Grevillea

Grevillea "Pink Ice"

Grevillea Pink Ice, a Gem amongst the Gravel.

One of my favourite things to do where shopping for plants is to search through the “sale” plants at the back of the nursery. Not only because sometimes you can pick up a bargain but also because sometimes you can find a gem in amongst the rubbish.

Grevillea Pink Ice Flower

Back in Autumn I was doing this and came across a Grevillea which had a label that indicated it was grafted and that was all it said. The only identification it had was “Grevillea Pink Ice” written on the pot with $28 crossed out and replaced with $15. This Grevillea caught my attention straight away as I wasn’t familiar with it. The good thing about it though, was it was grafted onto the rootstock of the Silky Oak, Grevillea Robusta. This meant that it would grow quite happily with the phosphorus toxicity in my soil. On the downside though, it didn’t appear to be doing very well as the potting mix was dried out and the thin needly leaves also reflected that it was really struggling.

The first flower for the season in August.

The first flower for the season in August.

Never the less my curiosity got the better of me so I purchased it and took it home. Now normally when I buy a new plant I’m pretty quick to plant it but in this case I decided that it might need some pampering before hand so the first thing was to soak it in some Seasol for a few minutes. I then potted it up into the next size pot, left it a protected place for the last few months and then pretty much forgot about it.

Grevillea Pink Ice. Still narrow and sparce but I'll tip prune it after flowering so it will thicken for next season.

Grevillea Pink Ice. Still narrow and sparce but I'll tip prune it after flowering so it will thicken for next season.

Then about a month ago it started to flower. The flowers in fact didn’t turn out to be pink as the name suggested but instead they are white which is reasonably uncommon with most Grevilleas you find in nurseries. Then again it has been groing in the shade for the last few months so maybe when it starts to get some sun the flowers may have a pink tinge to them but we’ll wait and see. The other option is that it might not even be Grevillea Pink Ice?

Anyway yesterday being the 5th day of spring I decided to go ahead and plant it. It’s still in flower with lots of small buds still appearing as well so it appears as if it may have a reasonably long flowering season. The other thing I like about this grevillea is that it does appear to have an erect growing habit which will make it fit in well in a small garden with lots of plants in it.

So looking at my purchase today I must say that I’m pretty happy with it. Whether it has pink on white flowers doesn’t make much difference to me. The important thing is that it looks like it will put on quite a nice flowering display, it is a little different to the other grevilleas in my garden and it should be very hardy and drought tolerant.

Grevillea Pink Ice Flowers and Buds

Grevillea Pink Ice Flowers and Buds

So next time you’re at the nursery have a look out the back and see if you can find a gem. You may not find the same one I did but never the less you may find one just as good as Grevillea Pink Ice.

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Grevillea Petrophiloides

Grevillea Petrophiloides is a Grevillea that really breaks the typical Grevillea stereotype. When most people look at it for the first time they could quite easily be forgiven for mistaking it for a Bottlebrush or maybe even a Hakea.

Grevillea petrophiloides

This Grevillea petrophiloides hasn't quite reached it's peak flowering

The plant itself is quite rounded and bushy but where it differs from the “typical Grevillea” appearance is with the long leafless branches, known as canes, that grow above the rest of the bush. The flowers are held quite proudly on the ends of these canes and seem to act like beacons to draw Honeyeaters from some distance.

New Holland Honeyeater

New Holland Honeyeater

The plant itself is quite spectacular when in flower and is obviously quite prized as a feature for the garden. The downside of this Grevillea though is that it is very fussy with it’s soil requirements. Growing naturally in sandy areas of Western Australia this Grevillea requires perfect drainage and detests hot, humid, tropical conditions. It you do live in a desert type enviroment though this plant will be much better suited to your conditions.

Grevillea petrophiloides flowers. There is also a creamy flower as well.

Grevillea petrophiloides flowers. There is also a creamy flower as well.

On the up side though Grevillea petrophiloides can be grafted onto more reliable rootstock. This one here, growing in my mothers garden, has been growing for about the last 6 or 7 years. I’m not sure what the rootstock is though, it may possibly be Grevillea Robusta.

The rootstock may be Grevillea Robusta.

The rootstock may be Grevillea Robusta.

Apart from pruning the canes after flowering, Grevillea Petrophiloides requires little maintenance or special care. It is a very drought tolerant plant and definitely makes a great feature plant especially when in flower.

Grevillea petrophiloides also has a variant that has creamy colored flowers as well. I’ve often wondered what these two color variants of Grevillea petrophiloides would look like growing into each other. The pinky red and the creamy yellow, together, would look interesting indeed.

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Grevillea Rosmarinifolia

Yesterday a reader left a comment about Grevillea Rosmarinifolia on my article, Grevillea, How to grow.

“I want to plant a fence line with the Grevillea Rosmarinifolia as I believe they are hardy and also have spiky leaves which will provide a barrier from unwanted people climbing the fence. I will require about 100 plants and would like to know the best place to get them We are in the central west of NSW Thanks”, Leighton.

When I read it I thought straight away, what a fantastic comment. Hedges aren’t necessarily the easiest things to grow, especially if it is to consist of 100 plants. I think I could actually write several articles about this comment but first it’s important to address the question.

So my first thoughts are that there probably won’t be many retail nurseries that will actually have 100 plants that are the same, let alone 100 Grevillea Rosmarinifolias. The best thing to do here is to contact some wholesale nurseries and see what they have in stock. Some wholesale nurseries actually retail as well or if they don’t once you’ve found what you want get your local retail nursery to contact them and do the deal.

The next point I want to make is, Leighton has also made a pretty good selection here with Grevillea Rosmarinifolia. This Grevillea is very hardy. It is drought tolerant, frost tolerant and also adapts to different soil types. Picking hardy plants is always important when growing a hedge as there’s nothing worse than a hedge that has dead plants in it. Your initial selection will go a long way in avoiding this.

Another great thing about Grevillea Rosmarinifolia is that it can grow into a hedge that forms a formidable barrier. The secret is to not plant the plants too far apart and to also prune the side branches to increase branching to form the hedge that you are after. I’ve seen examples of Grevillea Rosmarinifolia growing in gardens as single specimens that have been left unpruned and as a result they send out long branches that make the plant look sparse. In my opinion this look is unattractive, so if you want a nice thick barrier then make sure you don’t plant too far apart and prune early.

One of the other traits about Grevillea Rosmarinifolia is that it is a very variable plant. In nature it grows naturally over a varied group of areas so in cultivation you also get variation as well. The variation not only consists of leaf and flower variation but also the size and growth rate of the plant. So having said that, you really need to be selective so you can ensure the Grevillea Rosmarinifolia that you select does fit your requirements.

Another great trait of Grevillea Rosmarinifolia, just as with most Grevilleas, is that it does hybridise and as a result there are cultivars in the nurseries that would also be worth considering. Grevillea Pink Pearl is one and Grevillea Canberra Gem may also be worth looking at.

At the end of the day you may not be able to find your first choice but there will be something that will be available. If you look hard enough and talk to qualified nursery people that specialise in Australian Native Plants then I’m sure they will give you plenty of options. Quite often your second or third choice could turn out to be better than your first.

Grevillea Rosmarinifolia is a great choice as a hedge. I suppose it will just come down to what’s available.

Best of luck.

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