Grevilleas are Great!
Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite' grows 6 feet tall and wide and blooms in fall and winter. PlantMaster
Grevilleas are Australian shrubs that are easy to grow and are drought tolerant once established. They usually bloom for months, much to the delight of hummingbirds, and their ferny or needle-like foliage stays attractive all year. Flowers are attractive, appearing in spider-like clusters or arranged as bristles on a toothbrush. There are over 300 species and even more cultivars, ranging from low groundcovers to upright trees. Here are a dozen grevilleas perfect for Marin gardens
. All are evergreen and most are deer-resistant. Most prefer sun and warmth. They are perfectly suited to our Mediterranean climate – which is why there are more and more grevilleas appearing in nurseries throughout the county.
Grevillea Lanigera 'Coastal Gem'. Wikimedia Commons
These hard-working shrubs prefer well-drained soil with low fertility. They have tight groups of many small rootlets just below the soil surface. These roots are specially designed to pick up every drop of moisture from (scant) rains, and the extra-fine roots are adept at extracting every nutrient available from nutrient-poor soil. Grevilleas prefer acidic soil low in organic matter and usually suffer in rich soil. In fact, adding too much organic material may cause chlorosis
and even death. Bottom line? Do not fertilize grevilleas and avoid growing in soils with high amounts of phosphorus.
Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream'. Wikimedia Commons
Grevilleas make great hedges, screens, groundcovers, or even fillers for tough areas. They can be pruned annually to define shape. Fortunately, they suffer from very few garden pests. Popular choices include Grevillea juniperina 'Lava Cascade,' G. lanigera 'Coastal Gem,' G. 'Long John,' G. 'Red Hooks,' G. 'Peaches and Cream,' and G. 'Ivanhoe.' Grevillea robusta
(silk oak tree) is an exotic-looking tree with bright coppery-orange flowers.
Grevilleas can cause allergic skin reactions in some people so handle with care.