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Aussie native loves California climate

Life After Lawn: Hummingbird bush is a low-growing evergreen grevillea from Australia that’s at home in California’s climate.
Life After Lawn: Hummingbird bush is a low-growing evergreen grevillea from Australia that’s at home in California’s climate.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Life After Lawn” series – 45 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and ideal for drought-tolerant landscapes.

Hummingbird bush

Grevillea thelemanniana “Gilded Dragon”

Size: Mounding to 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

Bloom season: In late fall and winter, dark red flower clusters send out “spidery” pistils (female parts) with bright yellow green tips.

Exposure: Full sun or partial shade.

Pruning needs: Prune to shape when young.

Water needs: Low; once established, water deeply once or twice a month.

Snapshot: Expect to hear more about grevilleas, a diverse and beautiful group of Australian natives. Nicknamed hummingbird bush, this low-growing, evergreen shrub features silver-gray foliage and stunning dark red flowers winter into spring. Those unusual flowers are nectar-rich and will attract lots of hummingbirds, as its name implies. Graceful branches form a rounded and attractive plant. It’s surprisingly tolerant of some shade, making hummingbird bush a good choice for those spots that get shade part of the day.

For more on “Life After Lawn,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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