Much like the bottlebrush, the melaleuca viridiflora is a very popular Aussie native which produces intricate and interesting red blooms.
Endemic to Western Australia and tropical regions of Northern Australia, this incredible species is a brilliant way to add a statement piece to your garden.
Although best suited for outdoor growth, this species can be grown inside a greenhouse and in a pot. Here is everything you need to know to cultivate, care for and grow melaleuca viridiflora.
Melaleuca Viridiflora Guide
Common Name: Burgundy Weeper, broad-leaved Paperbark, Weeping Red-Flowering Paperbark
Flower Colour: Red
Foliage Colour: Green
Growth Habit: Small tree to 5m
The Melaleuca genus, belonging to the Myrtaceae family, has over 300 different species. Affectionately known as paperbarks or tea-tees, these plants range from small shrubs to large trees with a range of growth and flowering habits.
The melaleuca viridiflora is an exciting cultivar of the genus, growing a light grey bark, dark green leaves and brilliant red blooms. Considered a medium growing, upright tree, the viridiflora grows as much as 8 to 10 metres tall and 3 to 4 metres wide.
It’s a particularly showy tree of the melaleuca species, which will attract a range of birds, bees and butterflies to your garden. Other common names for this cultivar include the broad-leaved Paperbark, Weeping Red-Flowering Paperbark and the Burgundy Weeper.
Although it is often seen being used for its landscaping potential, such as along walls, trellis’ or as an ornamental shrub, the viridiflora also has some commercial applications, such as:
- Its strong and distinctive bark has often been used for posts and poles.
- When dried, the wood works incredibly well for fires.
- An aromatic essential oil can be made from the leaves.
How to Grow Melaleuca Viridiflora
Red flowering melaleuca can be grown in a range of environments. Ideally, you will want to grow your melaleuca viridiflora red in a sunny or semi-shaded spot.
Although it is drought-hardy, the viridiflora has no issue with wet or waterlogged soil. In the wild, this species is found in marshy areas, which is why it does tend to prefer clay-based soils. If growing in a pot, opt for a loam-based compost mixture.
It is important to note that this cultivar can be frost and wind sensitive. As such, a slightly sheltered area is recommended for outdoor planting.
How to Propagate Broad Leaved Paperbark
Propagation by both seed and cutting is guaranteed to be successful. Ideally, you will want to sow your seeds or take your cutting during spring or autumn. Avoid planting during the hottest or coldest season of the year.
Propagating Broad Leaved Paperbark from Seed
To propagate from seed, you will need to:
- Remove the elongated seed capsules from an existing plant. These are strikingly similar to those of the Callistemon.
- These seeds can be collected at any time in the year. However, the best result comes from seeds that are approximately 12 months old.
- Sow the seeds onto the surface of a porous seeding mix. Be sure not to push the seed into the soil.
- Lightly sprinkle with a little bit of soil and water thoroughly.
- Keep your seedling in a warm and sunny position, ensuring the soil remains moist.
- Germination will take around 14 to 30 days.
Sometimes, native seeds can take longer to germinate. Be sure not to discard seedlings too early should you not be seeing any growth.
Propagating Melaleuca Viridiflora by Cutting
For the red flowering melaleuca, many gardeners will, however, recommend propagation by cutting. In some cases, it is the best way to guarantee the same flowering habit as the parent plant.
Here is what you’ll need to do:
- Remove a stem cutting, approximately 75-100mm in length.
- Remove any leaves along with the lower third of the cutting.
- Wound the lower stem with a grafting knife or scissors. This will help to encourage root growth.
- Dip the wounded end into a rooting hormone and plant into a rich, organic soil mixture.
Planting Melaleuca in Your Garden
Once your plant has begun to produce new growth, or if you’ve bought a sapling from a native supplier, it will be time to plant. It is recommended to slightly prepare the soil before planting with some plant fertiliser or compost.
Then you’ll need to:
- Dig a hole twice the size of the rootball.
- Remove the plant from its container, and tousle the roots loose.
- Position into the hole and backfill with soil.
- Form a raised ring around the base which will help keep the roots moist.
- Water well until new growth appears.
How to Care for Red Flowering Melaleuca
One of the biggest benefits of growing the burgundy weeper is that it requires little to no care once planted. These are extremely hardy plants and will often adapt to their environment.
Occasional pruning can be done to regulate shape and size or to remove any spent flowers. However, these do tend to fall off naturally after the blooming season. Be sure to use the right pruning tool for the job.
Water occasionally should it be a particularly dry season. Otherwise, your burgundy weeper will get all the water it needs from natural rainfall.
If growing in a pot, it is advisable to support your viridiflora with a little bit of fertiliser in the spring or before flowering season.
This species isn’t known to have any pest or disease issues. However, red spider mites and scale insects can become an issue when present in other parts of your garden. Try to treat these pests with natural remedies before heading to the chemicals.
Thinking of some other plants to pair with your melaleuca viridiflora? Why not pair it with some other colourful cultivars from this species? Take a look at our melaleuca guides here:
Wrapping Up Our Melaleuca Viridiflora Growing Guide
So, there you have it. Everything you need to know to grow big, bold and beautiful melaleuca viridiflora plants. Wherever you decide to grow them, keep in mind that they will need a decent amount of sunlight for a plentiful bloom.
In particularly dry seasons, keep an eye on the soil. Melaleuca Viridiflora prefers the wet over the cold.