New Zealand Christmas tree | Metrosideros excelsa

The New Zealand Christmas tree, a member of the Myrtaceae family, is as the name suggests native to New Zealand where it flowers in December. The genus includes trees, shrubs and climbers. Container-grown specimens grow up to 2 in (6 ft 6 in) high. The flowers are quite small and inconspicuous with have numerous, long, crimson stamens and they are grouped in dense clusters. This vigorous-growing shrub will grow in sun as well as partial shade. Water regularly, but only with soft water. In addition, feed once a week with rhododendron fertilizer.

Tip: dry conditions in early summer promote the production of flowers. Because it is very tender, well before the first frosts it should be moved indoors to a light place with a temperature of 5-10° C (41-50° F) and taken outdoors again when there is no longer any danger of frost. Large specimens can be cut back after flowering. It is propagated from greenwood and semi-ripe cuttings from late winter to summer. It produces bushy shrubs more quickly when raised from seed.

24. September 2014 by Dave Pinkney
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