The Grevillea plant belongs to interesting and non-standard large-sized indoor plants. Despite the fact that in size it is still inferior to palm trees or some vines growing at home, grevillea will never remain unnoticed against their background.
It is a large but at the same time lush and bright indoor tree, which not only does not burden the interior but also gives it airiness with its filigree greenery and completely exclusive and unlike flowers, we are used to. In fairness, it must be said that this is not the most convenient indoor plant for breeding at home due to the requirements for cold wintering and the need for constant correction of dimensions. But the flower has its devoted admirers and, in general, is certainly worthy of attention.
Grevillea is an exotic flower from the Protein family, of which it is its largest representative. It grows naturally mainly in Australia, but some species are found in Tasmania, Malaysia and some other Pacific islands. Nowadays it is ubiquitously cultivated far outside this region practically all over the world. The most widespread in culture is the powerful Grevillea variety, which is an evergreen decorative deciduous tree, less often a shrub. The leaf plate of the plant is of a simple pinnate type, has a double or triple dissected openwork elliptical shape. Leaves up to 30 cm, are notable for their silky pubescence, thanks to which the tree received its second name in its homeland – silk oak.
Abnormal racemose apical inflorescences, with filamentous petals-stamens. Their color can be different, but always bright and interesting. After flowering, a leathery, in more rare cases, woody leaflet fruit of a flat curved shape is formed. The wing of the leaflet is narrow or absent altogether. At home, Grevillea can grow up to 2 meters in height, and in nature, it can reach 30 meters.
At home, Grevillea usually does not bloom, since this requires compliance with rather difficult conditions. It is usually used as a vegetable exotic accent in large and cool rooms, as well as in winter greenhouses.
Types of grevillea
In their natural habitat, on the Australian continent, there are more than 250 species of Grevillea, of which only 17 varieties can be found outside the region. Some of them are suitable for growing as indoor flowers.
A relatively undersized variety, which has a shrub shape and usually does not exceed 1 m. Shoots are heavily pubescent with a delicate silky felt, densely leafy. Thin leaves have a blunt end and slightly curled edges; on the reverse side, they also have a silky tomentose pubescence. Inflorescences are pink-red at the base with a transition to yellow, small in size.
Tall, tree-like shrub with branched, densely pubescent shoots. Leaves up to 20 cm, almost smooth, narrowly lanceolate. The color of racemose inflorescences is bright red, saturated, with yellow tips of filamentous petals.
A very tall tree in the environment of natural growth, reaching 25-30 m. When grown at home, its size is much more modest, but in an apartment, it is still a large plant that requires molding. Branches are either naked or with short pubescence, gray. The leaves are elongated, up to 2 cm, with large denticles at the edges, twice pinnate, covered with pile only on the underside. The clusters of inflorescences are colored bright orange. In indoor conditions, it blooms extremely rarely, requires contrasting seasonal growing conditions.
A highly variable variety, which is more often a shrub, but in a certain habitat it takes on a tree-like form. As a houseplant, woolly grevillea of low varieties is cultivated, not exceeding 1.5 m, and sometimes growing only up to 30 cm. The fleecy leaves are commensurate with the overall dimensions of the plant and have a characteristic narrow shape. Outwardly, the tree resembles a herringbone. Blooming in red or pink tones with the presence of yellow or cream color, the shape of the inflorescences is an arachnid. In nature, it blooms in winter or early spring.
On the basis of woolly grevillea, which has a high predisposition to interspecific hybridization, interesting cultivars have now been bred, among which two are especially noteworthy.
- Rod Salento. It looks very much like a fir or a spruce tree we are used to. In Europe, it is commonly known as the Christmas tree. The desired conical shape is achieved by tying branches to the supports, on which bright pink, spectacular curly flowers bloom in winter.
- Mount Tamborita (has several more names). A very compact bush in height, no more than 40 cm, with a span of up to 2 m in width. The shape of the plant is variable, usually, they are engaged in the formation of interesting compositions in nurseries. The arrangement of the leaves is spiral, the shoots are densely leafy due to the slow growth of the main trunk. The flowers resemble spider legs, they have a raspberry pink color.
All types of grevillea are characterized by intensive growth, which has to be contained within the apartment. If you do it correctly and create comfortable conditions, the plant rapidly increases not only its dimensions but also its internal volume, which makes it more and more attractive. But caring for a Grevillea falls into the category of increased complexity due to the fact that its needs go against the typical conditions of room maintenance.
Watering and humidity
The irrigation schedule follows the usual schedule for crops with a dormant winter period. It should be regular throughout the growing season and is produced as the topsoil layer dries out. From the beginning of autumn, they begin to limit it, and in winter the only purpose of moisture is to maintain the viability of the plant. Grevillea does not like waterlogging, but at the same time, it needs high air humidity for the aboveground part. As usual, water trays, humidifiers, sprays, aquariums, etc. can be used to maintain the desired level. You cannot put the pot upside down in the water!
It is easier to regulate soil moisture in a small container, and in part, therefore, it is not recommended to use large tubs under the heating system.
There is a lot of controversy about this point of care for the Australian exotic. The best solution would be to ask the seller of the seedling about the conditions for keeping grevillea before buying. As a rule, these conditions are ideal for a given instance. The plant has a good natural adaptation for partially illuminated locations, although it is light-loving by nature. And yet you cannot push a tree into the shade. A sufficiently bright diffused light will be a good solution for successful cultivation. And, of course, each instance needs to be watched to understand how to adjust the conditions. A signal about poor lighting will be a change in the color of the foliage. If it is noticed that a bluish tint has appeared on it or the brightness of the colors has faded, it is urgently (but gradually!) To change the location to a lighter one. In a critical case, the foliage will begin to fall off.
This is one of the key care points that many amateur flower growers stumble over. Grevillea is not a thermophilic crop. Even in the summer season, she prefers cool rooms and is already at + 23C begins to feel unwell. With the onset of the cold season, even such conditions for it become hot, and the culture feels best in winter in the temperature range of + 5 … + 10C. As much as possible, this segment can be adjusted up to + 8 … + 15. From here it becomes clear that in an ordinary apartment in winter the grevillea will suffer until the foliage is completely dumped.
When choosing where to put the plant, you need to choose from the coldest rooms – the entrance hall, staircase, unheated veranda, etc. Alas, there are often no such premises in the house. The loggia is not suitable for this purpose due to freezing temperatures in frosty winter. Carrying the tree back and forth is also highly discouraged.
In addition to temperature indicators, the access of fresh air is also important for the plant. It will tolerate a draft better than the stagnant stuffy air of a room.
The culture is very responsive to feeding, and this is quite logical, given the intensity of growth, which depletes the substrate and requires compensation of nutrients. When grown outdoors, top dressing can be applied every week. With room maintenance, it is enough to do this once every 2-3 weeks, and only during the active growing season. In winter, the plant does not need feeding. Of the fertilizers, it is better to give preference to universal complexes, and not to more specific compositions for decorative deciduous and flower crops. The fact is that, on the one hand, grevillea usually does not bloom at home, but on the other, it does not become a purely decorative deciduous plant from this. Consequently, the composition of nutritional complexes should not be skewed either towards nitrogen or other useful elements.
The soil structure for grevillea is very specific and is close to the requirements for bonsai. It is clayey soil, which, nevertheless, is rather loose and permeable. It should contain a significant percentage of humus at high pH values (acidic reaction). It’s not easy to compose it yourself, so you should pay attention to ready-made substrates for bonsai. They are sold either in specialized stores or from manufacturers with a wide range of soil formulations on offer.
As a last resort, you can try and prepare the soil mixture yourself. For this, coniferous land is taken, 2 times less leafy land and high peat and 4 times less sand are added to it. Fine-grained brick chips are added to the resulting mixture.
Grevillea does not like large planting containers, loses its splendor and begins to go into long shoots.
The plant has a pronounced period of the slow-growing season, requiring a complete correction of all agricultural techniques. Specific requirements are described separately for each item.
Pruning is needed to hold back the growth of branches and awaken dormant buds to form a lush and attractive crown. Usually pruning is done in the spring.
Up to 3 years of age, the transplant should be annual, then it is reduced to once every 2 years. Accordingly, adults who have reached their maximum size are transplanted rarely and only when necessary (for example, rotting tubs). If the bush is not transplanted in the current year, it is necessary to update the top layer of the substrate as possible. It develops poorly in the capacity “for growth”.
Grevillea from seed
Seed planting time is approximate – January-March. The soil mixture meets the requirements of mature plants. The germination temperature also meets the usual requirements – not higher than + 20C. Entrances appear very unevenly, so older seedlings should be carefully planted in the second pair of leaves. Apart from watering, no maintenance is required.
Propagation by cuttings
The best material can be obtained from undersized specimens, in which semi-mature unbranched shoots are cut for cuttings in August. For rooting, moistened sand is used, after which it is transplanted into the required substrate. Pretreatment of cuttings with root stimulants is required.
Spider mites annoy the plant more than others. The risk of infection is greatly increased if kept in extremely warm conditions or excessively dry air. Often you can get rid of the problem by simply adjusting the conditions of detention, by frequent spraying.
In-home and garden interiors, the Grevillea always plays the role of a soloist, she is never placed in a plant group. This is due not only to its bright individual appearance but also to the requirements for a spacious single growth.