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Step-by-Step Guide to Growing and Caring for Waxflowers at Home

In this guide, we’re going to take you through everything you need to know about how to grow and care for Waxflowers in your garden at home. If you’re looking for a plant to provide some late-winter cheer, turn to the Waxflower or Chamelaucium. This species will be one of the first to bloom in your garden, with bright flowers offering hope that spring is near. 


How to Grow Waxflower (Chamelaucium) – The Essentials: 

Botanical Name:Chamelaucium
Also Known As:Waxflower
Hardiness Zones:USDA growing zones 9 through 11.
Flowering Season: Blooms from late winter through early spring. Flowering cycles last up to three weeks. 
Growing Difficulty:Easy. Suitable for beginners.
Type of Plant: Evergreen, perennial shrub.
Light Requirements:Prefers to grow in full sun. Tolerates partial shade. 
Temperature and Humidity:Can adapt to hot and cold climates. Prefers low humidity. Some varieties are hardy down to 27 degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering Needs:Needs regular watering during its first summer. After that, this plant will likely receive enough hydration from precipitation. 
Soil Preferences:Well-draining soil around 5.5 to 7 on the pH scale. This plant enjoys ingredients like sand for added drainage. 
Feeding:Feed with a slow-releasing fertilizer when planting. From there, you can use the solution annually in the spring if needed.
Growth Expectations:This varies depending on the species. For instance, Chamelaucium uncinatum can reach three feet in height and spread. Geraldton Waxflowers can grow up to six feet.
Toxicity:Non-toxic to humans and animals.

About Waxflowers (Chamelaucium):

About Waxflowers (Chamelaucium)

Scientific Facts About Waxflowers

Chamelaucium is a genus of evergreen perennial shrubs. There are 14 recognized species, including the popular Geraldton Waxflower. Plants within this genus are members of the Myrtaceae family, also known as the Myrtle family.  

Origins and History

Now, plants within the Chamelaucium genus are native to Western Australia. A French botanist named René Louiche Desfontaines was the first to call attention to this species in 1819.

Botanical Characteristics 

Chamelaucium plants are evergreen shrubs with showy blooms and narrow, needle-like foliage. Their flowers have five petals that grow out around the center and have a wax-like feel. 

Most Waxflower blooms are a shade of pink, but they can also be white or purplish color. Their blooms also produce a small, round fruit and a sweet aroma

Uses and Benefits 

Uses and Benefits

Chamelaucium plants are great for attracting pollinating insects like bees and butterflies. They work well in gardens and for landscaping purposes. 

Some say the Waxflower holds positive symbolism as well. It is said to represent luck, wealth, and success. This plant is a popular choice for cut flowers and wedding decor, especially in its native Australia. 

Bloom Time and Flowering Season

Typically, Chamelaucium plants bloom from late winter through early spring. Its flowering cycles usually last up to three weeks. 

Growth Expectations

Waxflower sizes differ, depending on the species you choose. For example, Chamelaucium uncinatum reaches about three feet in height and width. By comparison, the Geraldton Waxflower can grow up to six feet.

Best Companion Plants for the Garden 

Chamelaucium plants work best alongside species that bloom early in the year. Here are a few plants to consider growing with Waxflowers. 


How to Grow Waxflowers (Chamelaucium):

How to Grow Waxflowers (Chamelaucium)

What Are the Best Locations to Plant Waxflowers?

Chamelaucium plants grow best in an outdoor spot with full sun. They work well as hedges, border plants, and garden shrubs. Make sure their environment has low humidity and wind protection if needed. 

When Is the Best Time of Year to Plant Waxflowers? 

The best time to plant Chamelaucium species is at the end of winter or the beginning of spring. This gives the plant a whole growing season to establish in its new environment. 

Growing from Seed vs. Young Nursery Plants 

Growing Waxflowers from young nursery plants is much easier than planting seeds. That’s because its seeds require very particular conditions to germinate successfully. You can buy young Chamelaucium plants at your local garden shop. 

What to Do Before Planting 

Before planting Waxflower shrubs, find a spot in full sun where the plant has plenty of room to grow. Make sure the place you choose aligns with its preferred growing conditions. 

Additionally, you’ll want to gather materials and tools for planting Waxflowers. You can find a full list of these items in the Essential tools section below. 

What’s the Best Soil for Waxflowers?

What's the Best Soil for Waxflowers

Remember, Chamelaucium flowers prefer soil around 5.5 to 7 on the pH scale. They like well-draining soil with gritty ingredients like sand and gravel. 

How to Plant Waxflowers

Here are the steps for planting Waxflowers in your garden or outdoor space. 

  • Clear the area where you want to plant Waxflowers. Make sure to remove any weeds or grass before planting.
  • Now, till the soil up to 10 inches. 
  • Then, add sand or another gritty ingredient to improve drainage if needed.
  • Next, add a slow-release fertilizer to your soil if needed. 
  • Hill soil up slightly before planting.
  • Allow enough space around each Chamelaucium plant, depending on your variety’s typical mature spread. 
  • Place Waxflower plants about as deep in the soil as they were in their nursery pots. Then, cover with a top layer of soil.
  • Apply gravel at the base of your plants to improve drainage.

Light Preferences 

Waxflowers prefer to grow in an area with full sun exposure throughout the day. However, they will tolerate partially shaded environments. 

Temperature and Humidity Preferences 

Chamelaucium plants enjoy warm, dry growing conditions. However, this plant is also cold-hardy. Some varieties can tolerate temperatures that drop down to 27 degrees Fahrenheit.


How to Care for Waxflowers (Chamelaucium):

How to Care for Waxflowers (Chamelaucium)

Watering Needs

After you plant Waxflowers, they need regular watering during their first summer. After the first year, Chamelaucium plants will likely receive the moisture they need from rainfall. 

Fertilization Requirements

Waxflowers enjoy a slow-releasing fertilizer mixed into the soil when they’re planted. After that, you can apply the same fertilizer once a year in the spring. 

Pruning Chamelaucium

It’s best to prune Waxflower plants after the end of their blooming season. You can prune Chamelaucium plants to maintain shape with sharp shears or secateurs. 

You may also want to hard prune the plant at the end of the growing season to promote healthy and continual growth. Do this by using shears or secateurs to cut back about one-third of the plant. 

Propagation 

You can propagate Chamelaucium plants easily by taking cuttings. Here are the steps for propagating Waxflower cuttings to produce new plants. 

  • Take a three to five-inch cutting of a Waxflower plant using sharp shears. Make sure the cutting is of established growth that is not too young or old. 
  • Remove foliage from the bottom two inches or so, on the end where you made the cutting. 
  • Dip the cut end in water and rooting hormone powder before planting.
  • Next, place some well-draining soil in a small pot, and plant your cutting. Make sure the remaining foliage sits just above the soil’s surface.
  • Tamp the soil slightly, so it supports the cutting.
  • Water this propagated branch and place it in a warm, sunny area until it establishes roots. 

Overwintering 

Overwintering

As Chamelaucium plants are cold-hardy, you won’t have to worry about them in winter. However, you may want to protect them if you live in an area with strong, cold winds. Do this by covering their base with mulch, or placing potted plants near a wall or barrier. 

When and How to Repot Waxflowers Grown in Containers 

Consider repotting Waxflowers if their roots are poking through the drainage hole. Here are the steps to take to repot Chamelaucium plants. 

  • First, remove the plant from its current container.
  • Next, gently loosen and remove old soil. 
  • Avoid harming the root system, though you can cut away some roots if you want the plant to stay smaller. 
  • Then, find a new planter no more than one pot size larger than the previous container. Make sure this planter has a drainage hole to eliminate excess water. Terracotta will work well for Waxflower plants.
  • Add some gravel to the base of the pot for drainage and cover with well-draining soil. 
  • Then, place the plant in the container and fill in any gaps with soil. 
  • Add a thin layer of gravel around the base of the plant for added drainage.

Deadheading 

You can deadhead Chamelaucium plants after their flowers begin to fade. This will help the plant preserve energy for its next flowering cycle. Do this by pinching below the wilted flower heads and above any healthy foliage. 


Common Waxflower Problems and How to Treat Them

Common Waxflower Problems and How to Treat Them

Signs of Watering Issues

Luckily, Waxflowers aren’t likely to have watering issues. This is because they’re drought-tolerant after their first growing season. 

However, overwatering this plant may lead to problems like root rot. If your plant develops root rot, remove it from the soil. Cut away the affected areas, and replant it in a fresh, clean environment. 

Signs of Light Issues

Chamelaucium plants love full sun, but they can tolerate partial shade. However, if their sun exposure is limited too much, they may not grow their usual full and healthy blooms. To avoid light-related issues, plant Chamelaucium in a spot with full sunlight. 

Signs of Temperature Issues

Waxflowers are tolerant of hot and cold climates. So, the only temperature-related issue you may need to worry about is wind exposure. Chamelaucium plants don’t enjoy cold, harsh winds. Avoid wind damage by mulching at the base or moving potted plants closer to a wall or protective barrier. 

Common Pests and Diseases and How to Treat Them

Waxflowers are relatively pest and disease-free. However, here are a few issues you may want to know about when growing Chamelaucium plants

  • Botrytis: This is a type of mold that may form on Chamelaucium plants. If you notice a Botrytis infection, remove as much of the affected area as possible. Apply your preferred fungicide until the issue subsides.
  • Nematodes: If you notice nematodes, apply insecticide as needed. Tactics like crop rotation may be necessary to curb an infestation.

Essential Tools to Have Around 

Here is the complete list of materials and tools you’ll need for growing Waxflowers at home. 

  • Watering can
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Well-draining soil
  • Shears or secateurs
  • Rooting hormone for propagation
  • Small nursery pot for propagation
  • Sand and gravel for improved drainage if needed
  • Soil probe to ensure moisture in the first growing season

Wrapping Up

The Waxflower is a hardy showstopper that springs to life in the dead of winter. It’s the perfect flower to provide hope that the coldest days are coming to an end. Follow this plant’s care needs, and you can look forward to beautiful pink blooms in your outdoor space. 


How to Grow Waxflowers (Chamelaucium) FAQs: 

Are Waxflowers hardy?

Yes, the Waxflower is a hardy plant. In fact, its tolerance makes it an excellent choice for people who are new to gardening. With minimal maintenance, this plant will perform well in your outdoor space.

How big do Waxflowers get?

Waxflowers vary in size depending on their species. For example, the Chamelaucium uncinatum can grow to three feet tall and wide.

What do you do with Waxflowers over winter?

Waxflowers are winter-hardy, so they won’t need much care in the winter months. If you live in a particularly windy area, you may want to protect them by mulching at the base.

Are Waxflowers invasive?

Yes, Waxflowers are invasive in some areas. For example, the plant is considered invasive in some parts of Western Australia.

Are Waxflowers perennial?

Yes, Waxflowers are perennials. These evergreen shrubs can survive cold winters as well as long periods of drought. So, they’re likely to grow back year after year.

Will Waxflowers grow in shade?

Yes, Waxflowers can tolerate partially shaded conditions. However, the plant prefers warm, bright light conditions.

Are Waxflowers poisonous to humans?

No, Waxflowers are not poisonous to humans. They are also considered non-toxic to animals.


Author

Brandy Wells is an American copywriter and content writer living in Spain. From hiking in her hometown near the Smoky Mountains to digging in the dirt in rural Oregon, she has always put a love of nature at the heart of her endeavors. These days, you’ll catch her writing content, and of course, taking breaks to tend to her growing houseplant collection.

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