Royal Grevillea: Garden Dynamo from Down Under

Grevillea victoriaeHi, my name is Tom and I’m a plantaholic, unable to leave a nursery without a plant, incapable of ignoring a nodding bud, lacy leaf or fancy frond. Adhere to a climate zonal chart? Nah, not me. One place where I always find unique and wonderful plants is Colvos Creek Nursery right here on Vashon Island. Plantsman and proprietor Mike Lee is a soft-spoken gardening genius who searches for native plants and compatible drought-tolerant species from similar climates around the world. His inventory fills a 27-page catalog.

grevillea victoria One such plant that had me at hello was the Royal Grevillea (Grevillea Victoriae), a shrubby little showstopper from Australia with flawless foliage and joyful autumn blossoms. I purchased a small start, planted it that day (a rarity for me) and proceeded to ignore it. Three years later it’s a four-foot evergreen crown in my garden, bejeweled with flaming cascades of honeysuckle-like flowers.

grevillea victoriae flowers

Top Ten Reasons Royal Grevillea Is a Great Landscape Plant:

  1. Drought tolerant (I rarely water it.)
  2. Fall bloomer (September – November)
  3. Deer resistant (Second photo: The Grevillea remains untouched, while rose (right) is stripped of its leaves.)
  4. Survived several severe snowstorms
  5. Flowers attract hummingbirds
  6. Beautifully evergreen
  7. Healthy, handsome gray-green foliage
  8. Disease-resistant
  9. Hardy to USDA Zone 8
  10. Thrives on neglect

From a man who practically feeds his gardenias and roses with a sippy cup, I appreciate a low maintenance alternative, especially one that takes no back seat to beauty and presence in the garden. (For more see: Pacific Northwest Grevilleas Revisited.)

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