A little bit about New South Wales Christmas bush
One plant that’s always perfectly dressed to celebrate an Aussie Christmas is the New South Wales Christmas bush. In early summer, this shapely native shrub’s small creamy-white flowers give way to showy red or pink bracts. Together with pretty, shiny, soft foliage, it’s no wonder this plant is a florist favourite during the festive season. The best time to pick your favourite variety is when the calyx ripens and colours brightly, between November and December.
Popular varieties include ‘Albery’s Red’, a large shrub which delivers dependably bright red flowers. ‘Red, Red, Red Christmas’ boasts bracts that turn a darker shade of red as they age. While the dwarf ‘Johanna’s Christmas’ stays up to three metres in height and width.
Botanical name: Ceratopetalum gummiferum
Height: 3 – 6 metres Width: 1.8 – 3 metres
Ideal spot: New South Wales Christmas bush enjoys full sun or a partly shaded spot. It prefers a sandy, well-draining soil, so if you have clay soil, make sure to dig through gypsum and a good garden mix. It will do better in a spot where it has some protection from the wind.
Where to grow New South Wales Christmas bush? You can plant a New South Wales Christmas bush in a pot or in the ground.
When does New South Wales Christmas bush bloom? New South Wales Christmas bush flowers in spring, when it produces creamy-white flowers. Once the flowering is finished, the bracts remain on the tree developing their distinctive red colour from November and through the Christmas period, until February.
How to prepare soil for planting?
Enrich the soil with compost or manure and a handful of blood and bone or complete fertiliser.
After pruning in January/February, mulch with well-rotted compost or manure, plus a dressing of blood and bone, and water well. A scattering of sulphate of iron (100g per plant) around the plant, followed by a good watering, may improve the colour next season.
New South Wales Christmas bush loves a light prune in January or February or as soon as the display of red bracts has finished. Don’t be afraid to cut large sprays for an amazing indoor display. For dense flowering wood next season, prune flowering new wood only. Do not cut into old or hard wood.
Leaf-curling psyllids and scale can attack New South Wales Christmas bush. Spray with eco-oil or white oil.
Water regularly in spring and summer.