When Christmas means summer, sun, beaches and BBQ’s the landscape around you looks a little different to the traditional fir trees and snowflakes that symbolise a northern hemisphere festive season. Sydney is the natural home to one of the most gorgeous christmas plants, the New South Wales Christmas Bush. I have been noticing a lot of NSW Christmas bush plants in the gardens around our new place, it’s making it feel a lot like christmas. While we lack an actual plant in or gardens, I think I might take myself up to the new Harris Farm Markets up the road and pick myself up a bunch of “flowers” to help decorate Drawn Outdoors HQ!
So here’s the Christmas Bush low down…
Name: Ceratopetalum gummiferum – NSW Christmas Bush. There are Christmas bushes native to other states of Australia, so don’t forget the NSW bit!
Description: An evergreen large shrub or small tree that generally grows to about 4-5 metres high. The best feature of this plant are the “flowers” that are spectacular around Christmas time. The real flowers of this plant are small, white and relatively insignificant, but as the flowers are pollinated and the fruit develops, the sepals surrounding the fruit enlarge and give a reddish pink flower like appearance
What you’ll love about them: They’re native to the Sydney region, so you’ll feel like you’re doing your bit for biodiversity conservation. If you’re a Christmas lover, this plant will always add a bit of garden colour to your Christmas decorations. In terms of garden design, the NSW Christmas bush works best in a bush garden style, but can work equally as well as a feature in a more traditional style garden. They can work well as a screening plant or as a feature, though when they’re not in flower they aren’t anywhere near as spectacular as when they are.
Basically, these plants are bright, fun, festive and easy. They are a feel good plant that will generally make you smile and with a few fairy lights strung amongst the branches you will have a traditional Aussie Christmas tree in your own garden!
What they love: Sun! They love it hot and a little bit dry. They are the perfect temperate climate plant and can stand a little bit of wet, a little bit of cold, but really they like it nice and sunny and dry. You can give them a little bit of native plant food, but they’re generally pretty happy. They do like a bit of a hair cut after “flowering”, and you can be pretty generous with how mush you trim.
The not so great bits: There aren’t a lot of bad things about this plant. It’s relatively low maintenance, it will just look after itself and it doesn’t drop too many leaves fruit or flowers. It looks good all year round and it looks great in the middle of summer.
I have given a few NSW Christmas Bush plants as christmas gifts over the years and it always goes down a treat. If you’re stuck for a gift for a garden lover, give a NSW Christmas Bush a try.