Geraldton wax is a type of plant commonly found in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
Here is everything you need to know about Geraldton Wax!
What is Geraldton Wax?
Geraldton Wax is a flowering shrub, native to Western Australia. It has been used both medicinally and in cooking by Aboriginal people for thousands of years.
The bright yellow flowers have also earned the plant acclaim as a popular garden plant, however, it is also classified as an invasive weed in some areas.
The scientific name for Geraldton Wax is Chamelaucium Uncinatum.
The name is derived from Chamelaucium, which means “wreath flowered” and uncinatum which means “hooked” (referring to the shape of its flower).
It belongs to the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Other plants in this family include Leptospermum scoparium, Metrosideros excelsa, and Callistemon (Bottle Brush Tree).
Geraldton wax is a dense spreading shrub that produces a common Australian flower.
The plant usually grows to between two and six metres in both height and width, depending on soil conditions.
The flowers bloom during the winter and spring months. The flowers are waxy and come in a variety of colours including white, pink and purple.
Geraldton wax takes about 2 years to first flower.
How to grow Geraldton Wax in a garden
To grow your Geraldton Wax, follow these steps:
- Plant in an area of your garden with good drainage. Good drainage is important as the shrub will not tolerate wet feet. Clay soil can be amended by adding gypsum and lots of organic matter such as compost or manure.
- To plant, make a hole twice as wide and the same depth as the root of your Geraldton Wax. Loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole to ensure good drainage.
- Position plant in the hole so that it is sitting at the same depth as it was originally growing. Backfill with topsoil from your pile and gently firm down to remove any air pockets.
- Water in well after planting then mulch around base with organic material such as compost, lucerne or bark chips to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
How to grow Geraldton Wax from cuttings
Geraldton wax can be propagated in early summer using root greenwood cuttings and in late summer using semi-ripe cuttings. A rooting hormone powder will help form roots.
Remove stems with leaves from an adult plant and cut them into pieces with two to three nodes each, then dip them in root hormone powder before planting them in moist soil or perlite mixture.
Growing Geraldton Wax from seed
Sow Geraldton Wax seeds in a pot of well-drained potting mix and keep the soil moist.
Cover seeds thinly with a fine layer of gravel or other drainage material and water heavily and often.
Geraldton Wax seeds can be sown at any time in warm areas.
In cooler climates, you will benefit from a glasshouse.
Where in Australia does Geraldton Wax grow?
Geraldton Wax is native to western Australia, and can be found growing throughout the region, often as an invasive weed.
While it grows well in most parts of the country, it prefers temperate climates over tropical ones.
Tips for growing Geraldton Wax
Geraldton wax is a flowering plant that produces a beautiful display of red and yellow flowers.
This flowering plant is native to Australia, but you can grow it in your garden as well. When grown in warm climates, these plants will flower all year long.
Keep the following factors in mind when growing Geraldton wax:
- Plant the seeds of the Geraldton wax during spring.
- The seeds should be planted directly into the ground where they can get full sun and good drainage.
- Gently pat down the soil for proper germination.
- Water regularly until the young plants are well established, then only water occasionally to avoid fungus growth.
You could also grow this plant from cuttings taken from mature plants during spring or summer.
Diseases that impact Geraldton Wax
There are a few diseases that can affect Geraldton Wax. The main risk is fungal dieback.
Dieback is a fungal disease that affects the roots and causes leaves to wilt and branches to die back.
It’s caused by the fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi and is exacerbated by wet conditions.
There aren’t any chemical solutions for dieback, so it’s best to prune away affected parts of the plant. If the entire plant becomes infected, you’ll have to replace it.
Should you fertilise Geraldton Wax?
Geraldton Wax will benefit from a native fetiliser.
You can fertilize Geraldton wax in late winter and early spring, once all danger of frost has passed.
The amount of fertiliser you should use will depend on what type you choose. Follow the directions on the packet for specific amounts and application methods.
The best soil for Geraldton Wax
Geraldton Wax does best in a light, well-drained soil that is not too wet and not too dry.
A slightly acidic soil helps to keep the leaves from getting rust spots.
Geraldton Wax can be grown in pots or in the ground, but for the best results make sure that your plant is always planted in healthy soil.
If you have sandy or clay-heavy soils where you live, amend with compost before planting.
Geraldton Wax FAQ
Can you eat Geraldton Wax?
Geraldton Wax is known as the “Australian native keffir lime”.
Fresh leaves are used in the food industry, mainly as a flavouring for sauces and stocks.
A botanical gin, which is made from Geraldton Wax leaves, has also been developed recently.
The flowers of Geraldton Wax taste like a lemon or pine needle.
What is Geraldton Wax used for?
Geraldton Wax is commonly used as a cut flower, usually in combination with other flowers.
Geraldton Wax is also used for its medicinal properties: the nectar that the plant exudes can be rubbed on insect bites to soothe itching and reduce swelling. It has natural anti-fungal properties.
It is also more commonly being used in cooking.
Is Geraldton Wax easy to grow?
Geraldton wax is easy to grow. It’s a low maintenance plant, preferring full sun and well-drained soil.
You can grow it in your garden or in a pot. Geraldton wax grows best in coastal areas, but it will tolerate poor soils as long as they’re well-drained.
Is Geraldton Wax native to Australia?
Yes, Geraldton wax is native to Australia. The plant grows in the wild in Western Australia and South Australia.
Geraldton wax is an evergreen shrub that can reach 15 feet high. The long, narrow leaves are green on top and a light grayish-green underneath.
From spring through fall, it bears clusters of small yellow flowers at the ends of its branches. The dried fruit pods look similar to a large pinecone—a structure called an “inflorescence.”
How fast does Geraldton Wax grow?
Geraldton wax is a fast-growing plant and grows to a large size.
That said, if you’re looking for something a bit smaller, Geraldton wax is versatile, as it can be pruned to fit most spaces.
Is Geraldton Wax a tea tree?
Geraldton wax is often called a “tea tree”, and its flowers do somewhat resemble those of the tea tree, but it isn’t actually a tea tree. It is also not an Australian bottlebrush, but it is in the same family.