Chamelaucium, commonly known as waxflower belong to the myrtle family Myrtaceae and have flowers similar to those of the tea-trees (Leptospermum). The leaves are tiny to medium-sized and arranged oppositely on the stems.
They contain oil glands and are aromatic, often giving off a pleasant aroma when crushed. The flowers are small and have five petals, ten stamens, and are followed by small hardened fruit.
Waxflower plants are native to Australia and make excellent border plants in the hot, dry regions of North America. As part of the xeriscape or drought tolerant garden, this perennial can’t be beat for consistent bloom, ease of care and tolerant nature.
There are even cultivars recently released that are frost hardy down to 27 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 C.). Chamelaucium growing conditions include full sun, well-draining soil and low moisture.
Chamelaucium waxflower makes a fast-growing, thick shrub of 4 to 6 feet in height with a similar spread. Flowers are usually deep purple to red with bright, shiny, berry-like buds arranged in open sprays along the ends of the stems.
Foliage is deep green, evergreen and narrow, almost needle-like. Stems are attractively tinted red where leaves stand out against the hue.
Blooms may attain ½ inch in diameter and persist for weeks. While the traditional form blooms in winter, there are now several hybrids from which to select with differing bloom periods and tones from pink, red and white, often on the same plant.
Blooming stems can be cut for floral displays at any time. Chamelaucium needs little extra food. Its native soil is low in nutrients and commercial fertilizers might actually harm the plant.
Use organic mulch as part of Chamelaucium waxflower care, to protect the root zone from cold, prevent weeds and gradually release needed nutrients.
It is possible to plant a waxflower in any season, save for winter. This makes it easy for gardeners to plant when the garden is prepared. Spring and autumn are often recommended for the best planting times.
Soil may need to be prepared before any of the plants can be planted. Organic matter is a top additive to provide moisture and nutrients.
It can also help to encourage good drainage of the soil in gardens.
For warmer climates, sandy soil may be preferred by the waxflowers. If the soil does not contain sand, it can be added to the garden. The balance of sand should be controlled for the best growth possible.
Fertilizers are often used about three weeks after initial planting. Depending on plant condition, it may need reapplied during growing. Bloom enhancers may also be used to encourage stronger flowering.
Watering is not as great of a concern as many are drought resistant. A lack of water can decrease the amount of blooms that will form. Care should be taken to avoid over watering as it promotes decay.