July 27, 2022
Searles Gardening Team
If native birds, wildlife and grand showy flowers is what you want in your garden then Grevilleas are for you. These natives of Australia contain nectar to feed the fauna and create a showy display of blooms year round for garden colour.
Here are few "tried & true" varieties that have been grown successfully by the home gardener for years.
Grevillea “Poorinda Royal Mantle” - 0.2mH & 6m spread, year round flowering
Grevillea “Bronze Rambler” - 0.5mH & 3-5m spread, year round flowering
Grevillea “Carpet Layer” - 0.2mH & 2.5m spread, flowers spring to early winter
Grevillea “Winter Delight” - 0.4mH & 1.2m spread, winter and spring flowering
Grevillea biternata (Syn. Curviloba)
Grevillea banigera “Mt Tamboritha Form”
Grevillea Banksii “Prostrate Red Form”
Grevillea “Pink Midget” - 40cmH, year round pink spider flowers, fine narrow foliage
Grevillea “Robyn Gordon” - 1.5mH, deep red flowers, year round
Grevillea “Ned Kelly” - 2mH, fast growing, flowering all year
Grevillea “Scarlet Sprite” - 1mH, bright scarlet flowers that appear in winter and spring
Grevillea “Miss Muffet” - A medium shrub, 2-3 metres high, with narrow, smooth dark green leaves. Purple spider type flowers most of the year.
Grevillea “Honey Gem” - 4mH, orange/yellow flowers, all year flowering
Grevillea “Moonlight” - 5mH, cream flowers, all year flowering
Grevillea “Sylvia” - 5mH pink flowers, all year flowering
Grevillea “Majestic” - 5mH, cream flowers, all year flowering
Grevillea “Ivanhoe” - 5mH, red flowers, winter, spring and summer flowering
Grevillea “Venusta” - 5mH, orange flowers, prefers warmer climates
Grevillea robusta, 10mH*
Grevillea hilliana, 15mH*
Grevillea baileyana, 8mH*
*Plant heights may vary due to soil conditions and regions.
Commonly known as the spider flower the Grevillea genus consists of over 250 species with new hybrids being developed yearly. Here are a few “tried & true” varieties that have been grown successfully by the home gardener for years.
With so many varieties it is not surprising that they are very diverse in their growth habits, flower styles (which come in every colour of the rainbow), and foliage. From sprawling ground covers to large rainforest trees, most are easily grown in our Australian climate.
Grevilleas are the largest genus in the proteaceae family which makes them close cousins of the South African Proteas, Australian Hakeas & the ivory curl flower (Buckinghamia). There is only a handful that are not native to Australia, with some coming from our neighbours Papua New Guinea & New Caledonia.
Grevilleas are very easy to grow and are ideal in a dry “water wise” garden. Most of them flower from winter to spring but some will give you blooms all year round. All Grevilleas love full sun and because they don’t like wet feet they will adore a sloping or raised garden bed. Dry conditions and long periods without rain will not trouble them once established and a good water once a week when they are established will be sufficient.
When planting your Grevillea, dig a hole and mix in Searles Native Plant Mix. This will give them a flying start. Strong roots develop early so try not to disturb them when planting. Once they have settled in, mulch them to help prevent weeds from growing around them.
Maintenance of your Grevillea is minimal. Fertilising only needs to be done once every 8-10 weeks. Like most natives they have a dislike for phosphorous so Searles Native Food is excellent, as it is specially formulated with a low Phosphorus content.
As Grevilleas get on in age they can develop old & woody branches and lots of dead twigs. To clean them out and to make them look fresh again, pruning should be carried out in October. At this time you can cut them back by one third to a half, with a follow up tip prune 2 months later. In doing so, you will end up with a specimen with bushy new growth all over & an abundance of flowers.
Grevilleas are not normally troubled by any pests because of the high number of birds they attract that keep insects under control. Root rot can be a common cause of death to Grevilleas in wet conditions. Occasionally the plant will curl up its leaves and simply fall over within a few days. Choosing a free draining sloping garden bed will help in preventing this from happening.
Propagation of Grevilleas should always be done by cuttings. Take half ripened tips in summer and strike them in Searles Propagating Mix. Growing Grevilleas from cuttings is preferred over raised from seed.
In recent years hybridising has become very popular in Grevilleas with an extraordinarily diverse range of varieties being developed, with new ones being released regularly. You are sure to find one that suits your needs and in no time at all you will have a flourishing habitat for our native birds.