How to Grow Grewia — Lavender Starflower 

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Grewia–commonly called lavender starflower–is an evergreen shrub that bears small star-shaped mauve flowers. It is cultivated for its adaptability to a wide variety of uses. Grewia can be grown in shrub plantings. It can be trained in a tree-like shape or as an espalier. It can be trained horizontally as a ground cover. It can be grown to cover an arbor.

Grewia is best grown in full sun or light shade. It tolerates some wind but is not drought tolerant. Grewia tends to branch freely in a flat pattern. It will grow dense with some pinching and pruning.

Grewia is a genus of about 150 deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs, and climbers. Grewia are native to Australia, Africa, and Asia. The South African species, Grewia occidentalis, is most commonly grown in gardens.

Lavender star flower, Grewia
Lavender star flower, Grewia

Get to know Grewia

  • Plant type: Evergreen shrub
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 9 to 11
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 9; grow Grewia in a greenhouse where it is not hardy
  • Height and width: 6 to 20 feet (2-6m) tall and 5 to 12 feet (1.5-4m) wide, sprawling habit
  • Foliage: Deep green leaves are 3 inches long.
  • Flowers: Flowers are 1 in. wide, starlike, lavender pink with yellow center.
  • Fruit: Fleshy, 4-lobed, yellowish orange then purple fruit to 1 inch across follow flowers.
  • Bloom time: Late spring, scattered flowers in autumn
  • Uses: Shrub broder, specimen, espalier
  • Common name: Lavender starflower 
  • Botanical name: Grewia occidentalis 
  • Family name: Tiliaceae 
  • Origin: South Africa

Where to plant Grewia

  • Plant Grewia in full sun.
  • Plant Grewia in fertile, moist, but well-drained soil.

When to plant Grewia

  • Set container-grown Grewia in the garden in spring or autumn.

Planting and spacing Grewia

  • Space Grewia 5 to 12 feet (1.5-4m) apart.

How to water and feed Grewia

  • Give Grewia regular water; keep the soil just moist. Water Grewia sparingly during the winter.
  • Fertilize Grewia with a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly during the growing season.
Lavender Star Flower -- Grewia occidentalis
Lavender Star Flower — Grewia occidentalis

Grewia care

  • Stake Grewia when young to encourage upward growth, otherwise it will take on a sprawling form.
  • Grewia has a flat branching pattern which lends it to training to an espalier or arbor.
  • Grewia will grow dense foliage with pinching and pruning.

Grewia pests and diseases

  • Grewia is infrequently bothered by pests or diseases.

Grewia propagation

  • Sow seed in warm soil in spring.
  • Layer Grewia in spring.

Grewia varieties to grow

  • Grewia occidentalis. Lavender starflower. Evergreen shrub grows to 10 feet tall or more and just as wide if not pruned; 3-inch oval leaves have rounded teeth; star-shaped pink-and-purple flowers with yellow centers bloom in summer in axillary cymes; flowers are followed by 1-inch four-lobed fruits that are gold and then purple.  

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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