There are many dwarf forms of Banksia spinulosa, so many it can be quite confusing and seem a little ridiculous when it comes to choosing one. There are slight variances in the foliage, the flower colour, the flower size and in the size and shape of the shrub itself. For most people these difference would seem minuscule, especially when you are trying to choose from some little plant 10cm tall in a pot.
Therefore I thought it high time I put word to image and clarify what I see as the differences and why I like some better than others.
The image above is of Banksia ‘Stumpy Gold’, one of my top favourites, it is actually Banksia spinulosa var. collina which gives it a thicker, tougher leaf. It comes from the central coast where it grows on a silty loam soil and therefore tolerates heavier clay soils quite well. It grows to about 1 metre x 1 metre and this particular specimen was growing in heavy shade, giving it a more open habit.
I have used Banksia spinulosa ‘Coastal Cushions’ a lot in my garden designs and have always found it to start off rather prostrate, filling out its mature width before taking much height. I like this about Banksia ‘Coastal Cushions’ it only gets to about .5 metres high x 1-1.5 metres wide. The foliage is a dark green and is very dense the flowers are small but plentiful and it will grow quite happily further north, up into southern QLD. In the image above the shrubs have not had the spent flowers removed, this is something that can be done for aesthetic reasons, if you don’t like the dry look of the older flowers.
This is Banksia spinulosa ‘Cherry Candles’, so named because it produces flowers with an orangey-red tinge. As you can see above it has a very compact habit growing to approximately .5metres high x 1 metre wide.
This is Banksia spinulosa ‘Honey Pots’ one of the larger dwarf forms, the specimen above was close to 1.5 metres high x 1.5 metres wide. It has very large, bright flower spikes at 20cm tall. It is a stunning shrub, the foliage is quite contrasting with an almost white underside to each leaf, it is a thick, dense shrub that lends itself to low hedging.
And last but not least Banksia spinulosa ‘Birthday Candles’! It is the original Banksia spinulosa Dwarf, making it one of the best known. It is unfortunately one of the most expensive and in my view not one of the hardiest. It comes from southern NSW near Ulladullah and tends to turn up its toes in areas with humid summer months. This is unfortunate as it is a lovely shrub with an even compact shape and fine bright green leaves. It grows reliably to .5metres high x 1 metre wide.
All the Banksias above a wonderful garden plants and in my humble opinion a place should be made for them in all native gardens.