Grows 1-2m high in full sun and dry soil. Very structural plant.
Carmichaelia australis, is a small tree or shrub that grows between 1-2m in height with small green twigs that grow from multiple branches which all stem from the base of the plant. Not only do the flattened twigs create an interesting structural form but they also allow the plant to catch more sunlight. The New Zealand native broom also known as Mākaka is a hardy and fast growing plant that is commonly found in the North Island and top of the South Island. Naturally the Carmichaelia australis grows in lowland and mid-montane areas often on scrublands or forest margins where it prefers full sunlight. In the spring through to summer it has small 5-6 mm white flowers with purple centres. The fruit appears from November through to May in the form of a small dry pod which contains 1-3 hard orange seeds.
The Carmichaelia australis belongs to the Fabaceae family which are also referred to by agriculturists and horticulturists as legumes. The term legumes is used to describe the species capacity to 'fix' nitrogen into soils (from the air), through the actions of various species of soil bacteria, known as rhizobia, which live in nodules on the roots of legumes. This gives the species a special ability to improve the fertility of soil which is often why they are found growing in open and disturbed sites.
In terms of planting, the Carmichaelia australis prefers full sun and well drained soil but tolerates dry, windy and cold conditions. Best used in places that show off its unique structure and open foliage.
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