappy bright green leathery leaves. It’s a hardy plant that requires little effort to look after, so it’s high on our list for indoor plants.


Castanospermum australe

In the wild this tree grows to extreme heights but will stay a small size of around one metre if planted in a pot. It is a really sturdy plant when potted, with a green stem and multiple dark green glossy leaves. If you have this tree on your property already you can easily add to your indoor collection. Simply place the seed shaped like a large bean in a pot with soil and keeping it well watered.


Proiphys cunninghamii

An understory plant of rainforests and rainforest margins, the Brisbane Lily grows from a bulb. Its large deep-green leaves are on long stems and they have deep veins making it an attractive house plant. Its fragrant white flowers grow in clusters on long stems that open in succession. These stems then produce bulbs. You can wait for these bulbs to ripen or drop off and then add to your plant collection by putting the bulb in another pot to grow and keeping it moist. A number of plants can be grown together in a single pot for great multi-layered effect.


Podocarpus elatus

Another tall tree that grows well in large pots, this slow growing tree can be regularly pruned and trimmed to maintain a compact size. When trimmed regularly, its foliage becomes lush and dense. Its narrow, shiny leaves are a bright light green when new but will darken as they age. It does have an edible fruit however the species is dioecious (separate male and female plants) so fruits are unlikely if you only have one. For best results keep the soil moist (but not water-logged), especially in the summer.  Do not let it dry out.

HOOP PINE, Araucaria cunninghamii

NATIVE VIOLET, Viola banksia

PALM LILY, Cordyline congesta

WAX FLOWER, Hoya australis


Araucaria cunninghamii

Ideal as a beautiful, reusable Christmas tree, the Hoop Pine is a symmetrical, cone-shaped tree with whorled branches and fine pointy leaves. It typically grows in rainforests and along creeks and moist gullies where it can reach 50m in height. Despite this, it makes for an excellent indoor plant as it is slow growing and is attractive in a pot plant when young. If you don’t have much of a green thumb, don’t worry; it’s a robust plant that responds well to regular watering.


Viola banksia

With its delicate white and purple flowers and it’s rounded, kidney shaped leaves this creeping plant creates an attractive lush mat in shaded environments. It can be used as a ground cover in pots with taller plants. It is also well suited to hanging baskets. Keep it moist and it will reward you with delicate foliage that will creep down the sides of pots. It’s easy to separate these mats when they develop to split off into new pots to grow your collection.


Cordyline congesta

As its name suggests, this plant has a palm-like form with long thin leaves drooping from a central stem. In spring and summer clusters of purple flowers on long stems will be followed by clusters of orange-red berries. If grown in a container, it can reach about two metres in height. It can also be grown in a vase of water and grows well from cuttings. It naturally occurs in rainforests, gullies and along watercourses, so keep it moist for the best results.


Hoya australis

A scrambling vine that grows in rainforests, eucalypt and coastal forests, this plant is hardy and adaptable. It has thick, succulent, glossy leaves with white fragrant flowers growing in spectacular clusters with a deep red or pink in the centre, but good light is needed for the best flowers. For best results give the vine something to climb up or plant it in a hanging basket. Good drainage is essential and don’t be tempted to overwater it. Grows really well from cuttings.



Care Tips:

  • Ensure your plant is in a large enough pot to allow it to grow.
  • Make sure the pot has good drainage or holes at the bottom of the pot to allow excess water to flow out (self-watering pots are a good option).
  • Use a good potting mix soil and keep it moist. Indoor plants tend to be over watered, causing them to die. Once a week should suffice.
  • Place your plant near a natural light source

How to take cuttings:

Some of the plants listed grow well from cuttings, meaning if you, one of your friends or family already have the plant you can produce even more by taking a cutting. Take a look around your garden to see what you may already be able to take cuttings from.

Step 1: Cut off a 10cm section of healthy stem.

Step 2: Remove the lower leaves and shoots so that you have a bare stem to insert into your potting mix

Step 3: Simply place your new cutting into the potting mix, make sure you keep it watered. You can also use a growth hormone to promote root growth if required.

The City offer a number of free workshops and activities focusing on native gardening including creating different styles and how to attract wildlife such as native bees and butterflies. Check out our NaturallyGC program for more details.

Check out our detailed native plant selection guide and our plant native species webpage for more ideas on native gardening for both indoors and out.

Where to buy local native plants:

The Friends of the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens nursery in Benowa stocks a wide range of local native plants and is open from 8am to 11am on the first Friday of each month. You can follow them on Facebook for more details.

You can also use the GroNATIVE app to find nurseries in South East Queensland who stock plants listed in the app.

Ask your local nursery or garden centre to stock more local native plants today!

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