Callistemone, from Australia, a plant with an original and exotic appearance but which has been able to adapt well to our climate. Thus, we welcomed it in the gardens of the Land of the Sun. There are about thirty species, not all of them are at ease in Europe, they grow slowly but still give satisfaction and do not require a super experienced green thumb, it takes very little to produce their own. fiery red and bizarre flower.
Callistemone: the plant
Thecalistemonit's aplantshrubby suitable for coastal areas. Hercultivationit is simple and can take place both in pots and in the ground. It is donecultivatefor its originalfloweringbottle shaped like a pipe cleaner.
The plant owes its name to its flowers:callistemoncomes from the Greek kalos, literally “beautiful” and stemon which means “Stamens”. The leaves are light green in color and differ in shape from one species to another.
Thecallistemonit is sensitive to cold and resistant to saltiness, so much so that it can be counted among the plants from cultivate in the garden of a house near the sea (plants for the beach house). This plant would appear to originate from Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania; belongs to the Myrtaceae family and adapts well to the coastal climate of our country.
The most cultivated species in Italy are two:
- Callistemon linearis
- Callistemon viminalis
In the two images on this page you can see the different blooms of Callistemon linearis and viminalis. In the photo above is shown the flowering ofcallistemon viminaliswhile in the photo below you can see the flowering of callistemon linearis.
The nameviminaliscomes from the Latin word vimen which means “wicker” or “flexible twig”, this term refers to the strong flexibility of the branches of this species. Thecallistemon linearisit has narrower, “linear” leaves, the leaves are rather rigid.
THE callistemon flowers they are the classic example of flowers in which the petals are optional. Exactly, because to stand out, to be the absolute protagonists of the scene, are the stamens, long long and gathered in a sort of dense bunch. The petals, on the other hand, are small in size and look like indulge the stamens and their egocentrism with great serenity.
Thus done, the flowers are then also gathered in long ears. All these peculiarities only make the Callistemone a plant to buy to get one original and unconventional presence without too much trouble.
Callistemon, cultivation in pots and in the ground
As stated, this plant cancultivateeasily, both in pots and in the ground. Those who live in the north are forced togrow callistemon in potsto move the container to a sheltered position during the winter.
The evergreen plant needs a sunny position. A loose and well-drained soil with a tendentially acid reaction.
When to grow the callistemone?
The callistemon (also known asmalaleuca) can be grown in spring, ideally between April and May.
How is it planted?
You just need to dig a hole 30 - 40 cm deep, or in any case just enough to incorporate the roots and the stick of earth of the newly purchased plant and a layer of organic matter. On the bottom of the hole, in fact, it will be necessary to prepare a layer of organic fertilizer in order to favor the development of the plant.
In the open ground, thecallistemoneit can reach a height of between 2 - 3 meters. With thecultivation in potsthe development is more contained so much that the plant is cultivated with breeding adsapling.
Irrigation and fertilization
In summer, it will be necessary to provide abundant and deep irrigation, but between one irrigation and the next, it is necessary to wait until the soil is dry.
To improve the appearance of flowers and leaves, you can administer a slow release granular fertilizer. Administered every 15-20 days from early spring to late summer.
For the cultivation in potsit will be necessary to perform containment pruning. Those who grow in the open field will be able to let the plant thrive by pruning it only in early autumn.
In fact, it is necessary to cut off the branches that have bloomed by removing all the now dry inflorescences.
Please note: the species Callistemon linearis is Callistemon viminalis they are those that best adapt to our local climate but despite this, they cannot be grown in the north of Italy and in areas where temperatures drop below 6 ° C.
The Callistemon citrinus is one of three more species common in Italy, it looks like an evergreen shrub up to 3 meters high and with flowers that almost look like big red needles, to simplify. Then we will observe them better. This tropical plant it does not like too cold winters and needs frequent watering, especially in summer, it can be attacked by parasites or fungi, it is better to keep it monitored.
Almost on a par with the Citrinus, also the Callistemone Laevis it is very present in our peninsula, always as a shrub. It has arched branches that are adorned in spring with dark green leaves with a lanceolate shape and, later on, with bright red flowers. In this as in the other species of Callistemone, whether they are comfortable in Italy or not, the flowers are collected in ears up to 15 cm long.
Third and last species that we can label as "integrated" also in our country, this viminali exhibition linear leaves, always dark green, resembling to the touch those of papyrus. The flowers are red as usual but we can also be lucky and see them appear spikes with inflorescences in yellow, orange, white or pink instead of fiery red
Not very common in Italy, this one species of C. it is however well worthy of space, as you can see from the photo, it does not stand out clearly from the other sisters.
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