This winter has been a bit of a learning curve for me in the frost tolerant Grevillea department; for some reason I have been asked again and again which Grevilleas will withstand medium to heavy frosts. Many grevilleas with smaller needle like leaves such as Grevillea lanigera, alpina and rosmarinifolia are good at coping in heavy frost. The flowers of these cold-tolerant varieties also tend to be smaller, often of the spider flower or toothbrush variety. While theses are great hardy species there are others that are a little more unusual and interesting.
Then others, like Grevillea victoriae or Grevillea ‘Lady O’ (image above) have fine, felted hairs called trichomes on the under-surface of the leaf to insulate the leaf against cold conditions.
The reason I love Grevillea victoriae is for its leaf, it has a large entire leaf of an olive grey colour, this makes it a great screening plant and also gives it a wonderful contrast amongst a more luscious planting. Victoriae also has a velvety flower that is slightly fury, the outside is a rusty brown and when it opens it reveals a bright red centre.
The bright flowers are also attractive to bird species like the honeyeaters and rosellas which will peck at the base of the flower for its delicious nectar.
The image above was taken at Mt Tomah botanic gardens, where they sometimes get snow, Grevillea victoriae grows to 2-3 metres high and about the same wide, it is thick and bushy from the ground up. I am trying to grow this on a clay soil in full Winter sun part shade in Summer, on the new east coast, lets see how it goes.
I must admit I have another favourite frost tolerant Grevillea but I don’t have any photos of it yet, it is Grevillea arenaria, so stay tuned 😉