Grevillea 'Bonfire'


Family: Proteaceae

Grevillea ‘Bonfire’ is said to be an upright shrub reaching a height of 5 metres with a spread of 3 metres or more.

The hybrid arose as a chance seedling in the gardens of the Austraflora Nursery, Victoria. The parents of this spectacular hybrid are G. johnsonii and G. wilsonii. The former parent is from NSW whilst the latter is a native of Western Australia. This makes ‘Bonfire’ a transcontinental hybrid.

The leaves are dark green, very narrow and divided (pinnatisect) into 8 to 10 or more “prongs” or narrow segments. New growth has a bronze colour.

A grevillea inflorescence is technically a cluster of paired flowers, termed a conflorescence with the overall structure forming a raceme-like appearance. Grevillea species exhibit 3 main inflorescence structures:
1. A cylindrical to ovoid raceme (with flowers emerging around a 360° radius)
2. A single-sided raceme (with flowers produced on only one side, resembling a tooth-brush)
3. A condensed or clustered raceme (usually as long as it is wide, with species referred to as the spider-flowers).

Grevillea mostly produce the inflorescences at the terminals, beyond the foliage, which differs to the closely related Hakea.

This cultivar is a spider-flower with red-pink inflorescences appearing predominantly over most of the year. Inflorescences are about 8 cm wide by 4 cm long.

Individual flowers are composed of 1 carpel (female part) where the style and stigma protrude out; 4 stamens hidden away in the perianth; and the perianth (petals and sepals collectively) which connects to a pedicel. Proteaceae flowers do not have any discernible petals or sepals (having only one whorl) and so these are referred to as “tepals” of which there are 4. In this species, the perianth is up to 2 cm long; red-pink in colour.

The carpels are up to 3 cm long, red-pink in colour with a red pollen presenter.

In the garden

Grevillea ‘Bonfire’ is a spectacular plant. Foliage and flowers are attractive features. Could be grown as a “stand alone” specimen plant or incorporated in an informal hedge.

Plant in full sun on a well-draining soil for best results. Prune to control shape and form and create a denser plant.


Must be propagated from cuttings to retain ‘true to form’ types.

Other information

Grevillea is a diverse genus of about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants native to rainforest and more open habitats in Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Sulawesi and other Indonesian islands east of the Wallace Line. NSW currently has about 85 species although with a lot of subspecies and some informal taxa recognised.

Grevillea flowers were a traditional favourite among First Nations Peoples for their sweet nectar. This could be shaken onto the hand to enjoy, or into a coolamon with a little water to make a sweet drink. They might be referred to as the original “bush lollies”.

Most Grevillea species will regenerate from seed after fire but can produce copping shoots.

Grevillea – was named in honour of Charles Francis Greville (1749-1809), an 18th-century patron of botany and co-founder of the Royal Horticultural Society. He was also a British antiquarian, collector and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1774 to 1790.

‘Bonfire’ – Likely named for the colour and appearance of the inflorescences.

Gardening with Angus – Grevillea ‘Bonfire’ profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/grevillea-bonfire-grevillea/

Australian Native Plants – Grevillea ‘Bonfire’ sales page      https://www.australianplants.com/plants.aspx?id=1590

By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke