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Banksia oblongifolia: Fern Leaf Banksia

Banksia oblongifolia, native to Queensland and New South Wales, is another Banksia that isn’t often seen in cultivation and home gardens. It is commonly known as the fern-leaved or rusty banksia. 

I first came across it about 10 years ago and planted it in my mother’s garden where it grew into a narrow spindly shrub about 1.5 m tall that probably only ever had about 6 flowers on it in all its life.


Growing Banksia oblongifolia in a Pot

A few months ago I was at my parent’s house and noticed they’d dug it out. My mother told me it had never really been much of a plant and only had a few branches on it. So I suppose I could understand her reasoning but I was a bit disappointed as Banksia oblongifolia was one of the few Banksia that had a lignotuber.

You see, I really like plants with lignotubers as they are so easy to regenerate when they get old and spindly. All you have to do is prune them back to the lignotuber and then let them grow back again and in many cases, they do look better the second time around. Therefore, as I said, I was disappointed that this Banksia had been dug out.

Lucky for me though, my mother quickly advised me that she’d transplanted it into a small plastic pot. 

It had about 10 original branches which were all vertical and now obviously cut off. It had one remaining juvenile branch but the lignotuber and remaining branches were all covered in buds.

Being dug up after nearly 10 years in the ground and placed in a pot hadn’t really affected it at all much. Plus, from memory, it was dug up in January or February, during summer, while it was growing. So this was a tough little Banksia indeed.

Banksia oblongifolia Lignotuber. You may be able to see the new buds forming. Therefore for the last few months it’s been growing quite happily in this pot.

By April 26 it had quite a nice canopy.

By May 15 it had thickened up even more.

So now I’m just waiting for it to flower. 

Winter is it’s normal season but I don’t think there will be any flowers this winter so I’ll just have to wait till next year. 

So as you can see, you don’t have to dig out old Australian natives and throw them away. You can either prune them back according to how they grow or you can simply transplant them, as with this Banksia.

At the end of the day I think Banksia oblongifolia looks ok just growing in a pot. I could either prune it back to expose the lignotuber more (suitable as Australian native bonsai) to make it a feature or I could just let it grow and wait for it to flower.

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