Metrosideros Excelsa is known as the New Zealand Christmas tree on account of the showy crimson bottlebrush-style flowers that decorate this evergreen shrub at that season in the southern hemisphere or June in this part of the world. Will take some frost but is best overwintered indoors. Sun or semi-shade. Neutral to acid soil. Prune to keep compact. 1 litre decorative pot.
In New Zealand, where it generally grows in coastal areas of the Northn Island, Metrosideros Excelsa is also known by the Maori name Pōhutukawa and as iron tree, but the description of it as the NZ Christmas Tree fits it well, as when the tree is covered in showy red flowers, essentially a mass of filigree crimson stamens, it is an arresting sight and just at the apppropriate time of year. Up here in the northern hemisphere, of course, it flowers around June, which is about as far as you can get from the festive season in calendar terms, but its display certainly won’t disappoint you.
In its native habitat Metrosideros Excelsa will grow to become a full-sized tree, but it can be kept in check by judicious pruning and by treating it as a pot specimen (and it can make a fabulous bonsai subject). The leathery, and in this case cream edged, evergreen leaves look good all year round and the midsummer show will brighten up any patio or conservatory. It’s best kept in the latter or something similar over winter, though if you have a sheltered city garden, it may well be fine outdoors all year round, as it will take short periods below 0C.
Metrosideros Excelsa is an evergreen tree with cream edged deep green leaves and showy red bottlebrush flowers in summer suitable as a patio or indoor plant.
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