Where Can I Buy a Crotalaria cunninghamii Plant?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Crotalaria cunninghamii, also known as green birdflower, is a species of flowering plant native to Northern Australia.
  • Seeds are the most common way to purchase Crotalaria cunninghamii, available through online retailers and nurseries.
  • When buying Crotalaria cunninghamii, research sellers carefully and look for positive reviews to avoid scams or poor quality.
  • Seeds need proper care to germinate and grow into healthy Crotalaria cunninghamii plants. Follow planting instructions carefully.
  • Crotalaria cunninghamii attracts birdlife, so it’s a good option for gardens looking to increase bird visitors.


Crotalaria cunninghamii, commonly known as green birdflower or regal birdflower, is a fascinating species of flowering plant belonging to the bean family Fabaceae. Endemic to Northern and Western Australia, this striking plant is characterized by its vivid green flowers and ability to attract diverse birdlife. For home gardeners, enthusiasts, and anyone looking to add unique greenery, obtaining Crotalaria cunninghamii can be an exciting prospect. However, sourcing these plants does require some research and careful consideration. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to purchasing Crotalaria cunninghamii, evaluating where to buy them, what to look for in a reputable seller, how to ensure plant health and viability, recommended care after purchase, and an overview of why this species makes for a valuable addition to one’s garden. With the proper information and planting techniques, adding these vibrant green beauties can be an achievable and rewarding endeavor.

The brilliance of the birdflower lies in its distinctive flowering. Unlike most plants, Crotalaria cunninghamii blooms feature shimmering green bracts rather than colored petals. These bracts last through summer into fall, providing continued visual interest. In their native habitat, the flowers act as a beacon to attract diverse birds who aid in pollination. Thus, Crotalaria cunninghamii serves multiple purposes – adding aesthetic intrigue to the landscape while supporting local ecosystems through bird habitat. For the home gardener, incorporating this rare plant provides an opportunity to observe bird behaviors up-close while enjoying uniquely hued blossoms. When sourced ethically and cared for correctly, Crotalaria cunninghamii can be a worthwhile investment for creating an eco-friendly, wildlife-inclusive garden. This guide will outline the optimal buying experience to start your birdflower journey right.

Where to Buy Crotalaria cunninghamii

Online Plant Nurseries and Seed Retailers

For home gardeners based outside of Australia, purchasing seeds is often the most convenient option to obtain Crotalaria cunninghamii plants. Reputable online retailers can safely ship internationally, providing flower seeds of verified quality. When selecting an online source, research customer reviews, service ratings, shipping policies, guarantees, and growing instructions provided. Some recommended online sellers include:

  • Australian Seed – Specializes in Australian native plants, including Crotalaria cunninghamii seeds. Highlights ethical, sustainable practices.
  • Amazon – Marketplace sellers offer Crotalaria cunninghamii seeds. Check reviews carefully for each vendor.
  • Etsy – Some Etsy shops sell packs of Crotalaria cunninghamii seeds. Search for “birdflower” or “green flower” seeds.
  • R&B Floridaseeds – Florida-based company offering Green Birdflower Crotalaria cunninghamii seeds.

For buyers in Australia and regions with similar climate, exploring domestic nurseries for potted Crotalaria cunninghamii plants can be worthwhile. This avoids shipping and allows inspection of plant health. Talk to staff about proper care before purchase.

What to Look For in a Seller

To have the best Crotalaria cunninghamii buying experience, certain seller traits are preferable:

  • Positive reviews – Prior customers can indicate if seeds are viable, shipment reliable, etc. Look for satisfaction ratings over 4 stars.
  • Specialized in native/botanical plants – Sellers with specific expertise may offer healthier, higher quality plants and seeds.
  • Good return/refund policy – In case of issues, you can get replacement seeds or a refund.
  • Growing instructions – Reputable sellers provide plant profiles with ideal climate, soil, care tips, etc. for success.
  • Responsive customer service – Quickly answers questions both before and after purchase.
  • Order tracking – Ability to track shipment status and delivery updates. Provides security.
  • Competitive pricing – Balance of quality and fair price, compared to other sellers.

What to Avoid

Some seller traits that should raise a red flag include:

  • No reviews or only negative reviews from previous buyers.
  • Lack of detailed product descriptions and growth requirements.
  • Refusal to answer questions or provide instructions.
  • No refund policy if seeds fail to germinate.
  • Significantly lower prices than average that may indicate poor quality.
  • Stock photography instead of images of actual seeds/plants.

Thorough vetting of the seller helps avoid disappointment and wasted money on poor quality seeds that fail to propagate as expected.

Ensuring Healthy, Viable Crotalaria cunninghamii Plants

Assessing Seed Quality

For online seed purchases, certain characteristics indicate seeds that successfully produce flowering Crotalaria cunninghamii plants:

  • Appearance – Seeds should be hard, not shriveled, free of discoloration and mold.
  • Size uniformity – Consistent seed size within the packet indicates quality processing.
  • Harvest date – Seeds harvested recently have higher viability. Ideal is within 1 year.
  • Sell by date – Packet shows sell by or use before date, at least 6 months from purchase date.
  • Storage method – Cool, dark, and dry-sealed storage preserves seed viability longest.
  • Growing directions – Clear instructions for ideal planting, soil, moisture, climate, etc. optimize growth.

With potted nursery plants, inspect overall health. Avoid plants with yellowing leaves, spots, wilting, root rot, or signs of pests. Select those with healthy green foliage and strong root structures when repotting.

Germination Success

Once home, proper seed starting technique maximizes germination:

  • Follow instructions – Adhere to seller guidance for planting depth, spacing, soil mix, watering frequency, sunlight, and temperature.
  • Pre-treatments – Some seeds benefit from soaking, cold stratification, or scarification before planting to end dormancy.
  • Good soil – Use loose, nutrient-rich potting mix with drainage.
  • Warmth – Maintain 70-80°F soil temperature for germination. May require heat mats.
  • Moisture – Keep seeding medium consistently damp but not waterlogged.
  • Thinning – For crowded sprouts, snip weaker ones to allow strong seedlings space.

With care in selecting viable seeds and providing ideal conditions, germination rates can reach 90% or higher for a lush crop of Crotalaria cunninghamii seedlings.

Recommended Care After Purchase

Once seedlings emerge or nursery Crotalaria cunninghamii plants arrive, certain care ensures health:

  • Sunlight – Place in full sun to partial shade. At least 5 hours of direct sun daily.
  • Soil – Well-draining potting mix, loam enriched with compost. Neutral pH 6.5-7.
  • Water – Drought tolerant but thrives with regular deep watering. Let soil dry between.
  • Temperature – Average range 60-80°F. Can withstand brief dips to 35°F once established.
  • Fertilizer – Use balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer or compost tea monthly during growth. Avoid excess nitrogen.
  • Pruning – Light pruning of leggy growth improves shape. Cut back stems after flowering.
  • Pests – Occasionally aphids, spider mites. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap sprays. Avoid broad chemical pesticides.
  • Winter care – In frost-prone zones, winter protection extends survival. Mulch roots, wrap or move pots in sheltered areas.

With attentive care following these guidelines, Crotalaria cunninghamii will flourish, providing long-lasting visual delight.

Why Grow Crotalaria cunninghamii?

Beyond the decorative merits of its green blooms, Crotalaria cunninghamii offers additional benefits:

Attracts Pollinators and Birds

The birdflower’s nectar draws bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and diverse bird species that forage its seeds. Adding this plant helps create a backyard ecosystem to enjoy viewing wildlife up close.

Tolerates Heat and Drought

Adapted to arid Australian zones in the wild, Crotalaria cunninghamii possesses good heat and drought tolerance once established. Its water efficiency makes it a lower maintenance choice.

Soil Improvement

As a legume, Crotalaria cunninghamii enriches soil by fixing nitrogen. The dense root system also improves drainage in heavy soils when used as a cover crop.

Provides Visual Interest

The unique coloring and prolonged bloom period spanning spring through fall supplies long-lasting ornamental value compared to short-lived flowers.

Suits Wildlife Gardens

Crotalaria cunninghamii aligns well with wildlife, native plant, and xeriscaping garden themes. Its resilience and habitat benefits are exemplary.

With advantages from aesthetics to eco-friendly attributes, Crotalaria cunninghamii earns its reputation as a standout choice. Follow this guide to find your perfect plant specimen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it difficult to grow Crotalaria cunninghamii from seeds?

No, Crotalaria cunninghamii seeds are not overly difficult to grow with proper care. Provide warm soil temperatures around 70-80°F, good drainage and light watering to keep seeds moist. Thin overcrowded seedlings. Moving sprouts outdoors gradually hardens them off. The main challenges are avoiding overwatering which causes rot and meeting the heat requirements.

What time of year is best to plant my Crotalaria cunninghamii seeds?

Late spring through early summer is ideal for starting Crotalaria cunninghamii seeds outdoors, after the last frost passes. This timing gives seedlings warm temperatures and the full growing season to mature before winter. You can also start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before your last expected frost date.

Should I prune my Crotalaria cunninghamii plants?

Light pruning is beneficial to shape Crotalaria cunninghamii plants and maintain a compact, bushy habit. Pruning leggy growth keeps plants full and tidy. Remove spent flower stems after blooming finishes to encourage new buds. Avoid heavy pruning that removes more than 30% of the plant.

Is Crotalaria cunninghamii an annual or a perennial?

Crotalaria cunninghamii is typically grown as an annual in temperate climates, where it lasts one season and self-seeds for the following year. In ideal warm conditions, it may return as a short-lived perennial for a few years before being replanted from seeds. Providing winter protection in zones with frost can help extend its lifespan.

What soil conditions does Crotalaria cunninghamii prefer?

Crotalaria cunninghamii thrives best in moderately fertile soil with good drainage. Add compost to enrich garden beds or use a quality potting mix. Neutral pH around 6.5-7.0 avoids excess acidity or alkalinity. The plants are quite adaptable and tolerate poor soils, but good conditions maximize growth and flowering.

Does Crotalaria cunninghamii come in other flower colors?

No, Crotalaria cunninghamii flowers only in green shades ranging from lighter lime green to deeper emerald tones. Some related Crotalaria species do exhibit other flower colors, such as yellow (Crotalaria retusa), red (Crotalaria coccinea), or purple (Crotalaria pallida). But the green birdflower Crotalaria cunninghamii is distinct for its verdant blossoms.

What birds does Crotalaria cunninghamii attract?

In the wild, Crotalaria cunninghamii draws an array of bird species that forage its seeds and foliage, including grass parrots, finches, fairywrens, honeyeaters, and parrotbills. Common backyard birds attracted to the birdflower in gardens include sparrows, chickadees, goldfinches, and buntings. Hummingbirds may also visit for nectar.

Should I start Crotalaria cunninghamii indoors or directly outside?

You can successfully start Crotalaria cunninghamii either indoors or directly sown outside depending on your climate. Indoors, use grow lights and provide 70°F+ temperature until transplanting seedlings after the last frost. Outside, wait until soil warms to at least 65°F and danger of frost is past. Sheltered microclimates allow earlier outdoor planting.


With its brilliant green hue and sweeping blooms through summer into fall, Crotalaria cunninghamii is a showstopper plant that attracts wildlife while providing lasting beauty. While historically limited to its native Australia, seed availability has made this species accessible to gardeners worldwide. Keys to success include selecting viable seeds from reputable sellers, following proper germination techniques, and providing suitable growing conditions. With appropriate care, the rewards of growing Crotalaria cunninghamii are plentiful – eye-catching flowers, habitat for birds and pollinators, soil nourishment, and hardy resilience. Locate your ideal seeds or nursery specimens, and soon you can enjoy the many perks of growing your own verdant birdflower haven.

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