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Growing Grevilleas

Course CodeVHT118
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Grow Grevilleas

  • As a landscape plant
  • As a cut flower

Grevilleas are a wide group of plants, all but seven species coming from Australia.

  • widespread across Australia
  • occur 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.

The way you should treat a particular species of Grevillea will differ from place to place, and according to what you are trying to get from the plant.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction & Resources
  2. Grevillea Culture - Planting, staking, mulching, watering, pest & disease, feeding etc.
  3. Propagating Grevilleas.
  4. The Most Commonly Grown Varieties. Latest hybrids and trustworthy oldies.
  5. Other Important Groups. Poorinda hybrids, banksii hybrids, etc.
  6. The Lesser Grown Groups. Species, size, flower colour and foliage.
  7. Making The Best Use of Grevilleas. In containers, in the ground, growing for profit, etc.
  8. Special Assignment - One 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.


  • 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.

Grevilleas Can Be Grown Almost Anywhere

While most Grevillea species prefer a freely draining soil and relatively good sunlight; there are species that tolerate wet conditions, and shade as well.  Some grow naturally in wet rain forests, others in almost desert like places; some are from the tropics and others from snow prone alpine areas. If you get the right cultivar for where you live; you can grow them almost anywhere.
Many that grow well in full sun; some tolerate shade, but most of those will do better in a position with filtered light, such as under the canopy of tall trees; rather than heavy shade. 
Soil Type
While many grow well in sands and sandy loams; many will grow equally well in clays and clay loams; provided drainage is reasonable.
If your soil is heavier (ie. Clay or clay loam); grevilleas can still do well on a slope or embankment; or where the topography is flat; consider creating mounds or raised beds to plant Grevilleas into.
Nutrition and Acidity
Most cultivars will need minimal feeding; and too much feeding can cause burning of tissues. Don’t use strong or fast acting fertilisers. Grevilleas, like most plants in the Proteaceae family, can be particularly sensitive to phosphorus. Don’t use fertilisers high in phosphorus.
Some tolerate excessively alkaline or acid soils better than others. Consider where the species originated.
The following are more tolerant of high alkalinity than many – Grevillea Clearview David, Grevillea thelmanniana ssp preissii and Grevillea shiressii
For Wet Places
There are some species that have tolerated periods of wet and poorly drained soil, including:
  • G. barklyana
  • G. bipinnatifida
  • G. conferifolia
  • G. diminuata
  • G. juniperina
  • G. lavandulacea
  • G. rosmarinifolia
  • G. shiressii
Most will respond to being watered, particularly when first planted, if conditions are hot and/or windy. Be sure the soil does not become waterlogged –don’t over water. Once a plant has established a deep and extensive root system; irrigation is usually unnecessary (except possibly in years of extended drought
For Cold Places
Most Grevilleas come from places where temperatures rarely drop more than a few degrees below zero (Celsius).  
  • You can get an indication of likely cold tolerance by looking at where a species or cultivar originated
  • Limited research on the subject would suggest many Grevilleas from temperate climates may tolerate temperatures to minus 4 degrees C, but could suffer below that.
The following species have been grown successfully in parts of the UK where temperatures can reach minus 10 degrees Celsius or more:
  • G. acanthifolia
  • G. australis
  • G. juniperina
  • G. rosmarinifolia
Rodger Elliott and David Jones (Encyclopedia of Australian Plants) suggest the following are hardy to minus 7 degrees celsius
  • G. acanthifolia
  • G. aquifolium
  • G. australia
  • G. Canberra Gem
  • G. Clearview David
  • G. x gaudichaudi
  • G. ilicifolia
  • G. juniperina
  • G. lanigera
  • G. lavandulacea
  • G. rosmarinifolia
  • G. victoriae

Meet some of our academics

Rosemary Davies Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
John Mason 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; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.

Check out our eBooks

Proteas and their RelativesWonderfully illustrated, this ebook on Proteas is great for a garden enthusiast or professional gardener. Explaining the different varieties of proteas and the ideal growing conditions.
BanksiasLearn more about Banksias in this 62 page ebook with pictures. Knowing which banksia to plant can be difficult given the different growing conditions.
Landscaping with Australian PlantsLandscaping with Australian Plants gives you a new perspective on how to use Australian Plants when designing a garden. This ebook is perfect for gardening students, landscapers and keen gardeners.
Growing & Knowing GrevilleasThe Growing and Knowing Grevilleas ebook explains everything that you need to know about Grevillias. If you are landscaping or designing a new garden, you should consider including Grevilleas in your design. This stunning ebook comprises of 134 pages of great information about Grevilleas and has been written by John Mason and staff of ACS Distance Education. Why not step outside the of the everyday and discover some magnificent plants for your garden- Grevilleas? As there are shrubs, trees and ground cover included in this genus, this is such a versatile plant.