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Expert Tips on Pruning Grevilleas

What you may not know is that grevilleas respond really well to regular pruning. This not only encourages a dense growth habit but will also ensure that your plants produce plenty of gorgeous blooms.

Grevilleas are one of my favourite Australian natives. I just love their gorgeous flowers in a whole rainbow of different colours. Plus, they attract plenty of birds to your garden.

Grevillea and rainbow lorikeet | Plant care

What you may not know is that grevilleas respond really well to regular pruning.

This not only encourages a dense growth habit but will also ensure that your plants produce plenty of gorgeous blooms.

When to prune grevilleas

Many top gardeners recommend pruning grevilleas in spring. This is because the plants are just about to burst into fresh new growth over the warmer months.

So, while you might have to sacrifice a few flowers if you prune your grevilleas in spring, you’ll be rewarded with an abundance of new growth and many more flowers later in the season.

Grevillea ‘Peaches and Cream | Plant care

You can also do some spot pruning during summer to remove any dead branches or to keep the abundant growth in check.

However, you should avoid pruning your grevillea during winter as the plant will be relatively dormant and may not spring back if you prune it too hard. 

If you feel inclined, you can also deadhead your grevilleas after they’ve finished flowering as long as you don’t do it in winter.

Tip: If you do happen to cut off some lovely grevilleas flowers during the spring prune, don’t throw them away. They’ll actually last quite well in a vase of water which means that you can enjoy them for a bit longer.

How to prune grevilleas

Before you even start to prune your grevilleas, make sure that you have a good pair of gardening gloves and wear long sleeves if you can. This is because grevilleas can cause skin irritation for many people.

I remember when I used to propagate grevilleas professionally, I would usually end up with irritated skin on my arms if I didn’t wear long sleeves.

It’s a good idea to start pruning your grevilleas while they’re still young as this will help to create a good growth habit. Tip pruning is recommended for this.

Grevillea 1 | Plant care

For this, you just want to cut the tips of the new growth back by about 5 to 10 cm. Continue to do this tip pruning every three months after that for around the first one or two years of growth.

You’ll be amazed at how lovely your grevilleas look if you follow this practice.

How to prune larger grevilleas

Large grevillea species like Grevillea leptobotrys can be pruned using hedge shears or even hedge trimmers. Just use your trimmers to take off the tips evenly around the plant.

This will not only promote lots of fresh new growth but will also encourage the plant to produce a profusion of blooms.

Grevillea 2 | Plant care

How to prune groundcover grevilleas

Some grevilleas such as the popular Bronze Rambler, are grown as ground covers. These are excellent for growing down banks and over walls. 

Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle | Plant care
Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’ / Photo by Akos Kokai / Wikimedia / CC BY 2.0

It’s important to tip prune grevillea ground cover varieties from a young age so that they grow nice and compact.

Once these plants are more mature, pruning can be restricted to just cutting off branches that are growing beyond where you want the plant to grow.

How to rejuvenate an older overgrown grevillea

If you’ve just moved into a new home and have inherited an older and overgrown grevillea, you can easily rejuvenate this plant by cutting it back really hard.

Grevillea Robusta | Plant care

In fact, it’s perfectly fine to cut back two-thirds or more of the growth. After this heavy prune, the plant will spring back with fresh new growth and you’ll be amazed with the result.

It’s even possible to cut the plant right back to the stump and new, lush growth will emerge from this. While this is a bit extreme, it does get results.

If you feel that this may be a bit drastic, just consider cutting back all the branches, especially any that are crossing over each other. Cut each branch to an outwardly growing bud to open up the centre of the plant.

After you’ve finished pruning, give your grevilleas a dose of low-phosphorus fertiliser. These native plants are sensitive to phosphorus, so make sure you select a fertiliser that is specially formulated for native plants.

Blood and bone is a good fertiliser for native plants such as grevilleas. This is one group of plants that you should NOT use Dynamic Lifter on.

FAQ

How hard can you cut back a Grevillea?

Grevilleas can be cut back really hard as this will totally rejuvenate them. You can cut a grevillea back to its trunk and new growth will appear in no time. Especially, if you do this in spring.

What is the lifespan of a Grevillea tree?

A grevillea tree such as Grevillea robusta, can live up to 65 years or more.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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