Wax flower - Chamelaucium uncinatum

Wax flower - Chamelaucium uncinatum

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Wax flowers

The common name of this plant, flower of wax, is due to the waxy appearance of the petals; develops a small shrub, which hardly exceeds 2-3 meters in height if grown in the ground. The botanical name is chamelaucium, the most widespread species is c. uncinatum; there are about ten species of evergreen shrubs from southern Australia.
The plants of wax flower they are rounded, with thin well-branched stems that give rise to a dense shrub; the foliage is needle-like, slightly fleshy and leathery, contains essential oils that make it very fragrant if crushed, with a hint of spice and lemon. Between the end of winter and the beginning of spring it produces innumerable small flowers, in particular at the apex of the branches; the flowers of Chamelaucium they are small, white or pink, with a saucer-shaped center, purple in color, delicately scented.
The flowers of wax flower they are very resistant even on cut twigs, and in fact it is widely used as a cut flower, and is therefore cultivated in some areas of the Mediterranean.

How to grow it

The Chamelaucium It is a fairly rustic shrub; it is planted in the garden or in a vase; it fears very cold and frosts, so in areas with very cold winters it is good to repair the plant in a cold greenhouse during the winter months. We can leave it in the garden in the open ground in the southern areas where winters are not very rigid, and where the minimum lows are hardly lowered below 2-5 ° C.
In any case, we place our wax flower in a sunny place, where it can enjoy the sun's rays for many hours a day and at any time of the year; the soil should be very well drained, so when planting it we use citrus soil, or we mix some fresh and rich substrate and some handfuls of pumice stone or sand to the garden soil to increase drainage.
It bears very well the heat and drought, although it tends to develop better if during the dry months we provide watering when the soil is well dry.
We avoid excess watering, since chamelaucium tends to be particularly sensitive to root rot.
Over the years the plant tends to grow in height, emptying itself of foliage in the lower part, and becoming untidy; to avoid this phenomenon we slightly shorten the branches after flowering in late spring.

How to propagate it

The only cultivated species of wax flower is the chamelaucium uncinatum; although it is a single species, the success of the plant as a cut flower has meant that over the years it was bred and cultivated by selecting varieties with flowers of particular colors, purple, purple, lilac and even yellow. For this reason the chamelaucium plant that we have in the garden or in the greenhouse is often a hybrid, and therefore from its seeds we might not get plants, or get shrubs with flowers completely different from those of the mother plant.
To obtain plants identical to ours, and therefore enjoy flowers with the same color and the same perfume, the best method is the cutting.

Wax flower: Talea

Unfortunately, the cuttings of chamelaucium do not take root easily and often take many weeks to root; so let us arm ourselves with patience and prepare trays containing a good soil mixed with sand and wet them thoroughly. When the cuttings bed is ready we take some small branches from the bush, choosing them from those that have not flowered; we dissect the twigs in 7-10 cm long portions and let's mix them in the previously prepared bed.
The cutting operations are carried out in spring or late summer, using the branches not yet completely lignified, which generally tend to root more easily.
We keep the container with the cuttings in a bright place, but not excessively sunny, and water them often. During the winter the young plants obtained from cuttings must be kept away from frost.


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