Of all the incredible banksias we’ve featured, the banksia integrifolia, commonly known as coast banksia, is by far one of our favourites. This curious coastal plant is a slow-growing, rugged and versatile species that offers a beautifully bright touch to your garden, almost year-round.
Bold and hardy, they’re a great option for beginner growers or in areas where other plants may not be able to cope with the salty sea spray. From origin, propagation, growth and care, here is everything you need to know.
What is Banksia Integrifolia?
The Banksia Integrifolia species is one of the best-known banksia species and grows widely along the coastlines of Victoria and Queensland.
The first of this species was identified by Sir Joseph Banks, who had collected thousands of the banksia specimens to study them more deeply. As he had so many different specimens, one of the main factors in classification had to do with the leaves.
Integrifolia has a Latin origin, Integer meaning ‘entire’ and folium meaning leaf.
Of the Proteaceae family, the banksia integrifolia is slightly more adaptable than many of its other counterparts. Known to be resistant to salty winds, frost and drought, the integrifolia species has incredibly iconic fruit and nectar-rich blooms.
How to Grow Banksia Integrifolia
The banksia integrifolia species has fantastic dark green, leathery leaves as well as bright, lemon-yellow blooms, which often attract many nectar feeders like birds, bees and butterflies.
Integrifolia plants will flower most of the year, meaning big, bold blooms throughout spring, autumn and winter.
When deciding where to grow your banksia, it’s always best to choose a sunny spot with plenty of well-draining soil. This cultivar is quite used to high acidity, so you won’t have to worry too much about PH levels.
If at all possible, grow your integrifolia near the sea. It will do well with the occasional salty spray.
Are Banksias Fast Growing?
While this particular cultivar is largely slow-growing, integrifolia plants can still reach anywhere between 4 to 15 metres throughout their life cycle.
Although slower than many of the other banksia species, once established, this species does offer distinctive foliage that makes it a great growing choice.
How Long Do Banksias Take to Grow?
When propagated from seed, it can take anywhere between 5 to 6 years for them to reach maturity. While it is absolutely easy to grow, you will need to give it a little extra care in the beginning growing stages.
Once established, however, they will require very little attention.
How to Propagate Coast Banksia Tree
When it comes to propagating banksia, propagation by seed is the safest and easiest method.
Seeds can be collected from wild-growing or garden growing banksia integrifolia plants and can be harvested throughout the year.
They will require some pre-treatment before planting to ensure that they germinate. You will need to:
- Remove a seed cone from a healthy, existing plant.
- Place the seed cone into the oven at 120°C for approximately half an hour. Be sure to check it regularly; you don’t want the seed pod to burn or cook.
- The heat will cause the seed pod to open, revealing the individual seeds inside.
- Use a sterilized pair of tweezers to remove each seed.
- Prepare a balanced, vermiculite. Seeding mix into a seeding tray and place seeds directly on top of the soil. Do not cover the seeds with any additional soil.
- Keep the soil moist until germination. It’s important to note that seeds can remain dormant for prolonged periods of time, so you’ll need to be patient.
As Banksias are highly prone to fungal infections, it’s a good idea to sterilize your potting mix before sowing.
Once you notice some growth from your seedling, at least one or two leaves, you can transplant it into a bigger pot or straight into the ground.
How to Care for Banksia Plants
The biggest benefit of banksias is that post-propagation won’t require much more attention than occasional watering. Of course, there are other things you can do to add that extra nutritional nudge.
These plants are drought-tolerant and fungus prone, so dry conditions are far more favourable than wet. Only water once every week or so, and if a very rainy season, omit completely. In the winter months, avoid watering altogether.
Overfeeding can lead to more problems than you want, so feeding really shouldn’t be a priority. It’s always a good idea to boost your soil before planting with a good, slow-release fertilizer. If you notice your leaves are starting to wilt, stop feeding.
Pruning is only needed to maintain growth and curb the spread of any major fungal infections. It’s always a good idea to prune back any damaged leaves or spent flowers once the blooming season is over.
Check out our Best Gardening Secateurs for 2021.
Pests, Problems & Diseases
Now, banksia integrifolia coastal banksia are extremely resilient and hardy as opposed to most other outdoor plants. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t run into an issue or two from time to time.
Pests won’t be your biggest concern, except some caterpillars, perhaps. However, you will need to be on the lookout for any signs of a fungal infection.
Some common conditions include:
- Grey Mould
- Shoot tip blight.
- Bacterial Leaf spot.
- Armillaria Root Rot
- Verticillium wilt
The most detrimental threat to the banksia integrifolia plant, though, is a cinnamon fungus or phytophthora cinnamon. Cinnamon dieback is a devastating ecological condition affecting thousands of Australian flora species and causing incredible damage.
If you suspect your plant may have dieback, it’s absolutely essential to remove and destroy that plant before it is able to spread the disease. Any and all tools or gloves which are used in the removal need to adequately sterilize before using them again.
Final Banksia Integrifolia Growing Tips
Banksias are known to be able to handle a variety of soil, temperature and moisture conditions, so wherever you choose to grow your banksia integrifolia, it should handle just fine. Be sure to keep it in a spot with sufficient sunlight and a well-draining medium.
Keep in mind:
- Integrifolia roots are rugged, so you can grow them in coastal gardens, as border plants or even in pots alongside your patio.
- The blooms and seed pods look great in floral arrangements, so consider cutting a few for your next barbecue.
- Less is more when it comes to banksias, if it seems to be wilt or losing leaves, cut back on watering and feeding.
Discover more of the beauty of Australian native plants with a full range of banksia trees in your garden. Check out our banksia growing guides to help you get started.