Ideal conditions for growing grevilleas
Grevilleas will grow in most climates. However, cold and frost tolerance varies between species – always check the plant label when buying. These beauties are sun lovers, so plant in full sun and keep sheltered from strong winds.
Grevilleas need well drained soils. Consider building raised garden beds or, in large gardens, form beds as elevated mounds with free-draining soil.
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. If growing in pots, use a potting mix formulated for natives, such as Debco Native Mix Superior or Osmocote Professional Native.
How to fertilise grevilleas
As grevilleas are sensitive to excessive levels of phosphorus, you need to use a specialised native fertiliser, such as Yates Acticote Natives or Osmocote Native Gardens.
Feed them twice a year – once in spring and again in late summer
When planting, water in well with a seaweed-based solution, such as Seasol. 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 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, leaving a clear ring at least 10cm across.
WATCH: Charlie creates a native verge garden
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.
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, cut the branches back by one-third.
With the many different forms, growth habits and flower colours, grevilleas represent good value when it comes to choosing natives for your garden. The flowers come in three basic forms: spiderlike, toothbrush-like and large brushes, all of which can flower throughout the year, including winter.
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.