Chamelaucium is a genus of about 30 species all occurring only in south western Australia. They are generally small to medium shrubs with narrow leaves and ‘tea-tree’ like flowers.
Chamelaucium ‘Lady Stephanie’ (sometimes simply called ‘Stephanie’) is believed to be a hybrid of Chamelaucium uncinatum and Chamelaucium floriferum. It apparently arose as a chance seedling in a nursery at Mildura. It is a small to medium shrub reaching about 1.5 – 2 metres high with linear, narrow leaves up to 40 mm long and highly aromatic when crushed The overall appearance of the foliage is pine-like. The small, pink flowers occur profusely in spring through to summer and darken as they age. They are circular in shape and about 10 mm in diameter.
Although the parents of this cultivar are native to a dry summer climate, ‘Lady Stephanie’ has been cultivated successfully in more humid, temperate and sub-tropical areas but cannot be said to be easy to maintain for long periods in those areas. The plant is undoubtedly more adaptable to areas of dry summers. It requires a very well drained position, preferably in sandy soil in sun or semi shade. Once established, plants will tolerate periods of extended dryness. It is reported to be only moderately frost tolerent.
Propagation from seed is difficult and may not come true to type in any case. cuttings of firm, current seasons growth usually strike readily. Some experiments have been carried out into grafting Chamelaucium species onto Kunzea flavescens, Kunzea ambigua and Leptospermum petersoni. This work shows promise.
Chamelaucium ‘Lady Stephanie’
Photo: Brian Walters