This Banksia not only has beautiful flowers but also eye-catching bright red new growth that is covered in tiny hairs giving it a velvety texture, similar to the new growth on Banksia robur. Banksia plagiocarpa has great ornamental potential in the garden, as it can be grown a a large shrub or can be shaped into a small feature tree, being a Banksia it is very forgiving to pruning and will happily reshoot from the rhizome.
Banksia plagiocarpa was rediscovered on Hinchinbrook Island Qld in the 1980’s, hence its common name Hinchinbrook Banksia. It can be grown along the east coast of Australia, as it is quite hardy with humidity and can withstand wet feet for a short period of time. It will not however cope with frost and enjoys a sheltered position in part to full sun.
Flowering from Summer right through to Winter the silvery greyish blue buds open up to a beautiful yellow. These flowers are fantastic at attracting honeyeaters and other birds as well as bees and pollinating insects.
This native is perfect for a small garden, grows to 3-5mts but can be pruned to keep more compact. Best pruned after flowering or stunning to bring the cut flowers inside and include them with some kangaroo paw, or gum leaf foliage in a vase.
The flower spike then becomes a woody structural cone containing seeds. This normally needs fire to open up.
The leaves that start out life as red become a dark green on top and almost white underneath. They have a toothed edge which adds to the architectural nature of this plant.
Described as a medium shrub, Banksia plagiocarpa can grow to around 3 or 4 metres with a fairly narrow upright habit of 1 to 1.5m. It likes a moist well drained soil and dislikes strong winds. I have used this Banksia in courtyard gardens, and in mixed screening and as a small feature tree it really is a felxible species which can fulfil lots of roles in the garden.