Wax flower (Chamelaucium uncinatum) is an evergreen shrub covered in needle-like leaves, with clusters of small, fragrant, pink or purple flowers appearing in spring and summer. A favourite with florists for its long-lasting blooms, wax flower is so called because its fine slender leaves have a waxy feel.
Wax flower is native to Australia, and its other common name, Geraldton wax, relates to the Western Australian town where it's found growing on heathland. It's not sufficiently hardy to grow outside all year round in the UK, although it does make a good conservatory plant, or a house plant given the right growing conditions. Unpruned plants reach around 1.8m in height but can be kept smaller with annual trimming.
How to grow wax flower
Grow wax flower in a good-sized pot of well-drained, peat-free compost, in a sunny, sheltered spot. Either keep in a conservatory or greenhouse all year round or move outside in summer if desired. Water and feed sparingly. Prune immediately after flowering if you want to restrict growth.
Where to grow wax flower
Grow wax flower in a cool, frost-free, airy spot with a dry atmosphere – areas of high humidity, such as a bathroom, should be avoided. If growing outside for summer, move indoors in early autumn, to a spot where temperatures don't drop below 5ºC but light levels remain good, a heated greenhouse or conservatory is ideal.
How to plant wax flower
Plant wax flower in a pot about two to three times the size of its original container. Use a soil-based, peat-free potting compost, with added coarse grit or perlite to ensure thorough drainage.
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How to care for wax flower
Water sparingly and avoid areas of high humidity. While in growth from spring to autumn, water only to keep the compost just moist. Through the winter months, water occasionally and allow the compost to almost dry out between waterings. While in flower, feed your wax flower monthly with a general liquid fertiliser.
In late winter or early spring, pot on into a slightly larger container, stopping when you've reached a pot size of 40cm high and wide. Thereafter, top dress annually in late winter by carefully removing the top few centimetres of compost and replacing with fresh material.
How to prune wax flower
Trim as required to maintain a balanced shape, immediately after flowering has finished. Remove any dead shoots at the same time.
Pests and diseases
Wax flower is mainly trouble free. Plants can be susceptible to root rot if growing conditions are too moist.
Advice on buying wax flower
Wax flower is an uncommon plant in the UK. It's sometimes sold along with house plants or may be found in nurseries specialising in exotic and conservatory plants
Always check plants for signs of pests and diseases before planting