Adenanthos is a genus of about 30 species in the Protea family (Proteaceae). Most occur in south Western Australia but one species is found on Kangaroo Island and another occurs in South Australia and western Victoria. Few members of the genus are seen in cultivation.
A.obovatus is the best known species and has been in cultivation for many years. It is a shrub to about 2 metres high by about 1.5 metres wide with bright green leaves to about 20 mm long. The red flowers occur singly in the leaf axils and are seen over a long period between winter and early summer.
Despite its natural habitat in a dry summer climate, A.obovatus has been successfully cultivated in a range of climates including those with humid summer conditions which are often unsuitable for plants from the south-west. It prefers well drained, light soils in full sun or dappled shade. The flowers produce nectar and attract honeyeating birds.
Propagation is reasonably easy from cuttings using firm, current season’s growth.
Photo: Brian Walters