How to grow grevilleas
These beauties are sun lovers, so plant in full sun and keep sheltered from strong winds.
Grevilleas will grow in most climates. However, cold and frost tolerance varies between species – always check the plant label when buying.
Grevilleas need well drained soils. Consider building raised garden beds or, in large gardens, form beds as elevated mounds with free-draining soil. Poor drainage or overwatering can result in root rot.
When planting, water well for the first six months. Follow up by watering twice a week for two to three weeks, then once a week for about four weeks. Water more in hot, dry weather and less in winter or cooler, moist conditions. After the plant is established, it can withstand periods of drought but, if watered during dry periods, it will grow and flower better.
A few weeks prior to planting, dig into the soil a combination of well-aged cow manure and blood and bone. Avoid using fresh manures, as these can burn the plant roots. Additionally, you should avoid fertilisers with phosphorous or opt for a specialised native fertiliser, as roots have adapted to thrive without it. Apply a small helping of native plant fertiliser in early spring and again in late summer.
A layer of mulch over native garden beds will help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds and protect roots. Use organic mulch such as compost or lucerne and spread about 50mm deep around the plants. Take care not to pile mulch around the stems and make sure it doesn’t touch the trunk, leaving a clear ring at least 10cm across.
Where to plant grevilleas in your garden
Grevilleas grow all over Australia, but what thrives in dry Western Australia will fail in the wet, humid east coast. However, they easily interbreed and, with grafting and hybridisation, you can generally get the flower you want for your climate. Check with your local nursery.
Australian natives, such as grevilleas and banksias with their feathery foliage, look so pretty when planted out as a cottage garden.
Just one in your garden – as a groundcover, a bush or a magnificent tree bearing flowers like gold nuggets – can bring year-round joy. And not just for you – wildlife will love it too!
How to grow grevilleas in pots
If growing in pots, use a potting mix formulated for natives, such as Debco Native Mix Superior or Osmocote Professional Native.
How to prune
It’s important to prune your native plants so they look their best, and to encourage flowering. The best time to make the cut is after the flowers have finished. This usually occurs in late winter, after the danger of frost has passed. Prune by a third to improve shape and generate denser foliage and more prolific flowering.
If your plant flowers well into the cooler months, remove the flowers in late winter, just before the plant puts out a spring flush of blooms.
For a light trim, cut behind the spent flowers, or, to completely rejuvenate the plant, deadhead and cut the branches back by one-third. removing any branches that spoil the shape of the bush.
With the many different forms, growth habits and flower colours, grevilleas represent good value when it comes to choosing natives for your garden. Unique flowers and foliage are what differentiate grevilleas from all other plants. And they can be broken down into specific groups.
The spectacular flower clusters have no petals and generally take one of three forms:
- Toothbrush (stamens and styles emerge on one side of the stem), spider (stamens and styles look like spider legs), or brush (a more even arrangement of stamens and styles), all of which can flower throughout the year, including winter.
- The foliage ranges from sharp needles, to deeply lobed, to fat blobs, to fern-like, usually in whorls around the stems.
- While the flowers are exquisite, many foliage forms are not soft to touch, but do provide safety for birds and other wildlife from predatory cats
Many grevillea varieties also produce nectar and are excellent for attracting birds, insects or other pollinating creatures, adding a whole new dimension to your garden. This selection of varieties, from Black Stump Natives, is just a small sample of what’s on offer.
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