Real World Gardener Grass Trees are Plant of the Week

July 15th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


Grass Trees Xanthorhhoea species

Grasses of all kinds are an essential design element in your garden.

You have grasses for your lawn of course, then there’s ornamental grasses that give you height and a different effect, but there’s also trees with grassy leaves that can act as a standout feature in your garden.

Grass trees in Western Australia. photo M Cannon


Let’s find out more. I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal  and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

Many, grass trees develop an above ground stem which is rough-surfaced, built from accumulated leaf-bases around the secondarily thickened trunk.

Xanthorrhoeae species photo M. Cannon

The trunk is sometimes unbranched, or branched if the growing point is damaged, and others naturally grow numerous branches.

Flowers occur along a long spike above a bare section called a scape; the total length can be up to four metres long in some species.

Flowering is usually in Spring but can be stimulated by bushfire.


Xanthorrhoeae glauca only grows one to two centimetres a year and can take 30 years to get a significant trunk.

Grass trees are frost tolerant to -80 C.


When planting out into the garden be very careful how you handle the root ball.

Some recommend planting on top of a mound. DON’T DISTURB THE ROOTS.


In its natural environment

Many horticulturalists recommend cutting and slowly pulling away the plastic pot and carefully placing into a pre dug hole.


There were some great tips from Karen and Jeremy, particularly about looking for the tag or certificate that should be attached to each grass tree that’s for sale.

NPWS tags are required for all plants acquired from wild sources under wild harvester and approved harvester licences.

Growers definitely require NPWS tags for species, such as Xanthorrhoea, in larger size classes.




Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App