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Products > Greyia sutherlandii
Greyia sutherlandii - Natal Bottlebrush

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Greyia sutherlandii
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Greyiaceae
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 6-10 feet
Width: 6-12 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Greyia sutherlandii (Natal Bottlebrush) - A large deciduous shrub or small tree to 6 to 9+ feet tall and as wide. On swollen branches are borne broad leathery heart-shaped leaves to 4 inches long with serrated edges that are reminiscent of a large geranium leaf. Leaves often have red tinges by fall. In late winter and early spring emerge the spikes of brilliant scarlet flowers that are held in cylindrical masses to 5 inches long by 4 inches wide at the tips of the branches. The flowers, which have waxy bright red 1/2 inch long petals and protruding stamens bearing yellow pollen emerge prior to or around the same time as new leaves. Plant in full sun and water occasionally if at all in summer months as it is a drought tolerant plant - an old specimen at Franceschi Park in Santa Barbara has survived years without any irrigation and was the source of seed for us for many years. This plant also tolerates heavy soils and temperatures down to around 25 degrees F. This is an interesting and attractive plant in the garden and the flowers of Natal Bottlebrush are good cut for flower arranging. It comes from the eastern Cape, Natal and the Transvaal areas of South Africa. The genus was named to honor Sir George Grey, governor of the Cape Colony and the specific epithet honors Dr. Peter Cormack Sutherland, a Scottish physician and the person who first delivered a specimen of this plant back to England in 1850. We first grew this plant in 1986 but discontinued in 1989 then grew it again between 2004 and 2010. We love this outrageous looking plant when in bloom but it often holds older leaves so looks a bit rough at other times. Likely we will grow it again if we get enough requests and can get some fresh seed. Our thanks go out to John Bleck who first introduced us to the cultivated specimen he had at UCSB Biology greenhouse and to Dylan Hannon of the Huntington Botanic Garden who provided us with seed for some of our crops.  The information presented on this page is based on research that we have conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also consider observations we have made of it growing in the nursery's garden and in other gardens we have visited, as well how it performs in our nursery crops out in the field. We will incorporate comments that we receive from others as well and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they have knowledge of cultural information that would aid others in growing Greyia sutherlandii.