Leave room for old-time grevilleas

Grevilleas are rather promiscuous plants and if two different varieties are in close proximity, cross pollination often occurs.

Over the years, as many different grevilleas are cultivated, numerous hybrids have appeared. Many have been named and brought into cultivation. A good example is Grevillea Robyn Gordon which was the result of a liaison between a Western Australian grevillea and one from Queensland grown in a Queensland garden.

Named grevillea hybrids are coming onto the nursery scene with monotonous regularity. With this constant flow of hybrids, a number of old favourites have gone out of fashion and are difficult to find in nurseries. This is a pity because many of the older hybrids have proved to very hardy and free-flowering.

This time we will describe some of these “old time” hybrids with a view to encouraging gardeners to seek them out for inclusion in their domestic landscape.

Grevillea “Canterbury Gold”

Grevillea “Canterbury Gold” is a medium shrub that will reach a height of two metres. The branches are pendulous with light green, hairy leaves.

Large clusters of yellow flowers are carried from June to February with sporadic flowering at other times. Flowers are a prominent feature of this hybrid. Some of our “Canterbury Gold” specimens are more than 12 years old. The only maintenance required is an occasional light prune. This hybrid was developed by Austraflora Nursery in Victoria.

Grevillea “Lutea”

Grevillea “Lutea” is a medium shrub with narrow, prickly leaves and large clusters of cream flowers. Blooms are produced, in abundance, during late winter and spring. The flowers light up the garden in the cooler months when blooms are often in short supply. “Lutea” is one of the many cultivars derived from Grevillea rosmarinifolia.

...Grevillea Robyn Gordon was the result of a liaison between a Western Australian grevillea and one from Queensland grown in a Queensland garden.

Grevillea “Poorinda Diadem”

Grevillea “Poorinda Diadem” is an erect shrub that reaches two metres in our garden. The dark green leaves are three centimetres long with a pointed tip. Large flowers are borne in clusters at the base of the leaves. They are buff to apricot with yellow styles and both profuse and conspicuous in spring. Blooms are well displayed against the dark foliage.

“Poorinda Diadem” is one of 50 hybrids developed by the late Leo Hodge on his property in Victoria during the 1950s and 60s. The best known, of his hybrids is “Poorinda Royal Mantle”, a ground cover that is still widely grown.

Grevillea “Coastal Glow”

Grevillea “Coastal Glow” is another “old time’ hybrid that deserves to be more widely cultivated.

This hardy and colourful hybrid is a vigorous, spreading shrub with long, light green leaves. Deep pink flowers are held in toothbrush-shaped clusters. Flowers are present throughout the year with a spring flush. The flowers are an eye-catching feature of this hybrid that arose as a seedling in a Central Coast garden in the 1970s.

These are a few hybrid grevilleas that have become unfashionable but are worthy of cultivation in local gardens.