Metrosideros excelsa is a free-flowering plant with red, pink and yellow flowers

Metrosideros excelsa (New Zealand Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree/Bush, Iron Tree)

"MetrosiderosThough prized as a beautiful ornamental tree by many gardeners, the Pohutukawa tree has also received negative attention for the damage its root system can cause to pipes and pavement.

A free-flowering tree with mesmerising with vibrant red, pink and yellow flowers

Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :

  • Botanical Name: Gorgeous vibrant red flowers of Metrosideros excelsa (New Zealand Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree/Bush, Iron Tree), March 8 2018Metrosideros excelsa (syn.: Metrosideros excelsus, Metrosideros tomentosa).
  • Common Names: New Zealand Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree/Bush, Iron Tree.
  • Family Name: Myrtaceae.
  • EtymologyThe genus name Metrosideros  is derived from the Ancient Greek metra or iron.
    The specific epithet excelsa is from Latin excelsa meaning highest sublime.
  • Origin: Native to New Zealand.
    It widely cultivated elsewhere around the world.
  • Plant type: Metrosideros excelsa (New Zealand Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree/Bush, Iron Tree) can reach up to 25 m tall, with up to a 35 m wide crown, March 2018A beautiful flowering tree.
  • Features: Metrosideros excelsa is from the genus Metrosidero that consists of approximately 70 accepted species of trees and shrubs.
    It is slow-growing and reach up to 25 m tall, with up to a 35 m wide crown.
    It usually grows as a multi-trunked spreading tree.
    Its trunks and branches are sometimes festooned with matted and fibrous aerial roots.
    Oblong and leathery leaves of Metrosideros excelsa (New Zealand Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree/Bush, Iron Tree), March 8 2018The oblong and leathery leaves, 4-7 cm long are covered in dense white hairs underneath.
    Leaf can be very rounded or bluntly pointed.
    The tree flowers from November to January with a peak in mid to late December in the southern hemisphere summer with brilliant crimson flowers covering the tree, hence the nickname New Zealand Christmas tree.
    There is variation between individual trees in the timing of flowering, and in the shade and brightness of the flowers.
    Yellow coloured blooms of Metrosideros excelsa (New Zealand Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree/Bush, Iron Tree), March 8 2018Many of the trees growing around the Rotorua lakes produce pink-shaded flowers and the yellow-flowered cultivar ‘Aurea’ descends from a pair discovered in 1940 on Motiti Island in the Bay of Plenty.
    Its flower opens in the morning and petals fall in the afternoon.
    A free-flowering plant with red, pink and yellow flowers.
  • Culture (Care): Metrosideros excelsa (New Zealand Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree/Bush, Iron Tree), March 8 2018Metrosideros excelsa or New Zealand Christmas Tree can be easily grown with least maintenance.
    Light: Full sun.
    Moisture: High water requirements.
    Soil: Humus-enriched and well-drained soils.
    Others:
    Plant the tree far away from buildings and pipes because the roots have been known to cause severe damage to homes and foundations.
    White coloured buds of Metrosideros excelsa (New Zealand Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree/Bush, Iron Tree, New Zealand Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree/Bush, March 8 2018Prune back any damaged or diseased branches as they appear and discard them to prevent the spread of disease to the rest of the tree.
    Prune back growth during the winter to shape the tree and give it a bushier appearance. Fertilize the tree by spreading a handful of bone meal and blood meal around the base of the tree in the spring. Generally free from serious garden pests and diseases. Nonetheless, do watch out for  Trichosurus vulpecula browse that can seriously damage and even kill trees.
    For subtropical and temperate regions: Hardiness: USDA Zone 9b-11.
    Beautiful red flower of Metrosideros excelsa (New Zealand Pohutukawa, New Zealand Christmas Tree/Bush, Iron Tree) with a central white cross, March 4 2018Metrosideros excelsa or New Zealand Christmas Tree is not fully hardy and recommended as a conservatory plant in frost prone areas. May survive a minimum temperature of 0°C. It is propagated from fresh seeds that should be direct sow after last frost.
  • Propagation: Propagate easy from fresh seeds. Seeds must be sown fresh, even if left for a few weeks before sowing viability can drop, especially if seed is allowed to dry out.Very difficult from cuttings though soft wood water shoots give the best results. Can be grafted onto seedlings.
  • Usage: The wood of Metrosideros excelsa or New Zealand Christmas is dense, strong and highly figured. Maori used it for beaters and other small, heavy items. It was frequently used in shipbuilding, since the naturally curvy shapes made strong knees…

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