Chamelaucium Waxflowers are one of the most popular flowers in gardens. They have a very long life span and they grow well even in poor soil conditions. A large number of varieties exist, but only two types are commonly grown today: Chamelaucium Waxflower (C. cinnamomea) and Chamelaucium Waxflower (C. cinnamomea). Both species produce white flowers with a yellow center. These flowers are called “waxflowers” because their petals contain tiny waxy substances which give them their characteristic color.
The leaves of these plants are small and round, dark green or brownish red, and hairy at the base. They grow up to 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. The stems of these plants are slender and usually less than an inch high.
These plants need good drainage, so they do best when planted in moist soil. They will tolerate some shade, but prefer full sun. They like to be kept in the ground year-round, so they require little care once established.
They’re easy to propagate from seeds; however, it’s not advisable to sow them directly into the garden since they don’t germinate as readily as other annuals. The best way is to start the seeds indoors six weeks before the last frost and plant them outdoors when the temperature is warm. In areas with cold winters, plant them in a container that can be moved indoors when cold weather arrives.
Soil: Plant these annuals in a fertile, well-drained soil. They do not tolerate “wet feet”, so mulch well.
Water: Water frequently to maintain a uniform moisture content in the soil. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, but avoid allowing the plants to wilt.
Fertilizer: Fertilize twice a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer
Propagation: Seeds or cuttings
Weed Control: Keep well weeded around these plants, as they don’t compete well with aggressive weeds.
Pests: Rarely bothered by pests
Maintenance: Little, other than pinching back the plants to promote a fuller shape.
Zones: Early waxflower (C. cinnamomea), Zones 8-10, Sun to partial shade
modern waxflower (C. moderna), Zones 8-10, Sun to partial shade
Both are lovely with double flowers in white, red or pink and both are deciduous shrubs. They thrive in the same zones and have the same light and soil requirements. They also do well when planted together.
The main difference between these plants is their size at maturity–modern is larger than early–and the size of their flowers. The flowers of early are about 1 inch in diameter, and those of modern are about 3 inches in diameter. Early also blooms a few weeks before modern.
Both species are easy to propagate from tip cuttings. You can take cuttings from summer until fall. From fall to spring is the time to take stem cuttings. If you’re interested in waxflower plants, check with a local nursery or garden center. They might have some in stock right now.
Mint planted near waxflowers will mask the scent of the flowers and help keep away some of the more aggressive pests.
Both of these plants prefer a slightly acidic soil and need good drainage. They also like plenty of sunlight to bloom well. If you plant them in containers or window boxes, be sure to provide a fast-draining potting medium such as crushed brick or gravel with soil.
Mint planted near waxflower will mask the scent of the flowers and keep away some aggressive pests. Both do best when given infrequent waterings.
These plants prefer full sun. They can tolerate light shade, but this will result in a less dense growth and fewer blooms. They can’t tolerate sitting in water for any length of time, so if you have sandy or loose soil, you’ll need to add a layer of gravel or broken brick at the bottom of the hole before you backfill.
The waxflowers are also called “Everlasting” flowers because the dried flowers last for an extremely long time. You can use them to decorate gift books, put them in a bowl in the foyer or just scatter them around the house.
When picking the flowers, don’t pick them until you are ready to use them because they will turn brown fairly quickly. After you’ve picked them, keep them in a cool, dry place for a few weeks and then they will store for several months longer.
Here are a few tips on using them in the home:
Gather fresh flowers in the morning after the dew has dried. Gently rinse them and, if storing, seal them in a plastic bag or airtight container. Dried flowers need no special storage.
Clip the flowers with sharp pruning shears or scissors. Cut the stems at an angle, about 1/2 inch from the base of the flower.
Sources & references used in this article:
Environmental and chemical control of growth and flowering of Chamelaucium uncinatum Schauer by R Shillo, A Weiner, AH Halevy – Scientia horticulturae, 1985 – Elsevier
Development of new varieties of Australian native plants for cut flower and pot plant markets by K Seaton, G Parlevliet, M Crowhurst – VI International Symposium on …, 2007 – actahort.org
Development of in vitro plant regeneration of Australian native waxflowers (Chamelaucium spp.) via somatic embryogenesis by K Ratanasanobon, KA Seaton – Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture …, 2010 – Springer
Breeding and Development of Novel Hybrids of Waxflowers by Protoplast Fusion by AA Scalzo, AM Crowhurst, P Umaretiya… – … Symposium on New …, 2015 – actahort.org
Effects of postharvest methyl jasmonate treatments against Botrytis cinerea on Geraldton waxflower (Chamelaucium uncinatum) by JX Eyre, J Faragher, DC Joyce, PR Franz – Australian Journal of …, 2006 – CSIRO
NEW DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE CENTRE FOR AUSTRALIAN PLANTS by JA Considine, G Yan, D Hall, T Alford… – … Symposium on New …, 1999 – actahort.org
WAXFLOWER SELECTION, BREEDING AND DEVELOPMENT-AN OVERVIEW by C Newell, JA Considine, G Yan… – IV International Symposium …, 1999 – actahort.org
Waxflower selection, breeding and development-an overview. by DJ Growns, C Newell, JA Considine, GJ Yan – Acta Horticulturae, 2000 – cabdirect.org