Garden advice – mistletoe, grevillea allergies, hedges and daisy seeds

By Glenda Browne

Glenda Browne summarises recent queries to our APS NSW office on different aspects of gardening with native plants.

Sourcing mistletoe seed or fruit

Q: Can you tell me where I could source Australian mistletoe seed and or fruit? I have drawn a blank on my end after extensive searching online.  I am looking to populate my property with wire-leaf mistletoe (Amyema preissii).

A: I do not know of any group selling or growing mistletoes.  I think it would be a matter of going back to basics and harvesting the seed and growing it yourself.

Indeed, mistletoes are not appreciated by many people because they blame them for killing the parent trees. Finding mistletoe seed is only part of the story because you also have to grow the species of wattle that wire-leaf mistletoe grows on. It will be easier if you already have the parent shrubs/trees. An interesting project and best of luck.

See more information on mistletoes here – a book review and talk by Peter Vaughn on our YouTube channel.

Grevillea allergic reactions

Q: I have just experienced an intense allergic reaction to a ground cover grevillea. It has spiked leaves. Please advise about grevilleas and allergies.

A: There is an extensive and well-documented literature on grevilleas causing contact dermatitis and rashes associated with the hairs. Species most likely to cause this problem to tender areas of skin are those in the toothbrush flower group and the tropical hybrids. Grevillea petrophiloides and related species are also notorious. Some people are affected worse than others and there are apocryphal stories of people being affected when walking past the plants without even touching.

Native hedges

Q: I’m looking for a native plant to use as a hedge to keep around 2.5 m high and 1.5 m wide. I have been recommended Callistemon pallidus ‘Lemon’. I was thinking Leptospermum ‘Burgundy’ or ‘Freya’. Full sun to partial shade most of the year with slightly clay soil. What would be your recommendations? Having something useful such as bush tucker would be a bonus. I am located in the Yarra Valley (Victoria), with some frost and hot summers.

A: Angus Stewart’s site www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/anguss-top-ten-australian-plants-for-hedges  has some good suggestions. The syzygiums are a good source of edible fruit for making jams etc.

Also consider Eleocarpus reticulatus (blueberry ash), a tree which can be pruned to make it bushy, the clumping Gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa) and Callistemon ‘All Aglow’. Melaleuca species also make good hedge plants.

pink flowers
Elaeocarpus reticulatus flowers

Growing daisy/everlasting flowers

Q: Can you help me with seed of several daisy flowers or tell me where I can buy it?

A: Nindethana are well known suppliers of Australian plants seed. For people in Australia, the seed is everywhere and, depending on which species is sought, readily available. If seed comes from gardens with mixed paper daisy plantings there can be problems with hybridisation, but some interesting forms and colours can result. If pure forms of a plant from a garden are sought, then producing them from cuttings is the best way to go.

We also have information on places to buy seeds and plants on our website here.


Thanks to John Aitken, Mark Abell, Ralph Cartwright, Rhonda Daniels, Alix Goodwin, Heather Miles, John Nevin, Merle Thompson, Dick Turner and our external correspondents.