One look at this large flowered beauty and anyone will realise that some New Zealand natives are very showy indeed. In spring, for a period of six weeks or so, the arching branches of Clianthus Kaka King drip with gorgeous scarlet flowers, their shape just like a big parrots beak, or over-size ear rings, depending on your imagination. Its a mighty fine shrub to use as a feature in a sunny part of the garden and if given a moderate pruning soon after flowering it will remain bushy and handsome.
Kaka King can be used in a mixed shrub border and is flamboyant enough that it can fit happily into the most cutting edge of Pacific Rim style gardens. It can be trained to spread out against a wall, which is how they grow it in England, or persuaded to grow on a tall trunk with weeping branches. Try it with kowhais and abutilons - like them it is a good attractor of nectar eating native birds such as tui, bellbirds and waxeyes. It also mixes well with bold foliage plants - Cordyline Emerald Goddess in mild winter areas, or Cordyline Red Star or Purple Tower where winters are frosty and with native grasses such as Carex testacea and Chionochloa flavicans.