Plant Guide

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z #

Categories starting with G

Growing Conditions (212)

Growing Conditions

Sunny (196), Wet (7), Dry (71), Shady (33), Exposed (45), Coastal (95)

Items starting with G

gordonia-axillaris

Gordonia axillaris

fried egg plant

Evergreen tree or large shrub with dark green foliage and attractive dappled orange brown bark, native to south-east Asia. Leathery leaves to 15 cm long with smooth, shallowly lobed or toothed margins. They turn scarlet before dropping, a few at a time throughout the year. White flowers with crepe paper-like petals and conspicuous yellow stamens, 12 cm wide, during midwinter and early spring. Flowers drop before browning, with the stamens facing upwards, resembling a carpet of fried eggs.

Gordonia axillaris belongs to the Theaceae, the tea family (same family as camellia). It has been renamed Franklinia axillaris, but is also known as Polyspora axillaris.

Prefers a partially shaded position in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Happy in full sun as long as there is adequate moisture during dry periods. Fertlise regularly to prevent leaves from turning yellow. No pruning required or only a light prune in spring after flowering. Hardy to about -7oC.

grevillea-robusta

Grevillea robusta

silky oak, silk oak, Australian silver oak

Large evergreen tree in the Proteaceae family, native to Australia, with a pyramidal to oval crown and fern-like foliage. Golden orange flowers, arranged in 8-16 cm long, bottlebrush-like racemes, on mature trees in spring-summer. Mid to dark green, divided leaves to about 30 cm long, with silky, silvery white undersides. Widely planted for timber, shelter, and ornamental purposes. Naturalised in many regions of the world. Has become invasive in some areas, such as Hawaii, Brazil, South Africa, and parts of Australlia, where it competes with the indigenous vegetation. Contains toxins. Leaves may cause skin irritation, and can inhibit establishment of other plant species. Attracts nectar-feeding birds.

Prefers a sunny position in any well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Tolerates rather poor soils. Frost-tender when young, hardy to about -8 0C when mature. Reasonably drought tolerant once established. Suitable for coastal areas with protection from persistent, strong winds.

Beautiful tree when in flower, but needs plenty of space. It is not a tidy tree and produces quite a large amount of litter, in particular in winter just before the new leaves emerge. Young plants can be used as indoor foliage plants.

griselinia-littoralis

Griselinia littoralis

kapuka, papauma, broadleaf

Glossy bright green oval leaves 5 to 10 cm long and to 5 cm wide. Panicles of very tiny greenish flowers in spring. Occurs in forests throughout New Zealand. Grows as a tree up to 15 m high in nature, but is generally grown as a shrub or hedge in garden situations and maintained at a height of 1.5 to 4 m.

Will grow in a wide range of conditions. Prefers a sunny position, but also tolerates shade. Intolerant of excessively wet sites. Suitable for exposed areas. Quite drought tolerant once established. To keep the plant compact, prune once a year, preferably with secateurs (as opposed to pruning shears).  Hardy to -12 0C.

The fresh green foliage of Griselinia littoralis combines beautifully with divaricating plants such as Muehlenbeckia astonii, with flax-like plants and with taller grasses such as Chionochloa flavicans. Forms a good background for feature plantings, and perfect as a hedge.

griselinia-lucida

Griselinia lucida

puka, akapuka

Evergreen plant with large, glossy foliage, endemic to New Zealand where it is found in forests and coastal areas. Grows well as a shrub or tree in cultivation, but in its natural habitat, Griselinia lucida commences life as an epiphyte, perched high in tall trees, sending roots towards the ground. These roots can become quite thick and deeply furrowed. Eventually the plant may establish itself as an independent plant, but it usually  remains epiphytic and collapses when the host plant dies. The ovate to oblong leaves are thick and leathery, about 10-18 cm long and 4-10 cm wide. Leaf margins on either side are attached at different points to a 2-3 cm long petiole. Inconspicuous, male and female flowers on separate plants in spring. On female plants, the flowers are followed by 0.5-1 cm long fruits, green initially, and turning dark bluish purple to black later.

The common name 'puka' is also used for a different New Zealand native, Meryta sinclairii.

Griselinia lucida requires free-draining soil. Suitable for a position in full sun or shade. Leaves tend to be larger on plants grown in shady spots. Tolerant of wind and coastal conditions. Susceptible to Phytophtora (root rot). If the plant is sulking and its leaves are losing their gloss, dig it up, prune, and transplant (if there still are some healthy roots present) in a drier position. Prune to keep compact. Tolerates moderate frosts.

Attractive, lush foliage, perfect for a tropical themed garden. Often grown as a shrub, but can be trained to a single leader. Forms a lovely contrast with fine-leafed shrubs, such as Muehlenbeckia astonii, flax-like plants, and grasses like Chionochloa flavicans.