Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My favorite plant of the week: Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola'

I'm joining Loree of danger garden with my pick of the plant putting on the biggest show in my garden this week, Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola.'  I have 3 of these in my dry garden, all of which I planted in 2011.  Their attractive gray foliage is reason enough to grow them but the mass of small rosy-red flowers they produce beginning in late fall puts them over the top.  The blooms continue into spring.



My feeble attempt at a close-up shot of the flowers



In checking internet sources regarding the plant this morning, I discovered that it's commonly known as Lavender Grevillea, which I assume is intended to describe the foliage, although it reminds me more of rosemary than lavender.  I also read that the plant is fragrant but the scent eluded my nostrils.

This is a mid-sized Grevillea, growing 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5m) tall and more than 8 feet (2.4m) wide.   The largest of mine is over 5 feet tall but not quite as wide.




The other 2, including one I have placed along the pathway leading to our back slope, have been kept smaller with regular pruning.




Once established, these plants need only occasional water.  On average, in the absence or rain, I probably irrigate the area they're in once a month.  They're said to be hardy in USDA zones 9-11 (Sunset zones 15-24).  According to San Marcos Growers, this plant can tolerate temperatures in the range of 20-25 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.7C).  A Desert Northwest review of Grevilleas reported that 'Penola' handled a 12F cold spell but died during a more extended freeze.

The flowers attract hummingbirds.  The plant is said to be susceptible to scale and spider mites but I've had no problems with either.  It needs well-drained soil and placement in full to part sun.

All in all, Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola' has been a good, low maintenance plant for me.  For Loree's favorite of the week, please visit her site.

10 comments:

  1. Covered in blooms it looks even more special, gorgeous!

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  2. Such a lovely grevillea, I'm especially in love with the third photo. Those temperatures tell me I'll be enjoying it in your garden though, not mine!

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  3. Gorgeous. I love the contrast between the flowers and the silver foliage. I was at Bunnings the other day and thought I would check out their plants as usual, and there were so many Grevilleas I wanted. Seeing as one of mine just died, I am going to plant another, but have to decide which one... Maybe I'll just get one of each :)

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  4. It seems quite floriferous, and the flowers though small are so bright and colorful. Attracting hummingbirds is a good thing at this time of the year too, I'm sure they much appreciate them. Unfortunately they are not hardy enough here to really tempt me.

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    1. Our resident hummingbirds have a lot to choose from. Thanks for visiting, Hannah!

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  5. Where did you find one of those plants? I can't seem to find that species of grevillea anywhere. It's beautiful!

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    1. Mine were purchased at Armstrong, which is a garden center chain operating in California. They also operate as a grower and market their plants to other garden centers. I usually see them offered in winter, shortly before their annual bloom cycle begins.

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    3. I'm in the Midwest so I probably won't find one here.

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