There are so many different cultivars now of Banksia spinulosa that it is difficult to know which to choose… although they all look similar independently when you see them next to each other whilst they are flowering they really do have different attributes.

Banksia ‘Coastal Cushions’

First up is Banksia spinulosa ‘Coastal Cushions’ this produces shorter golden flowers in Autumn and is one of the lowest growing of the Dwarf Banksias. It is almost a ground cover which spreads up to 1 metre wide whilst only growing half a metres tall. It has soft narrow, short leaves which look a little ferny from a distance.

Banksia ‘Honey Pots’

Next is Banksia spinulosa ‘Honey Pots’ this small shrub has a dense mounding habit made up of large coarse leaves which have a notable white/silver underside.

Banksia ‘Honey Pots’

This Dwarf Banksia lives up to its name with plenty of golden flower spikes from Autumn into Winter and is a real bird magnet. It can get quite tall up to 2 m high by the same wide and is very fast growing for a Banksia. ‘Honey Pots’ makes an excellent screening or hedging plant.

Banksia ‘Stumpy Gold’

This one is dear to my heart, for some reason I really like its lumpy habit 😉 It flowers a little behind the others which means you have flowers well into Winter.

Banksia ‘Stumpy Gold’

Banksia ‘Stumpy Gold’ has bright green leaves with the white underside and the flower spikes are tall and skinny and a lighter yellow. I generally find this Dwarf Banksia slow growing but worth the wait for its spreading , horizontal habit. It reaches around 1 metre high x 1.5 metres wide.

Banksia ‘Cherry Candles’

Banksia ‘Cherry Candles’ is probably the most luscious looking of the spinulosa Dwarfs. The fine lime green leaves sit on vertical stems, somewhat hiding the flower spikes.

Banksia ‘Cherry Candles’

Banksia ‘Cherry Candles’ retains a very compact small shrub shape of roughly 1 m x 1m. It prunes very nicely and general looks quite ‘neat’ 🤩

Banksia ‘Birthday Candles’

And this is the one that started the fad, Banksia ‘Birthday Candles’! a lovely very slow growing low shrub it definitely gets wider than it does high at 1.5metres wide x 0.7m high.

Banksia ‘Birthday Candles’

‘Birthday Candles’ has a long flowering period and is very hardy. All these Dwarf Banksia respond well to an extra deep water every now and then and look much nicer if pruned after flowering. They also like to receive some Iron occasionally to keep their leaves a deep green. I hope I have shed a little more light on the 5 cultivars above of course there are more Dwarf Banksias than I have listed above but you should find these are readily available.


4 responses to “But what’s the difference? Banksia spinulosa Dwarfs”

  1. Richard

    Hi! love your blog and all the info on native plants. I converted my front lawn into a native garden about 2 years ago and am loving how it is starting to thrive, one thing that hasnt are my banksia spinulosa!
    I feel like I am in a game on constant brinkmanship with my banksia birthday candles. Sometimes they look healthy and send out new growth, only to then start turn yellow, and worse start to die off. This happens repeatedly for 6-12 months before they are completely dead. I think I have had 2-3 established plants survive coming up two years but definitely arent thriving.
    I am in Melbourne with clay soil, which I have tried to improve over the past few years with gypsum, sand and compost. I am guessing is the main problem? I always plant the banksia in raised mounds, but is there anything else I can try? If the spinulosa continue to fail I was thinking of trying Banksia paludosa ‘Little Pal’ instead?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Richard,
      Banksia’s are usually fine in clay soils unless it is a really boggy clay and the roots are wet. When you make up the gypsum/sand/compost mix have you done a pH test before planting into it?
      If the plants are yellowing this can be due to an iron deficiency, you can try either a foliar spray or chelates around the root zone. You may also need to work on the pH.
      Let me know how you go with this.

  2. Jan Roberson

    Hi Kath, Richards email is nearly identical to my situation. I planted 3 Banksia cherry candles which struggled along before dying one by one & so l replaced them all but same thing happening. I have used liquid clay breaker & iron chelated. My soil PH is 6.5 & they are in a raised bed & full sun. So heart breaking as they were meant to be the stars of the front garden. The other natives are thriving. Wondering if Stumpy Gold or an ericifolia Bulli Baby would be more suitable. I can’t seem to source a Bulli Baby in any nurseries in Melbourne. Cheers Jan

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Jan,
      They might be getting too much sun and drying out, this could particularly be the case in a well drained raised bed. Hope this helps.

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