Metrosideros excelsa - The New Zealand Christmas Tree
It's funny how off I am sometimes. I go and buy these plants, with the idea that they will be in bloom in the winter greenhouse since they are southern Hemisphere plants. But here we go again. This shrub, which I bought while on a trip to southern California, looked like it might be a great container plant ( which it is), and one which would be in bloom in the winter greenhouse ( which it isn't).
The Maori name for the tree is Pohutukawa, and it was considered a chiefly tree, cherished by the tribal leaders. One would think, that with the common name of New Zealand Christmas Tree, that I would have no problem seeing this in bloom in our cold greenhouse, since in its native New Zealand, it blooms in November and December, but in our garden, this plant has chosen mid summer as it's peak blooming time. I do wonder if it will convert to a winter blooming shrub, as many Southern Hemisphere bulbs do, after a few growing seasons, but that will piss off our hummingbirds, which currently believe that Christmas in July really can happen ( even though it is over 100 deg. F ).
With twelve species of Metrosideros, I endemic to NZ, I might try another species and see if it grows as well. The Hawaiian species of M. polymorpha might be better, but I have to admit, that I can't help but giggle when I type my image title of MetrosiderosexcelsaGala.jpg, which sounds more like a hip gay pride party, than a tree.