key project:

The Which-Plant Where Database

What to plant, where and when.

  • progress:

Research currently underway


A piece of technology that provides better access to information about which species of turf, plants and trees will grow under what soil, water, aspect and climate conditions in specific geographical areas. The Which-Plant-Where Database also provides information about other species-specific outcomes, such as whether a plant attracts birds, creates mulch or contributes to soil quality. A developed version of this tool might also integrate the Risk-o-Meter and provide ratings for the riskiness of each species in terms of dropping limbs, tripping over roots and its ability to adapt to future climatic conditions.


It aggregates data related to species and overlays this with Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, weather data from the Bureau of Meteorology, and gives users an opportunity to geo-tag and upload images of plants and trees growing at street level. It could provide predictive analytics to determine what species will be best to plant not only in the short, -but also medium- to long-term future. This data is presented in a clear, sensible way that is as accessible to horticulturalists and council maintenance staff as it is to businesses, town planners, developers and residents.


  • To educate council, planners, residents, landscapers and horticulturalists about what to plant, where and when.
  • To form part of a climate adaptation program at a council level.
  • To manage and mitigate risks associated with falling limbs, poor root systems and plants dying.
  • To develop street-tree specific guidelines for councils.
  • To share knowledge between professionals and encourage citizen horticulture reporting.
  • To inform better local labelling of plants and trees at a consumer level.
  • To educate horticulture students.


Microblitz, Plant Selector Plus, Save Water Plant Selector


"It is not good enough just to plant natives, you need to plant natives that are appropriate for the conditions and the local fauna. In our local area, with sometimes harsh coastal conditions in poor soils, it is the locally indigenous plants that are able to thrive and outcompete weeds. Building the local knowledge on specific plant choice is an ideal way of effectively increasing green space."

Sam McGuinness, Waverley Council, NSW.

"The plan needs to take a long-term perspective. While 2020 is only five years away, it is conceivable that long-lived green infrastructure, such as certain tree species, will still be around at the end of this century. Without significant action on climate change, it is possible that we will see 4°C of global warming by that time. In this context, the ‘Which-Plant-Where-Database’ becomes crucial, with the enduring legacy of the 202020 Vision not about what is achieved in the next five years, but what is still alive and thriving 30-50 years onwards."

Guy Barnett, CSIRO, ACT.


Lyndal Plant, UQ, QLD. Nano Langenheim, University of Melbourne, VIC. Alison Kelly, Do it on the Roof. Julie-Anne McWhinnie, SA Health, SA. Cassandra Brown, City of Goldcoast, QLD. Lotte Hoekstra, AECOM, WA. Glynn Ricketts, City of Marion, SA. Paul Lanternier, City of Armadale, WA. Merilyn Kuchel, GI Project (BGSA), SA. Cr Jon Strachan, City of Fremantle, WA. Steve MacDonald, RLOSAC/FOSEQ, QLD. Nigel Letty, ANLC, VIC. Emma Jones, E2Design Labs, VIC. Pip Hildebrand, Do it on the Roof, VIC. Michael Smit, Community Rainwater Harvesting Association, SA. Carole Fudge, Benara Nurseries, WA. Jean-Paul van der Hulst, City of Hume, VIC. Dean Nicolle, SA. Kate Nairn, OEH, NSW. Greg Priest, JBA, WA. Jennifer Garden, Griffith University, QLD. Steven Wells, Austin Health, VIC. Megan Flower, Landscaping Victoria, VIC. Joanne Smith, PLAWA, WA. Anthony Kimpton, UQ, QLD. Cr Rachel Pemberton, City of Fremantle, WA. Marina Grassecker, Harvest Seeds and Native Plants, NSW. Erin Harrison, EMRC, WA. Shaun Kennedy, SA WATER, SA. Guy Barnett, CSIRO, NSW. Paul Barber, Arbor Carbon, WA. Jen Guice, Penrith Council, NSW. Amalie Wright, Landscapology, QLD. Paula Hooper, UWA, WA. Leanne Gillies, Fleming’s Nurseries, VIC. Shelley Meagher, Do it on the Roof, VIC. Darren Coughlan, City West Water/Greening the West, VIC. Hamish Mitchell, Specialty Trees, VIC. David Martin, SOPA/AILA, NSW. Sam Phillips, Natural Resources AMLR, DEWNR, SA.