Common name: Geraldton Wax

Family: MYRTACEAE

Geraldton Wax (Chamelaucium uncinatum) flowers in winter and spring months with a massive display of aromatic blooms. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Chamelaucium – coined by the French botanist Desfontaines, and published in 1819. It derives from the medieval Greek kamelaukion, or cloak hood, referring to the conical bracts surrounding the young flowers of many species that have the appearance of a Monk’s cloak.

Uncinatum – (Latin) uncinatus: hooked, referring to the tips of the leaves.

Description

Chamelaucium uncinatum, also known by its common name of Geraldton Wax, is a dense but spreading shrub that can grow between two and six metres in both height and width. It is one of the most well-known Australian flowers, and is commonly used as a cut flower due to the showy blooms and their longevity once removed from the plant.

Geraldton Wax flowers in winter and spring months with a massive display of aromatic blooms that bees, butterflies and other insects simply love. As a result of plant development programs supporting the cut flower industry, there is a variety of colour forms available when these plants bloom, such as white, pink and purple, as well as a range of flower size. The waxy flowers are circular in shape and cover the shrub en masse.

Geraldton Wax is evergreen and has fine narrow foliage. Both frost and drought tolerant, this shrub is an excellent addition to any garden for its water-wise nature and showy display of flowers.

Propagation from seed is notoriously difficult, as the seeds tend to wait for the perfect conditions to germinate, but current season cuttings are known to take easily.

Horticultural tips

  • Plant during autumn or winter in a well-drained location, in a full sun to light shade aspect.
  • Apply an 8 - 9 month slow release native fertiliser at the time of planting, and again annually as required during spring.
  • Geraldton Wax responds very well to pruning. Tip pruning encourages a bushy form. A timely, gentle trim after flowering is all that this plant requires.
  • Can be planted as a hedge, feature plant or screen.
  • This plant grows well near the ocean with some wind protection.
  • Geraldton Wax can occasionally be susceptible to fungal dieback (Phytohpthora species).

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see this species growing in the wax and kangaroo paw garden bed, located in the Western Australian Botanic Garden (refer to map).

Want more information?

Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.

Chamelaucium uncinatum stunning wax flowers. Photo: BGPA. Chamelaucium uncinatum flowering in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Photo: D. Blumer. Chamelaucium uncinatum (Geraldton Wax). Photo: D. Blumer.

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