Q&As/New Zealand Native Trees/Pohutukawa Flowers at Christmas

Question

I have a Metrosideros Exclesa ‘Vibrance’ (Pohutukawa) planted 4 years ago. It has grown to a height of 1.8m but has never flowered. It produces young succulent growth in the growing season, and is flanked by native Pittosporums (Black Matipo) of the same height. Sunshine is provided 6 hrs a day in summer. Why is this flourishing tree not producing any of its beautiful flowers for Christmas?

Answer

Most Pohutukawa cultivars are growing from seed and therefore it may well take up to ten years before flowering regularly. Some Pohutukawa cultivars are grown by cuttings that are taken from a mature tree. Check with the nursery or garden center where you purchased the plant as to the history of the plant they have supplied to you. Do not despair - as long as the pohutukawa is growing healthily it should commence flowering in the next few years.

Please note that if where you live and where the plant is growing is prone to frost during the winter months, this would also contribute to the delayed flowering of your pohutukawa as the growth that would have produced summer flowers may have been destroyed by winter frost. If this is the case, you may wish to try planting the Southern Rata (Metrosideros Umbellata) which handles the colder, South Island conditions a lot better.

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