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Grevillea

Proteaceae
Evergreen, Ground covers, Shrubs, Trees

This plant group generally has fine-textured foliage and long, slender, curved flowers, usually borne in dense clusters. Many cannot tolerate salt-laden soils, poor water quality, heavy summer irrigation, or heavy frost, but all are attractive enough to warrant some risk taking. Like other members of the protea family, they are sensitive to high levels of phosphorus in the soil. Fertilize lightly and avoid high-phosphorus fertilizers.

Grevillea alpina

Highly variable in size and form. Among most widely distributed is ‘East Grampians’, a low spreader (to 2 1/2 ft. high and 5 ft.wide) with inch-long bright green leaves and masses of red-and-yellow flowers from fall through spring. Full sun or light shade.

Grevillea curviloba

Often sold as Grevillea tridentifera or Grevillea biternata. Variable habit; may reach 6 ft. high and 10 to 15 ft. across or grow as a low (2-ft.) spreader, also to 10 to 15 ft. wide. Finely divided bright green leaves; cream-colored, honey-scented blossoms in winter and spring. To use as ground or bank cover, prune out any stems that grow upright. Full sun or partial shade.

Grevillea lanigera

From Australia. Spreading, mounding growth to 3–6 ft. tall, 6–10 ft. across. Closely set, narrow, 1/2-in.-long leaves are covered with hairs that give foliage a grayish cast. Clusters of narrow, curved, crimson-and-cream flowers profuse in winter and spring; attractive to hummingbirds.

Good bank cover in hot, sunny area; good transition beween garden and wild area.

Grevillea lavandulacea

Variable, but all forms are dense growers with half-inch-long gray leaves. ‘Billywing’, to 2 1/2 ft. high and 6 ft. wide, has red-and-cream flowers in winter and spring. ‘Penola’, to 5 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide (or larger), bears deep rose red blossoms fall through spring. ‘Tanunda’ is 1 1/2 to 3 ft. high, 3 to 6 ft. wide, with profuse coral pink flowers; main show comes in winter, with occasional repeat bloom in midsummer.

Grevillea robusta
Grevillea robusta

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Grevillea robusta

Fast growing to 50 to 60 ft. (rarely 100 ft.) tall. Young trees are symmetrical and pyramidal. Old ones are broad topped (30 to 35 ft. wide), usually with a few heavy, horizontal limbs; picturesque against skyline. Ferny leaves are golden green to deep green above, silvery beneath. Heavy leaf fall in spring, sporadic leaf drop throughout year. Large clusters of bright golden orange flowers in early spring. Orioles and hummingbirds like the nectar. 

Wood is brittle and easily damaged in high winds. For sturdier branches, cut central leader back hard at planting time and shorten branches to well-balanced framework. Thrives in heat; one of lushest greens for low desert. Useful as quick, tall screen; can be clipped as tall hedge. Full sun. Grows in poor, dense soils if not overwatered; can take regular water in fast-draining soils. Young trees damaged at 24°F/-4°C; older ones hardy to 16°F/-9°C. Beyond hardiness range, sometimes grown as potted plant or houseplant and discarded when it gets too big.

Grevillea rosmarinifolia

Shrub. To 6 ft. tall, nearlyas broad. Narrow leaves aredark green on top, silverybeneath; look somewhat likethose of rosemary. Red-and-cream flower clusters (rarelypink or white) in fall and winter; scattered bloom in other seasons. Use as clipped or informal hedge in dryish places. Impervious to heat and aridity. A popular dwarf form, just 3 ft. high and 6 ft. wide, bears pink-and-cream flowers in waves throughout the year, most heavily in spring and fall. Full sun or partial shade.

Grevillea x gaudichaudii

Prostrate plant spreading 10 to 15 ft.wide. Lobed leaves resembling oak leaves are bronzy when they emerge, then mature to dark green. Toothbrush-like clusters of dark red flowers in winter and spring. Provide good drainage,moderate water. Takes sun but prefers partial shade. Tolerates extended wet periods.

Grevillea 'Canberra Gem'
Grevillea 'Canberra Gem'

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'Canberra Gem' (‘Pink Pearl’)

Open, graceful growth to 8 ft. tall, 12 ft. wide. Needlelike, bright green, 1-in. leaves. Clusters of red flowers in winter and spring (and intermittently at other times). Full sun or partial shade.

'Fanfare'

Thought to be a hybrid involving Grevillea x gaudichaudii. Like that parent, it is low and spreading, to 1 ft. tall and 10 to 15 ft. wide. Narrow, sawtoothed leaves up to 7 in. long are coppery red and covered with silky hairs when young, maturing to dark green. Toothbrush-like flowers in deep red appear winter to spring. Excellent tough, fast-growing ground cover; tip prune after flowering to keep dense. Full sun or partial shade.

'Neollii' ('Noell')

To 4 ft. tall, 4 to 5 ft. wide. Densely clad with narrow, 1-in.-long, glossy medium green leaves. Clusters of pink-and-white flowers bloom in spring. Full sun. Moderate water.

'Poorinda Constance'

Open, graceful habit to 8 ft. tall, 12 ft. wide. Narrow, bright green, 1-in. leaves are dark green above, whitish beneath. Clusters of red-orange flowers appear in spring, often repeating in fall. Full sun.

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