Growing Grevilleas

Growing Grevilleas, Growing these Proteaceae shrub, ground cover and tree plantsBecome an expert on Grevilleas. This course provides a thorough grounding in identifying, growing and using grevilleas.

Course Code: VHT118
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Select and Cultivate Appropriate Varieties of Grevilleas

Grevilleas are a wide group of plants, all but seven species coming from Australia. They are widespread across Australia, occurring in both cool temperate, and hot tropical climates.

There are around 250 species. About half of these are native to the south west corner of Australia.

Known commonly as “Spider Flowers”; the Grevillea flower is more like a brush than a traditional flower. It has obscure petals, but is none the less very colourful. Flower colour varies greatly; and most hold their flowers for a long period.

Grevilleas include both small to very large plants (from prostrate ground covers, through small and medium shrubs up to large trees).

Their hardiness is variable according to species. The foliage is also variable ranging from small, entire leaves to lobed or pinnate leaves. All are arranged alternately on the stems and some have hairy under surfaces.  Most have a medium to fast growth rate.

 

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction.
    • Review of the system of plant identification, general characteristics of Grevilleas, information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs etc.)
  2. Culture.
    • Planting, staking, mulching, watering, pest and disease, feeding, pruning, protection from wind, salt air, etc.
  3. Propagation.
    • Methods of propagating Grevilleas. Propagation of selected varieties.
  4. The Most Commonly Grown Varieties.
  5. Other Important Groups.
  6. Other Grevillea Varieties.
  7. Making The Best Use of Grevilleas.
    • In containers, in the ground, growing for profit etc. (to sell the plants) etc.
  8. Special Assignment. On one selected plant or group.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Identify a range of different Grevilleas.
  • Explain the culture of different types of Grevilleas.
  • Propagate different Grevilleas
  • Discuss different uses for Grevilleas
  • Compare identifiable characteristics and cultural preferences of a range of Grevilleas.
  • Discuss a range of Grevillea hybrids and cultivars
  • Identify and compare a range of commonly cultivated Grevilleas.
  • Discuss one Grevillea species, cultivar or type in depth.

Diversity in Grevilleas


Grevilleas come in all shapes and sizes, from low ground covers to tall trees.

Commonly called spider flowers, there are around 250 species of Grevillea. Most are hardy, both to frost and drought, and area easily grown, flowering in some cases for months. They prefer full sun and good drainage; most are happiest in a slightly acid soil.  Like many of the Proteaceae, they are sensitive to excess phosphorus and too much lime in the soil. As well as the species, there are now many attractive hybrids to choose from and the following is only a partial list.


Ground Cover Grevilleas
A large range of grevilleas can be grown as ground covers. Some hug the ground, and others are spreading but may grow up a little. Here are some of those that are more commonly cultivated as ground covers.
 
Grevillea aquifolium (Prickly Grevillea)
Growth: 4 wide x 1.5m high
Grevillea aquifolium is a dwarf to medium shrub with a prostrate habit. Flowers are green red and sometimes yellow. Flowering is usually scattered but occasionally profuse; a reliable plant which is popular in temperate regions. It is frost and dry tolerant. It occurs naturally in heath or woodland areas in well drained sandy or gravel soils. Generally grows in acidic soils, however is also tolerant of alkaline soils.

Grevillea australis
Growth: 0.1-2.5m x 1.5-3m.
Grevillea australis is a dwarf to medium shrub with spreading ascending branches. It naturally inhabits subalpine and alpine areas of South Eastern Australia. Flowers are cream, sometimes profuse, and inconspicuous with a sweet scent. The plant is hardy, frost and snow tolerant.

Grevillea confertifolia  (Grampians Grevillea)   There are three forms occurring naturally,  occur naturally on moist sandstone soils, woodlands or open forests, in temperate south east Australia.
Habit - usually low growing spreading plants; but can also occur as small shrubs to 1.5m tall.
Leaves are needle like to 3 cm long, Low growing ground cover habit, growth tips can tend to be covered with fine hairs.
Flowers - either wine red or rosy pink, short toothbrush type to 1cm.
Conditions - tolerates frost and light snow.
Problems - humidity can be a problem (better in drier climates), Pests may include: scale, leaf miners, caterpillars (causing webbing).

Grevillea x gaudichaudii
A very popular spreading grevillea; grown extensively in temperate regions throughout the world. Originate from the upper Blue Mountains in NSW, where it grows in sandstone.
Habit – there are two forms; A dense low groundcover with prostrate branches and reddish new growth 0.3m x 5m. The second is a more scrambling form without the reddish growth. Leaves -11 x 7.5cm stalked ovate, divided green to reddish.
Flowers - are on racemes approx 8 cm long, they are pinkish red about 2.5 cm. Attractive to nectar feeding birds.
Conditions - tolerates wet periods and heavier soils, but they need to drain freely. Prefer shade but tolerate open sunny aspects; grows well on banks.
Problems - it is difficult to grow in subtropical areas; prone to leaf Spotting Fungi.
Propagated - from cuttings.


Trees
Most grevilleas are shrubs, of varying sizes, but a few do grow into tall trees; including the following.

Grevillea baileyana (Findlay’s Silky Oak)
It is a small to medium sized, handsome tree with a bushy crown. It is common to Queensland and New Guinea subtropical and tropical rainforests. The profuse flowers are fragrant, white and crowded in racemes 6 -15 cm long. They contrast nicely with the dark foliage attract nectar feeding birds. The wood has been harvested and prized by furniture manufacturers.
The tree requires free draining soils, and protection from hot dry conditions when being established. They will tolerate light frosts.

Grevillea robusta    (Silky Oak)
Grevillea robusta is a very popular ornamental tree. It is endemic to Queensland and New South Wales and grows in rainforests. It is a small to medium sized tree with either a spreading or an elongated crown (to 30 meters).
The flowers are brilliant orange and in racemes and rich in nectar, which attract nectar feeding birds. The wood is harvested and prized by furniture manufacturers.

The tree is grown widely in many countries around the world. It is hardy and adaptable; it will tolerate numerous climates and soil types.

Grevillea striata (Beefwood)
Habit – a small to medium slow growing tree with a narrow crown. Leaves - 10-50cm long and 0.3-1cm wide. Narrow at base, linear, and often curved.
Flowers - are cream and fragrant and crowded on racemes which are 7-13 cm long. Attractive to nectar feeding birds.
Conditions - originates from watercourse of inland Australia. Drought and frost tolerant.
Propagate – from seed.

How You Might Use What You Learn

  • s a nurseryman
  • As a plant breeder
  • As a cut flower grower
  • As a landscaper
  • As a garden writer or consultant
  • As a plant collector or passionate amateur gardener.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

ACS is a Preferred Member Training Provider with the Australian Institute of Horticulture. ACS students meeting AIH criteria can join AIH as a Category 2 student member.


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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.

Jacinda Cole (Horticulturist)

B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer.
She was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up her own landscaping firm. She spent three ye

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

Over 30 years working in horticulture, as a gardener, propagator, landscape designer
, teacher and consultant. Adriana has spent much of her life living on large properties, developing and maintaining her own gardens, and living a semi self sufficient li





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Diana Cole

Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), RHS Diploma in Horticulture, BTEC Higher Diploma in Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C.

In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). She also has skills gained through leading a group of volunteers renovating a local park on behalf of a local council and has been a volunteer leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. She continues to teach the Royal Horticultural Society qualifications (Levels 2 and 3) at her local college. She is a member of The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd.

Robert Browne

ROBERT K BROWNE completed his Honour's degree in Aquaculture at the Key Center for Aquaculture, Australia, and then obtained a Ph.D. (1998) in Conservation Biology from the University of Newcastle, Australia. Robert's Ph.D. was seminal to the development of biobanking to preserve the genetic diversity of threatened amphibian species, where he developed the first reproduction providing fertile amphibian eggs from cryopreserved sperm, and since then his research has led to many major advances. Robert's science career has included consultancy with biotechnology corporations, and in response to the global biodiversity conservation crisis has focused on amphibian conservation and sustainability. Working with zoos in Australia, the USA, Europe, and for the IUCN has led Robert to work with a wide range of international collaborative conservation programs. Robert has experience in a wide range of research fields supporting herpetological conservation and environmental sustainability and has published more than 45 research articles in the fields of terrestrial and marine ecology, marine fish and amphibian taxonomy, nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, karyology, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design, and also several book chapters. Robert remains active in research, and in developing a global project for the sustainable management of the Goliath grouper.

Parita Shah

Parita has a Masters Degree in Horticulture specializing in Plantation, Spices, Medicinal and Aromatic crops and Organic farming. She has worked as a freelance consultant, and in an Avocado nursery in NSW as grafting and preparing avocado clones.

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