Silky Emu Bush: Eremophila nivea Grafted

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This has to be one of the most tactile of native plants, rivalled closely by Adenanthos sericeus, with its silver white foliage and hundreds of purple flowers it is a coveted specimen for many gardeners. The bees love it too as you can see in the image above.



Eremophila nivea is absolutely striking even when not in flower, nivea Latin niveus means snow or snow white, referring to the overall appearance of the shrub, this silver colour contrasts easily with other greens in the garden and make this a stunning feature shrub. Eremophila nivea is from Western Australia and therefore dislikes the weather and soil on the east coast and needs to be grafted if it is to survive here. Two common varieties are Eremohpila nivea ‘Blue Velvet’ and Eremophila nivea ‘Beryls Blue’, they vary slightly in foliage and flower colour.


The main reason for this post is that Eremophila nivea loves to be pruned, it should say ‘please prune me!’ on the label. The plant in this blog post receives pruning twice a year, nothing major just an all over tip prune to shape. This is done for two reasons, the first is to thicken it up and encourage flowers the second is to strengthen the plant. Because this is a fast growing species and quite dense it can easily snap in strong winds, especially after rain when it is top heavy. I planted this specimen 2 and 1/2 years ago and it has never looked so amazing!



Eremophila nivea Grafted can also be grown very successfully in pots if you don’t have a free daring soil or raised bed. Keep watering to a minimum and only water the soil around the root zone, don’t forget to tip prune and you should end up with a beautiful full snow-cloud of a plant dotted with purple 😉


40 responses to “Silky Emu Bush: Eremophila nivea Grafted”

  1. Karen Kiddey

    Hi could you please reply to my email address to let me know if you sell these grafted Eremophila Nivea plants. If so what size would they be and how much please. Thanks kindly. Karen

    1. Kath Gadd

      You can buy Grafted Eremophila nivea from Sydney Wildflower Nursery in Heathcote, they do a mail order service if you are not able to get there.

      Best Wishes,


  2. Sharon walpole

    My plant is turning brown and does not look very healthy. It is in a pot and I have kept watering to a minimum. Can you advise whether I should repot or prune. It has flowered this year.

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Sharon,

      It may be time to pot it up with some fresh native mix potting mix, especially if it has been in the same pot for more than 18 moths and has put on a lot of new growth.
      I would also give it a light prune after flowering of 15-20%
      Hope this info helps,



  3. Sally Riemann

    Would this beautiful specimen be happy planted in a garden bed agajnetthe house facing south?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Sally,

      That depends how much direct sun it would receive and if the the soil is well drained or not?



    2. Caroline

      Hi I don’t know how to help my plant. It looks thin and is longer thick and fluffy. My soil is clay although I have added top soil and gypsum. I have only pruned it once in four years and I am unsure if I should prune it more. I pruned it just before winter. What is the life span of this plant? Might the roots be rotting as that has been the case for several other natives in my garden. Please help.

      1. Kath Gadd

        Hi Caroline,

        The Eremophilas appreciate a tip prune once or twice a year, if you can prune after flowering that will help the shrub stay dense and compact.
        If you haven’t done it for a while I would suggest taking about 20% off all over and giving it some native slow release fertiliser.

        Good Luck!


  4. Sarah

    I’m wondering if these would be ok in Bathurst NSW. We get the hot summers but we do get frosts in winter a lot. Can they survive frost?
    Cheers Sarah

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Sarah,

      Yes I think Eremophila Nivea grafted form would be fine in Bathurst, as long as humidity is low and the frosts aren’t too severe it should thrive there.

      Best Wishes,


  5. Luke R

    I have some of the plants but now there is no silver leaves only green.
    Is this from the graft plant maybe?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Luke,

      Yes it sounds like the root stock has taken over, can you still see where the graft is?

      Best Wishes,


  6. chrisi Johnston

    I have two of these plants, I love them so very pretty and soft, when is the best time for grafting and how do I graft this plant as never grafted before? Mine is looking a bit wild so trimmed tips, grows very quickly.

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Chris,

      I have never grafted either, I buy Eremophila nivea already grafted.
      Angus Stewart covers grafting natives in his books,

      Good luck!


  7. Maureen Jarvis

    I had a eremnophila nivea which thrive for 2 years but up died over night, what could the problem be, is it shallow rooted or deep rooted , my soil is 1 foot deep when it hits clay and builders rubble. I now have a new one and don,t want to loose it Maureen

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Maureen,

      Was your Eremophila grafted? whereabouts in Australia are you located?



  8. Maureen Jarvis

    Can any one help me ? please

  9. Kathy Wootton

    Love the look of this beautiful plant. Can I grow/ purchase one in Melbourne?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Kathy,

      You should be able to find Eremophila Nivea grafted in Melbourne, try Kuranga Native nursery
      And it should grow well in Melbourne,

      Best Wishes,


  10. Cin

    Thx for the tips. Mine flowered beautifully in the winter in Sydney and now some baby buds have dried up and some leaves have turned dry and fallen (soil is slightly moist not wet not dry). Is this a natural process in spring/ summer or should I be worried? (I also pruned a few weeks ago)

  11. I think I may have pruned my erimophila Nivea too severely as it was getting very spindly though it looks quite healthy. I’ve cut back most of the leaves.
    I hope it will survive. I live in Sydney. The plant has been in sandy soil in my garden for about 5 years now. Can you help

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Margaret,

      Would you be able to send a photo? that would help me advise,



  12. Yolande

    How do I revitalize this plant that has been eaten/destroyed by kangaroos, I love this native it is so pretty but it is looking very sad & damaged

  13. Help !!!
    This silky-emu bush usually looks very pretty & healthy, very bushy, but the kangaroos have been eating it. How do I revitalise this plant??? …… Perth Western Australia

  14. Jean

    Not sure if my plant has died. It is quite brittle but don’t want to throw it out if there is a chance it could still be ok
    We had a bout of heavy rain and we were away which flooded the plant last September.
    Can you give any suggestions please

  15. Rianne Wilschut

    HI Kath and team,
    I bought a beautiful young Eremophila nivea from Heathcote wildflower nursery mid last year. I live in Brisbane, and have planted it in a high well-draining pot in full sun. It is healthy, has grown to three times its original size, and I have tip-pruned as advised …. it just has not flowered. Anything I can do?
    many thanks!

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Rianne,

      Is your Eremophila postitioned in full sun? many native plants will not flower if you are too nice to them 😉 they will just put on lots of new growth. Perhaps try backing off with the watering and giving it a little potash.

      Good Luck!


  16. Kathryn O’Brien

    Would a grafted Eremophila survive in Melbourne as a specimen in a pot?

  17. Sam

    Hi I’m new to gardening and purchased a beautiful specimen of the emu bush. However, since planting it it is now droopy and sad looking. I live by the beach in Adelaide south Australia and have sandy well draining soil. It’s planted near my fence which has lots of sun throughout the day. The nursery said maybe I’m not watering enough due to the sandy well draining soil so I have increased watering over the last few weeks but it still seems sad and has not bounced back. Are there any tips or things that I should do to improve its current state. It was so beautiful….. please help?

  18. Libby

    I’ve just purchased 4 of these from Bunnings. What companion plants would look good with these, both taller and shorter and ground covers? I’ve searched online for ideas but can’t find anything.

  19. Tom

    I have a beautiful large Nivea in a front raised bed that has done well the two years I have lived in my house (I inherited it from the last owner).

    With all the rain we’ve had , 3/4s of the foliage has died – 1/4 under cover continues nicely. But the majority of the bush has dried out and snaps off easily. I hope the most of the rain is over and the plant recovers. I feel a heavy prune at the front, leaving the healthy back part might be in order.

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Tom,

      If you don’t know how old it is you can try pruning it and see if it comes back. If it doesn’t come back that means it was probably at the end of its life anyway and needs replacing.


  20. Scipion

    Hello, I am writing to you from Chile, what an incredible plant, do you know where I can buy seeds? Beforehand thank you very much.

    Best regards

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Felipe,

      It is a fantastic plant isn’t it? I’m not sure where you can source seed but you could try reaching out to Australian seed suppliers or your local botanical gardens.
      Sometimes export/biosecurity laws can make it difficult to send indigenous products overseas.

      All the best,
      Hannah and Kath

  21. Jenny

    Hi, I bought a number of eremophilia Nivea in WA hills area. I planted during autumn and was looking forward to the contrast between them and my agave. We have not had frost to my knowledge this year. I have had a bunny rabbit eat some. Firstly I noticed the tips drop then it progresses to dropped leaves and then brittle stems. Partial death then some reshot leaves, most have got the problem and I’m worried I’ll loose the lot. Worried WA

  22. Paul Shelley

    Can i transplant my e. Nivea (grafted on myoporum).

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Paul,
      It depends on how long it has been in its current position, and how big it is. If it has only been there for a short time and is still quite small it might be a successful transplant. The longer it has been there and the bigger it is the less chance it will be successful.

  23. Hello Kath, I am looking at planting Eremophila Nivea up my pathway, what do you think would be a good companion plant – would yarrow work? We have garden beds of salvia which look wonderful and just waiting on some white Buddlejas for another area. Thank you, Esther

  24. Claire Stokes

    I have 4 eremophila nivea planted in my front yard,they get watered 3 times a week for 2 hours, & as my yard faces east, it gets all the morning sun, but for some reason they keep dying & suddenly. One moment they are thriving & the next they are dry & brittle. Can you please tell me why this keeps happening?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Claire,
      If you are located in a sub-tropical area it is best to get a grafted Eremophila as they are hardier. You might also be giving them a bit too much love. They like a soil that is well drained, so it maybe possible that you are over watering.

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