Grevillea olivacea is considered a fast growing native shrub for dry conditions, with its dense habit it is the perfect screening plant to block out any building, street or fence. I use it for its grey foliage and small spider flowers, because spider flowering Grevilleas are my favourites! I also like to incorporate it into gardens which have a distinctly Mediterranean feel or have a section of Productive food growing area where it blends in among the fruit trees.
Growing and spreading to 2-4mts in height and 4-6mts in width. Commonly known as the olive leaf Grevillea because of the narrow shape and the silvery underside colour of the leaves, very similar to that of an olive tree. I have seen this species in and around Perth, grown as a small street tree, it looks very at home amongst some of the Mediterranean gardens in Fremantle.
Grevillea olivacea produces a glut of flowers from Winter through to Spring. The spider flowers are umble-like and attract birds, bees and butterflies. If you are wanting to attract Honeyeaters; Wattlebirds, Eastern spinebills and Noisy Friarbirds this is a great plant to choose.
These red flowers were photographed in a clients garden and I am lucky enough to have a yellow flowering in my own garden at the moment. I love the grey leaves particularly combined with the lemon yellow flowers, it makes a hardy shrub in a part shade postion.
A great Grevillea for coastal areas it also tolerates light frost and can grow in a slightly alkaline soil (thats going above the 7 mark on your soil ph test and getting into dark green colour).
One of the hardiest natives, it will also put up with long periods of dry weather once established, but of course will benefit from a deep watering. It suffers from very few pests and diseases, and is moderately wind tolerant. In the image below you can see a well pruned specimen growing in an exposed windy site.
I am growing it in part shade in a wind tunnel corridor, it does need regular pruning to keep it to a dense shrub and help it contend with coastal winds.
By pruning you will also encourage more flowers the following year and make this shrub denser for screening and small bird habitat. The Olive Leaf Grevillea should be planted in a well draining soil, having said that, mine are growing in clay and have withstood 2 years of heavy rain 😉
There is also an orange form of Grevillea olivacea called ‘Apricot Glow’, this cultivar is supposed to have a more narrow habit, we would love to hear from you if you have grown the orange flowering form.
Written by Jo McLuskey and Kath Gadd