Banksia speciosa at UCSC Arboretum

Banksia speciosa

This is a large shrub or small tree, potentially growing to 25′, but often smaller in cultivation. The leaves are thick, leathery, silver-grey (tomentose) underneath and a rich dark green on top and can be 1 foot long. They are divided into many lobes creating an opposing saw-tooth pattern each side of the midrib. New foliage clothed with brown hairs. The flowers are cream to pale yellow up to 1′ long, and the cones persist on the plant.

Pronunciation: BANGK-see-a spee-see-OH-suh

Species Meaning: from the Latin word 'speciosus' meaning showy

Banksia speciosa is native to Western Australia.


  • Banksia speciosa at UCSC Arboretum

Cultivation Notes

Plant in full sun and irrigate only occasionally to very little. Hardy to 20-25 degrees F. This plant can be susceptible to root rot so it is always best planted in well-drained soils and water withheld in summer months. Tolerates near coastal conditions but needs some protection from direct salt spray and wind exposure.

Propagation Notes

All 3 sprouting and growing well.

Lost one. May have become too dry. The other two are now in the greenhouse doing well.

Aug 2020 update. Two plants continue to do well. One now planted in Gondwana and doing very well. The other one is struggling because I think it needed more regular water. It may revive now that the fall rains have started.

Aug 2021 update. The plant in Gondwana is no more. A new flush of growth was happening towards the end of summer and then suddenly the plant browned and died. It either needed more water, which was provided but perhaps too  late, or there was evidence of some burrowing creature that may have damaged the roots.

In Our Garden

Plant ID: P20142 | Seed ID: S1801

On the top tier of Gondwana in the center.

Family: Proteaceae

Genus: Banksia

Species: speciosa

Commonly known as: Showy Banksia, Ricrac Banksia

Height: 10ft to 15ft

Spread: >10ft

Growth Habit:
Sun Needs:
Full Sun
Soil Type:
Season of Interest:
Zn9a - down to 20F

Resistant to Deer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.