The Metrosideros is a very popular plant, especially in Mediterranean countries such as Malta. This is a fast-growing plant that can resist most elements of nature, including wind, sun and seawater. It is a very robust plant that grows even in the most difficult of places.
The secret here is for the Metrosideros to have its roots well rooted and moist with water.
The Achilles heel of this plant is simple: lack of water. Especially in cases where the Metrosideros is in a pot, and therefore the roots do not have enough space to grow and obtain moisture, the plant will most likely succumb and fail.
The plant enjoys fresh water and nutrients like any other plant but will tolerate water of lower quality, including salty or seawater. The most important thing here is that the Metrosideros has well-established roots in soil or that it receives continuous watering and moisture.
Origins of Metrosideros
The Metrosideros plant knows its origins from New Zealand, although certain research suggests it might also have Australian origins. Metrosideros plants have been introduced to Europe only a few years ago.
Use for Metrosideros
The flowers are amazing and beautiful, and will usually resemble a bottle brush.
Many varieties of Metrosideros are resistant to the sun with leaves resistant to heat and sunburn.
The silverish green colour of the leaves also adds to its aesthetic charm.
Metrosideros leaves are also wind resistant, making them an ideal plant for coastal areas. The Metrosideros plant is used in many public areas in Malta to create a division between pavements used by people and the roads used by cars.
It is used in many cases as a sort of hedge or wall, that can be pruned to the particular needs of the area.
The Metrosideros can produce lots of roots, but it should not be dangerous to other plants around it if planted in soil. Nonetheless, in pots and planters, it has the strength to destroy the pot or else become potbound.
Plants that have developed for a prolonged time in the same pot, and have their roots encompass the pot, are often referred to as pot bound (or root bound).
Pot-bound plants have roots that often fill the pot and occasionally come out of the pot.
Creating a hedge effect requires a larger amount of Metrosideros being planted in planters if the plants are small and still young.
Irrigation systems, which can be also quite cheap to purchase, can provide enough timely water to plants. This is an important return on investment considering the costs of purchasing all the plants and planters. Irrigation systems and water timers are very common nowadays, including in some supermarkets.
Propagation of Metrosideros
Propagating the Metrosideros is not very simple, however not impossible. Cutting from the mother plant and using rooting powder can provide you with a very good chance.
Remove the lower leaves, use rooting hormone and plant into compost, potting mix or peat.
When ready and rooted, you can plant into larger pots.
A plastic bag can be used to imitate a greenhouse effect. Plastic bags can create high humidity and heat level to push the cutting to root quicker.
Using fertiliser on cuttings or small saplings will burn the roots and essentially destroy the young plant. Keep in mind that rooted cuttings are more delicate.
Pests and diseases
The Metrosideros is not very susceptible to pests and illness, but it is still possible for it to get sick. Whilst being robust, water and dish soap or water with vinegar can be used to remove the pests which are attached to the leaves of the Metrosideros.
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