Try growing: local natives in hanging baskets

I've never grown native plants (or any plants, for that matter!) in hanging baskets. But it can certainly be done, and Peter Sorensen from coastal Towradgi has provided some amazing photos and tips on growing local species such as Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum) and Hop Goodenia (Goodenia ovata) in this way. He's also got other Australian species such as Thyme Honey-myrtle (Melaleuca myrtifolia) and Cootamundra Wattle (Acacia baileyana) doing well.  
A collection of Australian natives grown in large hanging baskets. Image by Elizabeth Meyer. 
Here is some advice from Peter on how he cares for these plants and keeps them looking their best, despite the challenges of a coastal situation with lots of wild weather and salt spray.

The bigger the basket the better (though keep them within your handling ability - these things can be heavy). The ones shown are 40cm or 50cm diameter. They have an outer liner of paperbark, coconut fibre or peat, largely for aesthetic purposes, and then an inner lining of plastic sheeting to prevent evaporation in the very exposed conditions. Cut a drainage hole in the plastic.

Freely draining soil is important. Try regular potting mix, with about 15% coarse sand or fine gravel (1mm-3mm) added. Start by putting 2 cups of 3mm gravel in the basket before adding the potting mix, to aid drainage. 
Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum) looking fabulous mixed with a Fan-flower (Scaevola) species. Image by Elizabeth Meyer.
A reliable care regime is important. Peter's plants are on an irrigation system, and given water for a couple of minutes each morning and evening. The black plastic irrigation pipe is visible in some of the images. If you are not going to use irrigation, give each pot a good watering twice a week and leave the sand/gravel out of the potting mix. Dead-heading spent flowers keeps plants looking fresh though it is not strictly necessary. 
Hop Goodenia flowering its heart out, and doing so well you can't even see its basket. Image by Elizabeth Meyer.
I'm not sure whether this is Fairy Fan Flower (Scaevola aemula), a cultivar thereof or another Fan Flower species. Whatever it is, it's spectacular! Image by Elizabeth Meyer.
Many thanks Peter for the tips and the photographs!

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