Name: Geraldton wax, Chamelaucium ‘Jambinu Zest’, waxflower.
Height: up to 1.5m.
Plant type: clumping perennial.
Climate: cool and warm temperate, sub-tropical and tropical.
Soil: well drained.
Position: full sun to part shade.
Foliage: small, narrow and needle-like.
Flowering: a profusion of waxy pink flowers with a magenta centre appear from winter to spring.
Feeding: feed with a slow-release native fertiliser in spring.
Watering: water regularly until well established. It is fairly drought tolerant but will benefit from a deep watering once every couple of weeks during summer.
Chamelaucium ‘Jambinu Zest’ is a beautiful evergreen shrub with fine, narrow, needle-like foliage that can grow up to 1.5m tall and up to 2m wide. It is covered with a profusion of waxy pink blooms from winter to spring. ‘Jambinu Zest’ is a particularly special Geraldton wax variety as both the leaves and flowers are edible, with wonderful zesty citrus flavours similar to lemon myrtle. Most waxflower blooms have no taste or an unpleasant aftertaste.
This small shrub is perfect as a feature plant in garden beds or pots. Harvest the zesty leaves to flavour drinks, sauces, stocks, desserts and a variety of savoury dishes where a lemony tang is desired. The flowers can be used in the same way, but perhaps are best saved for decorative drinks and salads, where the blooms can be seen and appreciated.
Choose a spot in full sun or part shade with well-drained soil. Enrich the soil with compost and dig in well. If growing in a pot, use a premium quality potting mix. Dig a hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the existing root ball. Remove the plant from its pot, gently loosen the soil to free the roots, and place in the centre of the planting hole. Backfill, firm the soil and water in well.
Spread a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant to help conserve soil moisture and suppress competing weeds.
‘Jambinu Zest’ needs little care once established. The stems and branches are quite flexible and give the appearance of the shrub being top heavy. Use a support stake, if desired, to keep the shrub more upright. The plant is fairly pest and disease free.
There is no need to prune ‘Jambinu Zest’. If planted as a hedge, lightly trim in early spring to encourage bushy growth.
Water plants well for the first 8–12 weeks. Once established, ‘Jambinu Zest’ is drought and heat tolerant, so can survive with little water during dry periods. However, like all Australian natives, it will perform better if given a regular deep watering over the summer. Top up the mulch as needed to help conserve soil moisture.
Feed in spring with an organic, slow-release native fertiliser.
Harvest the leaves and flowers as needed for use in cooking.
‘Jambinu Zest’ is a newly developed variety and can only be purchased in stores.
After applying fertiliser, delay harvesting for a few days and rinse well before cooking and eating. If using products to deal with pests, diseases or weeds, always read the label, follow the instructions carefully and wear suitable protective equipment. Store all garden chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.
Lemon myrtle: a gorgeous small or medium-sized tree with highly aromatic lemon-scented foliage.
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Photo credit: tuckerbush.com.au