The first evidence of a variety of nonlinear equilibrium states of travelling and stationary waves is provided in a two-dimensional granular plane Couette flow via nonlinear stability analysis. The relevant order-parameter equation, the Landau equation, has been derived for the most unstable two-dimensional perturbation of finite size. Along with the linear eigenvalue problem, the mean-flow distortion, the second harmonic, the distortion to the fundamental mode and the first Landau coefficient are calculated using a spectral-based numerical method. Two types of bifurcations, Hopf and pitchfork, that result from travelling and stationary instabilities, respectively, are analysed using the first Landau coefficient. The present bifurcation theory shows that the flow is subcritically unstable to stationary finite-amplitude perturbations of long wavelengths (kx ∼ 0, where kx is the streamwise wavenumber) in the dilute limit that evolve from subcritical shear-banding modes (kx = 0), but at large enough Couette gaps there are stationary instabilities with kx = O(1) that lead to supercritical pitchfork bifurcations. At moderate-to-large densities, in addition to supercritical shear-banding modes, there are long-wave travelling instabilities that lead to Hopf bifurcations. It is shown that both supercritical and subcritical nonlinear states exist at moderate-to-large densities that originate from the dominant stationary and travelling instabilities for which kx = O(1). Nonlinear patterns of density, velocity and granular temperature for all types of instabilities are contrasted with their linear eigenfunctions. While the supercritical solutions appear to be modulated forms of the fundamental mode, the structural features of unstable subcritical solutions are found to be significantly different from their linear counterparts. It is shown that the granular plane Couette flow is prone to nonlinear resonances in both stable and unstable regimes, the signature of which is implicated as a discontinuity in the first Landau coefficient. Our analysis identified two types of modal resonances that appear at the quadratic order in perturbation amplitude: (i) a 'mean-flow resonance' which occurs due to the interaction between a streamwise-independent shear-banding mode (kx = 0) and a linear/fundamental mode kx ≠ 0, and (ii) an exact '1 : 2 resonance' that results from the interaction between two waves with their wavenumber ratio being 1 : 2. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011.