My obsession with Breynia ‘Ironstone’

Technically this is Breynia cernua ‘Ironstone Range’ and I absolutely adore it, these images are taken in a friends garden, he is a very talented “master” gardener and treats his Breynia ‘Ironstone’ mean….and it loves him for it 😉

I have written about Breynia ‘Ironstone’ before and have been patiently waiting to photograph a fine specimen like this to sing its praise once more. I am a bit taken with this native shrub for two main reasons the first is its obviously striking foliage and interesting habit.

I love the way it is weeping but the branches are held gracefully horizontal, it really doesn’t look like any other native Australian shrub.

The second reason I encourage every second person to plant it, is its highly contrasting colours, when mixed in with lime greens it makes a fantastic feature shrub.

So apparently the secret to keeping Breynia ‘Ironstone’ looking this lovely is to cut it back hard once a year, and by hard I mean almost down to the ground.

The leaves are quite thin and are prone to looking a little ratty after dry or windy periods, so cutting it back encourages fresh, red new growth. Plant it in part shade in a sheltered position and keep up the water in the drier months and you will be rewarded with a soft, delicate feature shrub to add contrast and interest in your native garden. In the image below you can see a large spun copper dish, cool and enticing for the birds in the Breynia’s shade 😉

8 thoughts on “My obsession with Breynia ‘Ironstone’

  1. Bronwynne on

    It sure looks nice. But can it become invasive? Do birds eat and spread the berries? Is it in the euphorbia family ?

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Bronwynne,

      Yes it can become a little invasive, the seed is very viable and spreads easily,

      Best Wishes,


  2. Louise on

    Been growing it in Far North Qld. Yes, it is in the euphorbiaceae family. Haven’t seen it become invasive, though it did send up a few suckers (easily controlled). Also attracts the common grass yellow butterfly which look great contrasted against the purple. Caterpillars will defoliate the shrub if enough of them but a pruning once the caterpillars are gone will do wonders. Not very long lived I think but luckily grows easily from cuttings.

  3. Gena Garside on

    What is the best time of year to cut back your Breynia ironstone?

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Gena,

      You can prune back your Breynia in late Autumn to early winter, then you should get a good flush of new growth for the warmer months, don’t hesitate to give it a generous cut back too, they quite like it!

      Best Wishes,


  4. Wendy on

    I love these too, and have a few in my backyard in Brisbane, but one of them is suffering a bit and I’m thinking of digging it up and moving it, as I think it needs more sun. How do they respond to transplanting?

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