Common name: Fern-like Banksia, Southern Blechnum Banksia


Fern-like Banksia, Southern Blechnum Banksia (Banksia blechnifolia). Photo: BGPA.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Banksia - after 18th century Botanist Sir Joseph Banks

blechnifolia - from the Latin blechnum, a fern, and folium meaning leaf; referring to the leaves being similar to the fronds of the fern genus Blechnum.


This is an ornamental prostrate shrub with horizontal branches spreading along the ground and leathery, deeply lobed foliage held vertically up to 0.5 metre high. Its upright and showy, cylindrical flowers occur at ground level mainly in spring and range in colour from dusky pink or red, cream, rusty orange and brown. The hairy new growth is also a feature and can be dusky pink, red or rust coloured.

Banksia blechnifolia can form a dense ground cover and is suited to growing around the base of more upright shrubs, on an embankment, or creeping over a retaining wall to display the flowers. It has low maintenance requirements and is relatively drought tolerant, although watering during the establishment phase and dry periods will promote more rapid growth.

Horticultural tips

  • The Fern-like Banksia is propagated from seed and is relatively hardy in cultivation, preferring sandy or other well drained soils that are neutral to slightly acidic.
  • Planting in an open sunny position promotes the best flowering but dappled shade is also suitable.
  • Requires little to no pruning except for removal of spent cones to help promote more flowering.
  • Fertilise at planting with an 8-9 month slow release, low phosphorus fertiliser and then annually in spring.

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park to see Banksia blechnifolia growing in the Western Australian Botanic Garden in the Banksia garden (refer to map).

Want more information?

Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.

Banksia blechnifolia fern-like appearance. Photo: D. Blumer. Banksia blechnifolia in its habitat in Kings Park. Photo: D. Blumer. Banksia blechnifolia shapely bud. Photo: D. Blumer.

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Part of the Western Path between Monash Avenue and Aberdare Road will be closed from Monday, 8 February 2021 due to construction works on The Kids’ Bridge, pedestrian detours will be in place.

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Farewell and thank you Grady and Lesley

The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) would like to extend a sincere thank you and farewell to two of our longest serving staff members, Lesley Hammersley and Grady Brand who will retire from the Authority in December 2020.

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