Grevillea “Ned Kelly”

Grevillea “Ned Kelly” (syn Masons Hybrid) is a hybrid between Grevillea banksii and Grevillea bipinnatifida. This was the plant that introduced me to Australian native plants as it was growing in my garden when we purchased that house in 1998.

Grevillea Ned Kelly

Grevillea Ned Kelly

It was just outside our dining room window and was always covered in birds feasting on the flowers. In fact this plant was so floriferous it was hard to find a time to give it an annual prune and tidy up.

Apart from the annual prune this plant required zero maintenance. It never needed to be watered and just kept on looking good year after year. For someone after a low maintenance drought tolerant garden this is a plant this is definitely a good starting point.

Grevillea Superb

Grevillea Superb

One of the other great things about this plant is that it has several other brothers and sisters that have been bred from the same parents. Grevillea “Superb”, Grevillea “Robyn Gordon”, Grevillea “Coconut Ice” and Grevillea “Peaches and Cream” are just a few. Each of these Grevilleas are as garden worthy as each other and in some respects they are such great performers that they have become quite common in Australian gardens and public landscapes. The important thing about these Grevilleas though is that they do need an annual prune to tidy them up but apart from this they will flower for most of the year and attract birds like you wouldn’t believe.

Grevillea Robyn Gordon

Grevillea Robyn Gordon

The bad news for me though is that they really don’t like phosphorus at all. The G Superb that I planted in my garden died after about a year of just barely hanging on and I’m sure that G Peaches and Cream would now also be dead if I hadn’t have treated it with Powerfeed. The Powerfeed bought it back from deaths door and despite new green growth coming back some time ago it still hasn’t flowered. I’ve now treated it with a more balanced native fertilizer so we’ll see how it goes over the next few months. Hopefully it will start to flower again soon.

Another Grevillea that I’ve also tried in my new garden is Grevillea “Strawberry Sundae”. This appears to have the same parents as the others but is more prostrate. It has reacted in the same manner as G Peaches and Cream to the phosphorus and Powerfeed, so hopefully it will flower as well soon.

Grevillea Peaches and Cream, left and Grevillea Strawberry Sundae right

Grevillea Peaches and Cream, left and Grevillea Strawberry Sundae right. Both recovering from Phosporus Toxicity.

All in all this group of Grevilleas are all very easy to grow. They are all drought tolerant plants that flower for most of the year and require little maintenance. All they need is an annual prune and make sure you keep the fertilizer away from them.

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10 Responses to Grevillea “Ned Kelly”

  • max says:

    Hi mike,

    i found your website last night and i have found it to be quite informative. We purchased a house with an established garden 12 months ago in Rowville area with not one native plant in it.

    It consists of the usual agapanthus, camillias, maples, silver birch ect and much to my frustrations demands alot of water and only attracts blackbirds and indian mynahs.

    I love to have the native birds visiting my backyard so I have recently ripped out some plants and planted a Robyn Gordon, poorinda elegans, coconut ice, banksia ericfolia and some kangaroo paws.

    I cant wait to see these natives flowering and the wattle birds and honey eaters reclaim some territory back with my help.

    Your website will help me decide on the next plants to put in.

    thanks,

    max

  • Rebel Gardener says:

    Nice to hear from you Max
    If you want to attract birds one of the best ways to do it is with Grevilleas so you’re off to a good start.
    With a new garden I always think short term and long term. If you want some quick growing grevilleas for a new garden that flower their heads off Grevillea Deua Flame or just Deua Grevillea and Grevillea Long John are great performers.
    Also if you want drought tolerant plants you can’t go past Eremophilas.
    All the best with it.

  • kate says:

    hi Mike im just wondering when i should prune my grevilleas and how much do i prune….i have ned kelly, cocoanut ice and superba……….i love the flowers on these grevillias and could use your help for the best growing results..thx

    • Rebel Gardener says:

      Hi Kate, These are some of the best Grevilleas for long and lasting flowering displays and are some of my favourites. But because they flower for so long it’s sometimes hard to know when to prune them. My general rule for pruning plants in general is to do so after flowering but with these it’s just simply a case of having to bite the bullet and just go ahead and do it. Anytime is fine but if you live in a frost prone area be careful not to do so in mid to late autumn or winter, as frost will damage the new growth. As far as how much to take off? Well you can cut these back to bare wood of you like and they will grow back. This is a great way to rejuvenate old and scraggy looking plants. For general pruning though, just use your judgment and prune them to the shape and size you desire.
      Also if you like these types of Grevilleas there is another called Peaches and Cream which is very similar but has yellow and orange flowers. Best of Luck with the pruning.

  • ted says:

    hi mike just like to say i have had Ned Kelly growing for 18 years have tried other types but where i am find that ned kelly handles the frost better also needs to be in a position with good drainage lost one this season while getting run off in the drought from Neighbouring property over this last season was to much and died,
    for regular pruning i take the flowers back as if bringing inside and get good regrowth.
    and have had to on the older one cut back to bare wood about 3 or four times over the years.. when growing for first couple of years they need water after that can drought harden and are first class in that regard.. liked reading about Ned Kelly as its been my Favourite for such a long time..

    • admin says:

      Hi Ted, Ned Kelly is one of my favourites as well. The birds really love it. It was interesting to here you comments, especially about the frost tolerance. Those people in frost prone areas will find this helpful. You know I think a lot of gardeners have lost plants recently with all the rain we’ve had as planting positions that were ok during the drought are now not suitable during the wet.
      Thanks for dropping by, nice to hear from you.

  • ted says:

    Hi Mike just to correct a possible misconception the frost is only because i am in a low position and the cold air sits there in this situation does live where robyn gordon and coconut ice and similar one did not
    yes it is very bird attractive honeyeaters always around it..

  • admin says:

    Thanks for letting us know Ted. There are many gardeners that struggle with the affects of frost and knowing what works and what doesn’t can be very helpful.

  • Leisa says:

    Hi, I was hoping someone could help me with a problem I am having with my Ned Kelly. I have about 8 in my garden, however, half of them have turned yellow and appear to be dying. I can’t work out why this is happening as in some areas of the garden, I have one that is dead and one only 1m away and it is thriving. Is there any way to resurrect them or should I replace them with new ones.

    • mikeb says:

      The problem is obviously under the ground. It’s a bit hard to tell without seeing but the usual culprits will be either bad drainage, alkaline soil (add iron) or the soil contains residue from phosphorus based fertilisers (add a high nitrogen fertiliser).

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