Real World Gardener Johanna’s Christmas is Plant of the Week

December 12th, 2014

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.


The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website


with Karen Smith Hort Journal magazine editor

The NSW Christmas bush is popular with florists at this time of year because of the bright bracts that cover the bush-just right for this time of the year.

The dwarf species of Christmas bush was discovered some forty years ago growing on a bluff along the NSW coastline.

Apparently the story goes, this stand of Christmas bush looked like they had been there since before European settlement.

Luckily the chance discovery by a horticulturalist meant that several cuttings were collected.

Fast forward many years to a Central Coast nursery where they were being sold or just grown for the owner's pleasure-I'm not sure which.

However, a member of the Australian Plant Society chanced on these plants when the nursery was closing down and got those specimens.

Still more years passed before the idea of propagating and selling them came to fruition.

As it happens Ramm Botanicals now propagate Johannas Christmas which is sold to retail nurseries throughout Australia.

The species NSW Christmas bush can grow quite big and isn’t everyone’s favourite plant when it’s not showing the red bracts.

Having a small compact version  like Ceratopetalum gummiferum Johannas Christmas, is ideal and more versatile in many gardens than the bigger parent plant.

From the Ramm Botanicals website:


Johannas Christmas only grows to a metre and likes most soil types but prefers free draining soil.

If planting in a tub,most general purpose potting mixes will suit.

Feed with a controlled-release fertiliser in early spring and perhaps supplement with a liquid feed after flowering.


Johanna’s Christmas likes a full sun position and is not a particularly thirsty plant. In fact, avoid water-logging as the plant can be susceptible to root rot.

If you want to shape the plant, prune in autumn before flower initiation.

 Keep plants mulched and protect from heavy frost and harsh afternoon sun



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