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Dryland Garden

Our Dryland Collection is home to inland Australian plants that grow in areas with low rainfall: 500mm or less each year. This collection includes Salt Bush, bottle trees and wild flowers.

Wollongong has more rain than these plants are naturally used to, so we’ve built up the garden mound to give them excellent drainage.

Our dryland plants have adapted to survive long droughts, extreme high temperatures, saline soil and fire. Some of the ways they’ve done this include:

  • Developing roots that can store water for long periods. Some, like the Bush Potatoes, also store nutrients in underground tubers. If the upper part of the plant dies during rain, it can regrow from the tubers. These tubers have also provided a food source to Aboriginal people.
  • Adapting their leaves to spiky, tubular, inrolled or leathery leaves to reduce water loss.  Many have scaly or waxy leaves to help with this.
  • Stem modification to allow quick re-sprouting after drought or fire, such as the Eucalyptus species called Mallee.
  • Tough seeds! Many desert plants have seeds with hard coatings so they can survive in harsh conditions. Plants like Salt Bush produce seeds with different coat strengths, so they can germinate at different rates, and maximise their germination rate. Others, like Hakea and Grevillea store their seeds in fruits which open during fire to allow the seeds to fall into the rich soil left behind.
  • Adapting how they grow. These plants can speed up their growth rate and flower or set seeds when conditions are good, or slow down when they’re not. Many daisy and grass species, like the Pink Paper Daisy (Rhodanthe chlorocephala), have this special talent.

This collection was developed in conjunction with the nearby Succulent Garden.


The Dryland Garden collection is in the north-east section of Wollongong Botanic Garden.

See location 5 on the map below (or click the map to open a larger PDF version).

map of Wollongong Botanic Garden