How to grow bush foods in containers | Australian native plants | Gardening Australia

Bush foods are on the menu of fancy restaurants everywhere, but Clarence has some tips for growing your own. And if you’re short of space don’t worry – many edible native plants are perfectly suited to growing in containers. Subscribe 🔔
Clarence is combining a few plants in a large 50cm pot – you need something at least 40cm across to give plants room to grow. The plastic pot will then sit inside a more ornamental holding pot, which will also help insulate the inner pot from the direct sun.

The pot is filled with a premium potting mix that will provide good drainage and nutrition. For some natives, especially those in the Proteaceae family, a low-phosporous mix is essential, but for the plants Clarence has chosen, any premium mix is suitable.

As a central feature plant, Clarence has chosen a favourite – Cinnamon myrtle, which is related to lemon myrtle. Both can be used to make a herbal tea; simply cover 1-2 leaves with hot water and allow to steep. The leaves can also be used in baking and even curries. Both trees also originate from rainforests along Australia’s east coast, so need protection from hot afternoon sun. As a small tree, is will get quite large in the pot but can be kept small by regular pruning; trim back to just above a leaf node to encourage more leaf growth.

Next in the pot is Midyim berry (Austromyrtus dulcis). It has pretty white star-shaped flowers, but its main attraction is the fruit that develop from these. Clarence describes their taste as a mix between cinnamon, blueberry and sherbet. There are a few Austromyrtus species to choose from in the garden. Narrow-leaf Myrtle is slightly taller, and a hybrid of the two is called ‘Copper Tops’, named for its reddish new growth.

Clarence adds an Apple Berry to the pot, too. These will grow in a range of climate, and produce tubular fruit that are ripe to eat when yellow. Clarence describes the flavour as between kiwifruit and stewed apple (with a seed inside)!

Their scrambling habit means they can trail over the edge of the pot.

The final plant for the pot is a native violet, whose flowers can be used to decorate cakes and salads.

Filmed on Dharawal Country in Heathcote, NSW

Featured plants:
Cinnamon myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia )
Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)
Midyim berry (Austromyrtus dulcis)
Nattow-leaf myrtle (Austromyrtus tenuifolia)
Midyim berry (Austromyrtus dulcis x tenuifolia ‘Copper Tops’)
Apple berry (Billardiera scandens)
Native violet (Viola banksii)

Useful links:

Gardening Australia is an ABC TV program providing gardening know-how and inspiration. Presented by Australia’s leading horticultural experts, Gardening Australia is a valuable resource to all gardeners through the television program, the magazine, books, DVDs and extensive online content.

Watch more:


This is an official Australian Broadcasting Corporation YouTube channel. Contributions may be removed if they violate ABC’s Online Conditions of Use (Section 3).

Amazon Products

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *