For our recent Gold Coast poolside planter-box project in Broadbeach, our choice of screening plant was the BANKSIA ROBUR or swamp banksia. This banksia was chosen because it is an attractive and hardy plant, suitable for both low hedges and pots. Growing to a little over 2 metres, the flower spikes appear usually in autumn and winter initially as bluish green but these will turn to yellow-green brush type flowers as they bloom. As it does not grow too high, it can be used as a screen without growing so high that it will block your view of the ocean. Unsurprisingly, given its name Swamp Banksia, it doesn’t mind badly draining soil. It might be the plant you are looking for to plant in a damp spot in your garden.
This variety of Banksia is so hardy, it has even been used as a root stock for less hardy varieties of Banksia. If you are in one of the frostier suburbs like Nerang or Coomera, it will tolerate a little frost now and again. Suitable for sun or part shade it will produce beautiful flowers in both. As an added bonus in your garden it will attract birds, bees and butterflies. Like most Banksias, it is an important source of nectar for birds, insects and mammals.
The attractive leaves are large and have serrated edges. This Banksia occurs naturally in swampy or sandy conditions along the East coast of Australia from Southern New South Wales all of the way up to Gladstone in Queensland. In its natural habitat it can tolerate a little bit of salt spray off the ocean. This makes it an ideal plant for the sandy dunes area of the Gold Coast, like Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach or Mermaid Beach or as a pool side plant in other suburbs. Take care not to let it dry out too much, especially when it is first getting established. A dripping system for this plant is a good idea.
The Banksia Robur gets its Latin Name Banksia after the British explorer and naturalist Joseph Banks who sailed on the Endeavour with Captain Cook. It was he who first described the species. The Robur part means “strong”.
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