Most of us have seen Bansksias growing wild among the scrubby growth which is so prevalent along much of Australia's coastline. The ones we think of are small gnarly looking trees which are usually covered in weird shaped seed pods. Many are suprised when they see the dwarf compact spinulosa varieties and have to look twice to confirm their suspicions that they are in fact Banksias. Let's take a look at 3 of our favourites:
Banksia 'Birthday Candles' Probably the most popular of the dwarf Banksias, this variety was selected and developed by Austraflora nursery in 1985. Birthday candles features short golden orange spikes with red styles which appear in Autumn and continue right through winter. Its compact nature (60cm H x 1m W) is what has made it so useful in many different applications.
Banksia 'Cherry Candles' Also from Austraflora, and similar to 'Birthday Candles' this variety has beautiful shade of deep cherry in its flowers. It is fast increasing in popularity and grows to around 40-50cm high and 75-90cm in width. (Plant in photo).
Bansksia 'Stumpy Gold' A cultivar which was selected from material collected at Catherine Hill Bay NSW. 'Stumpy Gold' is similar in size and habit to 'Birthday Candles'. The real difference is its completely gold flowers, it also has foliage which is slighlty greyer than the others.
Planting Advice Choose small plants that will establish more readily than large plants. Well drained clay or sandy loam is preferred.
Position Full sun, tolerates light frosts, good for coastal gardens.
Care Only use a native fetiliser, remove spent flower heads if desired.
Uses Excellent massed along path edges, among large rocks, mixed plantings, ornate containers and around pools. Troubleshooting Hates wet feet, needs good sunshine.