Stenocarpus sinuatus

firewheel tree
Elegant, upright, and slow-growing. Variable-shape leathery evergreen leaves. Blooms at maturity with showy red-orange flowers arranged like a wheel.
Stenocarpus sinuatusStenocarpus sinuatus
height 10–25ft
width 6–15ft
tolerates Heat, Pots
This tree should be watered deeply and regularly (when the top couple of inches of soil has dried). Usually this will mean once every week or two during dry weather. A few years after the tree has been planted, once it is established, you can likely cut back to deep infrequent waterings. Use drippers, emitters a slow stream of water so that it does not run off; allow the water to trickle all the way down through the deepest layers of soil.

Often a tree will tap into groundwater and need less watering or none at all, once established.

A great trick for watering street trees is to drill a one-eight inch hole on the bottom edge of a 5-gallon bucket, then set the bucket with the hole aligned next to the tree and fill the bucket with water. Fill once for a 1-5 gallon plant, fill twice for a 7-15 gallon plant, three times for 25g or larger plants. Propping the bucket up on bricks will help it drain faster, if needed.
exposure Part Shade – Full Sun
In or Out
drainage In Ground: Planting Mix, In Pots: Potting Soil
fertilizing All Purpose 1/2 Strength, Low Needs
origin E Australia

Sunset Zones Map


Growing Notes

Some growers report that this plant should be grown like other proteaceae with no phosphorous. We have not had that experience. One of our staff tried growing a couple in one of our gardens and, without fertilizer, they remained stunted and miserable for years. Once we began applying a composted manure topdressing in the fall they started growing at a moderate pace. Though this plant is low needs, in rich loamy soil, if you find it stunted or the leaves begin yellowing it may need some supplemental all purpose fertilizer at half strength, or a topdressing of manure and compost.
Believe it or not this tree can reach one hundred feet tall (or even taller!) in its rainforest habitat. We’ve never seen one in a garden anywhere near that height and so our height here reflects what you can expect to see in your garden.
While this plant tolerates heat, it doesn’t do well in a hot low humidity environment beyond the edges of Californias marine layer.

Special Interest

If you would like to see a beautiful fire wheel tree please come by and see the one we’ve had in front of our San Francisco store for over a decade! We almost never water it and it blooms consistently every year, putting on quite the show.

Some report that this tree can be grown indoors! We haven’t seen it yet, but WOW, just imagine. If you try this tree indoors please report back!