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Hakea laurina | Growing + Care Guide Australia

When it comes to effort-light ever-green plants, the Hakea laurina is a great option, especially for beginner growers. With remarkable deep-red blooms this Australian native adds an incredible pop and can grow in most climates.

Easy to obtain, easy to grow, here’s everything you need to know when it comes to the Hakea laurina.


Introducing the Hakea laurina

Family: Proteaceae
Genus: Hakea
Species: H. laurina
Common Name: Pin-cushion Hakea or Kodjet
Flower Colour: Cherry Red
Foliage Colour: Green
Growth Habit: Shrub from 2-5m
Flowering: Autumn to Winter

aHakea laurina is endemic to the southern coastal area's of Western Australia and tends to prefer cooler climates

If you’re looking for a fascinating Australian native flower, look no further than the Hakea laurina or the Hakea laurina dwarf variety. This fantastically featured fauna is an evergreen and sought after Australian native plant.

Hakea laurina belongs to the Proteaceae family and is a common garden and landscaping plant across Western Australia, much like the banksia varieties

Its name is derived from Latin origin, with ‘laurina’ referring to the resemblance to the leaves of Laurel. Hakea laurina has long been considered a symbol of nobility and longevity. 

Although considered a small to medium sized shrub or tree, the Hakea laurina can grow up to 6 meters in height. When it comes to its growth rate, it is a significantly fast-growing plant. 

The most alluring feature to the plant besides it’s bold, blue-green leaves is the beautiful ‘spiked’ blooms. 

Hakea laurina begins its blooming cycle during December and by Autumn you will begin to notice the bulbous blooms that can grow as big as 5 cm wide with fine white hairs. It will begin to flower during April and producers long, thin, pretty little beige and white flowers. 

The flowering buds of Hakea laurina look remarkable like a pin-cushion. Hence, it’s more common to name the Pin-cushion Hakea.

Some other names you may come across for this Hakea species include:

  • Kodjet
  • Pin-cushion Hakea

How to Grow Hakea laurina

Growing Guide for Hakea Laurina

When it comes to growing hakea pincushion in your own garden, you’ll want to ensure you choose a good, sunny spot. Should you choose a spot with more shade, it will affect the number of flowers that bloom. 

When it comes to soil, any form of soil will work as long as it is free of lime and has good drainage. Hakeas are both drought and frost tolerant, but prefer cooler climates. 

For younger plants, staking is encouraged especially as the Hakea laurina is a fairly shallow rooted plant. When it comes to propagation, seed is the most reliable and effective way. However, propagation from a cutting is also possible. 

How to Grow Hakea Pincushion from Seeds

Growing from seed is by far the easiest and best way to grow hakea pincushion. You should collect seeds directly from the plant 12 months after flowering. Here’s how you can start growing your hakea from a seed:

  • Simply remove a seed pod with a pair of gloves and secateurs. (Warning: seed pods may be a little prickly.) 
  • Place the seed pod into a paper bag and place onto your window sill in the sun. (Or place the seed pod in your oven at 180° for 10 minutes.) 
  • The heat will cause the seed pod to crack and reveal many small seeds inside. 
  • Pour the revealed seeds into a seedling tray with fresh potting mix. 
  • Be sure to keep the soil moist. Germination will take 2 to 3 months. 
  • Then, transplant into the ground or into a pot. 

When transplanting, be sure to do so during Autumn or Winter. 

Growing Hakea laurina from Cuttings

This is not the most recommended way to propagate hakea as it is far more difficult. Here’s how you can propagate hakea from a cutting should you want to: 

  • Use a grafting knife to remove a cutting of about 75-100mm in length. 
  • Carefully remove all leave from the lower 2/3 of the stem. 
  • ‘Wound’ the lower part of the stem by scraping off the bark with your grafting knife. 
  • Dip the base into rooting hormone and then plant into a seeding mix.

Rooting will take some time so be sure to keep an eye on your cutting and ensure the soil remains moist.

How to Take Care of Your Hakea Pincushion

Hakea laurina has long been considered a symbol of nobility and longevity

While it’s a largely no-fuss fauna once transplanted into your garden, you will want to check up on your hakea every now and then. 

It’s tough and resilient, so you won’t need to worry much during the change of season. Plus, it won’t require much fertilisation over its life-time. It is however recommended to add some slow-release fertiliser to the potting mix when planting – just to give it an additional little boost. 

Be sure to choose a phosphorous-free fertiliser. After planting be sure to keep the soil around the base of your plant well mulched, especially during the growing seasons. 


When it comes to watering your hakea, the major care will come as your plant is trying to germinate and during its first year of growth. Once your hakea is established in your garden, no un-natural watering is needed unless it is a particularly dry season. 

Again, be sure the soil is well draining, as water logged roots may cause issues and prevent growth. 


Pruning is such a vital part of plant care for most garden plants. It’s not only about regulating shape and size, but regular pruning will help to stimulate plant growth. 

It is recommended to begin to prune your hakea regularly from when the plant is young. As the Hakea laurina growth rate is quite quick, you can be quite rigorous. 

Cut back at least10 to 15 cm from tip growth when pruning. 

When it comes to the Hakea laurina dwarf variety, you’ll want to prune only 8 to 10 cm from tip growth. 

Common Hakea laurina Problems and Pests

What makes the pin-cushion hakea and dwarf Hakea laurina variety such great plants for beginner growers is that it is largely pest and disease free. 

Of course, you may come across your usual garden pests from time to time, but when it comes to Hakea laurina problems, they really are few and far between. 

What you should note is that the pin-cushion hakea is a particularly shallow rooted plant, meaning that if being planted as screening or wind-barrier, you will want to make sure you stake it at the base. 

Landscaping Application for the Hakea laurina

Fast-growing, fuss-free and incredibly beautiful – there are so many reasons to plant pin-cushion hakea or the Hakea laurina dwarf variety in your garden. 

The most common landscaping uses for the pin-cushion hakea include: 

  • For Flower Beds 
  • For Borders
  • As Hedging
  • For Screening

If in your flower beds, we would recommend cultivating a dwarf Hakea laurina variety. 

Not only will the pin-cushion hakea provide you with interesting blooms that attract birds, bees and butterflies to your garden – but, the Hakea laurina is also particularly beneficial to your soil and will inhibit soil erosion.  

Plus, during the flowering season, pin-cushion hakeas make particularly striking cut flowers.

Hakea laurina Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hakea laurina native to Australia?

H. laurina is native to Australia. The pin-cushion Hakea is found throughout south-western Australia, but naturalises well in most warm climates. Hakea are suitable for nearly all tropical and Mediterranean climates, where drainage is good, but the soil retains minerals and nutrients.

How many species of Hakea are there in Australia?

Australia is the Hakea capital of the world by a long way, with over 150 species of Hakea found on our shores. The vast majority of Hakea species in Australia grow along the eastern coast, and in the south-west of Australia.

Is Hakea laurina fast growing?

H. laurina grows between 30-50 cm per year, after the second year. In its first year, it can be slow to start, but once the roots are settled into their patch of earth, the plant kicks off and needs regular pruning to maintain a neat looking flowering hedge.

What’s the difference between grevillea and gakea?

Grevillea flowers are looser than hakea, despite them being incredibly similar in structure, and having a close resemblance in form and leaf too. Hakea flowers tend to come in bolder, blockier colours, and they flower for slightly less time, though with more impact.

How tall does Hakea laurina grow?

H. laurina can grow up to 6m tall if it is allowed to develop naturally into a tree form but will be happy if you prune it every year in spring and winter to maintain a 2-3m tall hedge.

As well as growing tall, these plants can spread out up to 5m across, meaning you only need a few mature plants to create a full and generous hedge.

What are other names for Hakea laurina?

H. laurina is also called the Pincushion hakea, a name it gets from its flowers. Pincushion hakea flowers are round, with red centres, and covered in thin styles or stamens that are produced far out from the petals to create a dense pom pom.

Can you prune Hakea laurina?

H. laurina can be pruned harshly in spring and winter to limit and shape its growth into pretty much any form, but pruning is not essential. If left to its own devices, hakea would become a gorgeous flowering tree.

Is Hakea laurina poisonous?

H. laurina is not toxic to humans or animals, but neither is it considered an edible plant. Its flowers have a very light fragrance and consumed in large quantities, the flowers and their nectar would cause mild stomach upsets.

But, H. laurina is safe for pets and humans and has no specific toxicity.

Is Hakea laurina frost tolerant?

Young Hakeas laurinas should be protected from frost, but once established they cope well with brief frosts, and even prolonged frosts at -5 to 0°C. New growth may show signs of frost damage, or rotting stems, so avoid autumn or winter pruning in cooler parts of the country.

How long does it take for Hakea laurina to flower?

H. laurina can take up to two years to begin flowering after planting in a new location. Like any plant, it takes time for roots to settle into a new home. The more you manage watering and irrigation in the first two years, the sooner it will flower, but don’t overwater!

Is Hakea laurina evergreen?

H. laurina can lose its leaves in exceptionally cold or windy winters, but it is generally an evergreen shrub or tree, and provides structural interest in the garden at any time of year.

Can you grow Hakea laurina in pots?

H. laurina like well-drained soil, but they also spread out quickly so if you do grow your Hakeas in pots, expect them to be slightly restricted and grow smaller and slower than usual.

That said, it’s still very much worth trying if you have a smaller garden and want the impact of these beautiful native plants in your own backyard.

Hakea Laurina Growing & Care Guide Australia

Hakea laurina Growing Guide Conclusion

So, there you have it. Everything you’ll need to know to grow and care for your gorgeous pin-cushion hakea or Hakea laurina dwarf plant. 

When it comes to Hakea laurina problems, you won’t need to look out for much except keeping your soil well-draining and well-mulched. Be sure to consider staking your hakea if being used as a screening plant or if being planted anywhere with particularly strong winds. 

More so, with the Hakea laurina growth rate being so fast, and propagation particularly easy, you can have beautiful blooming hakea plants all around your garden. 

For those with a green thumb, or those just starting out – planting Hakea laurina, an eccentric and striking Australian native, is the easiest way to add a pop of colour and excitement to your garden. 

Last Updated on March 30, 2024

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About the author 

Nathan Schwartz

Hey, I'm Nathan Schwartz, team member at Aussie Green Thumb since 2020. I have a passion for edible plants and Australian native plants, both in the garden and in the Aussie bush.

As an avid traveller and camper, I love seeing the different landscapes and flora that Australia has to offer, and try to incorporate this into my own daily living.

Whether I am living on the road, in an apartment or have a big backyard working with practical and usable gardens in small spaces is my specialty.

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  1. AN ATTRACTIVE WEEPING FORMAT, ITS A PITY YOU DO HAVE A FULL GROWN SPECIMEN TI SHOW.i have TWO IN MY garden but they are not flowering at present

  2. I bought a Hakea Laurina as a feature plant in my garden based on the information on the back of the plant name which says grow in full sun or part shade. I now have a 3 meter tall shrub that has never flowered. Is there anything I can do other than try to move it into a different position and is this even possible?
    I appreciate any advice you have.

    Cheers, Lyn

  3. I live in East Bentleigh, Melbourne, and have had my lovely hakea laurina for many years and, rather than upright, it sprawls across garden bed and lawn, flowering each year. I have never needed to water it as, up until this current (2013) drought, we have had sufficient rain from time to time. It is in a well-drained, sunny spot. It is now dying and I can’t understand why. I now bucket water it where I think the base is (under a lot of agapanthus and long grass) but to no avail. We have had some humidity in the last few weeks and I sense this is the problem, as a few of the leaves are brown-tinted or spotted. It has thrived in all conditions, but I have never known Melbourne to be so humid as in past weeks. Can anyone help?

  4. Hi.

    Just lost one of these, after it finally fell victim to (a) dry rot, and (b) wind, one stomy night recently. Always flowered profically. Shame, shame.

    Meantime, we had stripped some seed pods off and sat them on the top of the body of our wood fire. Many opened within 24 hours and we harvested the single seed.

    Have now noted the comment you made re free draining soil. Um, where it was was heavy clay. New postition will be free draining.

    Question one… We can't source the dwarf variety, so have bought the standard size. If I cut the top out (at the correct time) can I prevent the plant going WAY up?

    Question two…If a seed pod forms, how old should it be before the seed is viable?

    Question three…What sort of seed mix is best and how long should the seed sit, before planting?

    Thanks, regards

  5. Hey Nick,

    Thank you for your questions! Glad to hear you managed to harvest a seed from your hakea laurina before it died. They’re pretty hardy and adaptable native plants, so while they can tolerate clay, the new position in free draining soil should get you great results.

    It is possible to keep the standard variety at a shorter height by pruning it vigorously, taking 10-15cm of tip growth off (or even up to 20cm off) after flowering each year. Pruning should generally focus on soft new growth, but to keep the plant on the smaller side you can prune the woody, older growth too. This can stop that section from re-sprouting, so be careful in selecting where you prune back.

    As for the seeds, you can collect them 12 months after the flowering season (so, just before the new flowers start blooming) for it to be viable. Simply keep them in a paper bag on a sunny windowsill until the pods crack open, put them in the oven at 180 degrees C for 10 minutes, or place them in a warm spot by a fire as you did.

    You can use any germination soil mix from your local nursery, but we recommend a mix of 80-85% washed river sand and 15-20% peat moss for the best results. Keep the soil moist at all times (we like to use a spray bottle rather than flushing water through the pot), out of the wind or cold, and in a spot where it gets a little sunshine.

    You can also help promote germination using a method called smoke germination, as Aussie plants love a good fire. You can simulate a bushfire at home by keeping it within range of your barbie (not too close, but near the drift of the smoke) or even adding a little ash from a wood fire to the top of the soil.

    Once germinated, which can take 2-3 months, give the plant some time to grow and settle into the container. This should take about 4 months, but this period can be shorter over the warm growing season and slower over the cool months. When you start to see strong, new growth, it’s ready for transplanting.

    I hope that answers your questions!


  6. Hi there, love your site. I have been trying to grow hakea laurina for many years in different gardens and differed locations. I don't seem to have any luck. One a planted just recently has developed brown patches on the leaves, any idea what this is? drainage issue perhaps or a fungus? I have no idea. Thanks

  7. Hi Clint.

    A comment from my local nursery was to the effect that there is no guarantee that seeds gathered, as I have, will still retain the color of the parent "pin cushion".

    Comment please. Still waiting for the local weather to warm a little before planting seeds I also have a single (we lost one) acacia "Scarlet blaze".

    Can I and, how, might I strike cuttings and a what time of the year. They are apparently, "as rare as hens teeth" to obtain.

    Yellow acacia are the norm, common as, but red….



  8. Hi,

    Thank you so much for getting back in touch! Yes, there is no certainty that the plant will be the same colour as the parent, but the likelihood is good that it will resemble the parent pin cushion, so it’s worth a try.

    For taking a cutting, it’s best to cut soft, new growth when it reaches about 10cm long but before it gets too woody. This tends to be around December to March. It’s recommended that you take a few cuttings as they don’t have a very high success rate unless you’re really lucky.

    Once you have taken the cutting, dip it into a rooting hormone solution or powder and place it in a mix of bark chips and river sand (or sand from where your current hakea laurina is growing).

    The mix should be kept moist but drain easily. Rooting can take 5-6 weeks, and you can transplant them once new growth starts to appear.
    You can try this technique with woodier cuttings, but the success rate isn’t very high.

    Keep us posted on how your project goes – wishing you every success!

    Kind regards,

    The Aussie Green Thumb Team

  9. Hi Karen,

    Thank you for your question!

    If it’s been quite humid or the soil is very wet, this is likely a fungal issue, which is very common in spring or autumn. Young and newly transplanted hakeas are especially vulnerable because no matter how gentle you are while planting, the plant does experience some stress that can affect its overall health.

    First, we recommend that you check to make sure the soil is draining properly. New hakeas need the soil to stay moist, but never waterlogged and they’ll become more drought-tolerant after a year or so.

    If the soil is holding a lot of water, you should stop watering and consider gently lifting the plant out, adding lots of bark chips and river sand to the bed, and replanting it. Post-transplant, or if the soil is draining well, you will need to address the fungus itself.

    We recommend:

    Anti-Rot Fungicide
    Garden Safe Neem Oil
    Propiconazole 83013365
    Eco-Organic Garden Fungicide

    These should be applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions according to dosage, frequency and application technique, and should help clean up the fungus quickly and restore your hakea’s health.

    I hope that answers your questions!

    The AGT Team

  10. I’ve had a Hakea laurina in my garden for about five years.
    No sigh of flowering until last year (2020)
    Buds appeared however they never opened, they have stayed on the bush all winter.
    They’re still there, Any clue as to why this is happening?

  11. Hi Noelene,

    Thank you for your question! Chances are that there is something environmental affecting your hakea laurina that’s preventing it from flowering.

    This can include:
    • Insufficient sunshine – Hakea laurina love sunshine and there’s no such thing as too many hours of sunlight. Even partial shade can affect flowering, causing sparse or unformed buds, and the plant will grow more slender and sparsely than those in full sun.

    • Frost – Although they are native plants and quite hardy, frost can damage the tips of the branches where the blooms start to form, preventing them from fully emerging or properly growing. If you live in an area where you get frosts, it’s better to cover your hakea with a frost cover that lets in plenty of sunshine and air.

    • Fertiliser – Native plants don’t react well to fertiliser, and if the fertiliser has nitrogen in it, this can damage the plant, affect blooming, and even kill it. It’s best to only use a native-friendly fertiliser, or organic compost – and even then use it only sparingly. Keep in mind that even if you give nitrogen fertiliser only to other plants, it may run off in the rain and get into the soil by your hakea.

    • Water – Since your hakea is 5 years old, it should have a well-established root system. They’re well-adapted to the natural climate and dry weather, so don’t water it too often and make sure the soil is draining well. Soggy roots and too much water can damage the growth of these plants and affect the flower buds, so it’s best to stick to natural rainfall and only water during periods of very hot or dry weather. In fact, a little stress is fundamental in pushing these plants to flower well.

    We hope that answers your question and that your hakea starts rewarding you with beautiful, abundant blooms soon!


  12. I have a 2 year established Hakea Laurina that is suddenly dying. I have found out that the vicinity of the the tree has been used as a makeshift latrine as it is away from the house and near the boundary fence. I guess that my question is does urine contain elements that may damage the Hakea?

  13. Hi,

    My Hakea Laurina has taken a turn for the worst over the last few weeks and i think it is dying.

    It is about 6 meters tall and has been in my garden for at least 10 years. I am located in canning vale western australia. We have had quite a few very hot days recently and i think that this might be the cause.

    Can you tell me what i can do to bring it back form the brink, if it's not too late?


  14. Hi there Jamie,

    Yes, unfortunately, the urine from the latrine may be damaging your Hakea Laurina.

    Urine contains high levels of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus which can be healthy for some plants. However, for natives like your Laurina, phosphorus can be toxic in large quantities as the plant is very sensitive to this chemical.

    You could consider moving yours to a raised bed which allows you to control the soil contents better. You can also avoid contaminants more effectively this way.

    There is no immediate fix for lowering phosphorus levels in the soil. However, there are a few options that could pep your plant back to life.

    Adding phosphorus-free fertiliser as the nitrogen and potassium content can help restore the balance of the soil. Spray foliar zinc and iron on your Hakea for four weeks.

    Plant a few phosphorus neutralising plants around your Laurina like peas and beans.

    Best regards,

    Gary Clarke

  15. Hi Peter,

    There could be multiple reasons as to why your plant has suddenly taken a turn for the worst. Firstly, the hotter weather the plant experienced could be the cause. It is common in Western Australia for plants to suddenly take ill once a hot spell hits.

    This is normally due to the roots having an existing fungal infection so the plant cannot soak up enough moisture or nutrients anymore when it is too hot. If you think your plant may have a fungal infection, then first try completely drying the soil out or replanting to see if the roots are infected.

    Should your Hakea be showing signs of Phytophthora Fungus, then unfortunately there is not much hope for your plant and it will need to be destroyed to prevent the fungus from spreading to nearby plants.

    To be sure you can always conduct a Phytophthora rapid test. Thereafter, you can try watering your plant more frequently as these hardy natives can recover from drying out.

    If the leaves are yellowing, this could indicate that the phosphorus content in the soil is too high. There is no quick fix for lowering phosphorus levels in the soil. However, there are a few things you can do to help bring your Laurina back to life:

    1. Adding phosphorus-free fertiliser. The nitrogen and potassium content can help restore the balance of the soil.
    2. Spray foliar zinc and iron on your Hakea for four weeks.
    3. Plant a few phosphorus neutralising plants around your Laurina like peas and beans.

    Best regards,

    Gary Clarke

  16. Hi Mishka,

    Thanks for the question.

    It’s hard to give you a definitive answer as it depends on how big and established your seedling is, what conditions is it growing in and what will the soil and lighting conditions be like once you’ve transplanted your hakea.

    However, when growing from seedlings, it can take up to two years until your pincushion is large enough to plant in the garden and begin its flowering process. Thereafter, it will take another few months for the plant to settle and establish itself in its new home.

    Only then can you expect flowering to occur. These plants can live for over 20 years in the right conditions so patience is certainly a part of the journey to prolific flowering. Once your hakea begins to flower, this will usually occur between April and the end of August.

    We hope this helped.

    Happy gardening!

    Gary Clarke

  17. My mature pin cushion Hakea has light brown leaves with black spots all over the tree after a wet, humid summer. Any advice?

  18. Hi Wendy,

    Any standard fungal spray should help, but they can sometimes just recover with a good winter. We had a really rough looking Hakea here (still do thankfully), after the same sort of winter, and those leaves shook off (literally – we just shook the plant after a dry week and the bad leaves dropped off). The next set of leaves that came through were fine and it’s had no issues since.

    Mature plants are more resilient than we give them credit for. If you want to play it safe though, a general anti-fungal spray should help to stop it from spreading by drying up any spores that are still present. Or DIY it – mix baking soda with water. It works the same way without the chemicals but is, admittedly, less effective.

    Best regards,

    Nathan Schwartz

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