Hakea laurina: Australian winter flower

This time we are going to see the Hakea laurina . A tree or shrub (depends on the type of pruning) whose flowering occurs during the winter of a very specific area of ​​South Australia. It is a species that has been exported to areas of Europe with mild winters, with very occasional and light frosts. However, we must be careful as even in its habitat it is considered a weed and is somewhat invasive so it may also displace other species.

ORIGIN OF HAKEA LAURINA

It is a native plant of Australia as we have mentioned. It has two faces. It is native but quite invasive in the habitat in which it is found. It is capable of moving populations of other plants wherever it is. It happens a bit like the blackberry or the brooms in Europe. If you leave them to their free will, they end up populating large tracts of land in mountain areas in this case.

It has two main ornamental characteristics. The first, the flowering, as you can see in the cover photo and that is seen in more detail, and the second, its evergreen foliage with parallel-veined lanceolate leaves, that is, whose nerves are practically parallel.

The name of Hakea, like almost all, comes from the surname of its discoverer

WHAT DO WE USUALLY ASK OF AN ORNAMENTAL TREE?

There are several reasons for a park or garden that make some species optimal. These reasons can be:

  • Low water needs (especially in low rainfall areas).
  • Tolerance to broad soil conditions.
  • Rapid growth (tends to be that the garden area is populated as soon as possible).
  • Resistance to pests and diseases (remember that many diseases and pests cannot be fumigated or treated in urban areas).
  • Few problems with pruning. Easy to prune or with little need for pruning.
  • Of course, the ornamental part of the species itself: its flowering, its shape, the foliage …

SO DOES THE HAKEA LAURINA MEET THESE SPECIFICATIONS?

HABITAT AND CLIMATE

It is the only condition of almost any plant to consider whether to plant it in the place we want or not. Nobody would think of planting a bougainvillea outdoors in Burgos, right? Well, something similar happens here. Withstands light frosts in rather mild winters, with practically no frost, according to the specifications of native Australian plants.

It requires full lighting and survives well in high wind areas such as coastal areas. In the first stages of life it will be necessary to train it until it can withstand strong gusts of wind.

SOIL AND IRRIGATION

In this section it is a plant that behaves very well. They grow well in drained soils, somewhat sandy and not at all alkaline. For example, in limestone soils it is difficult to do well. It is preferable that the textural composition is sandy or even silty clayey, as long as the rainfall is low. Remember that a clay soil if it rains a lot, it will always be flooded. In these conditions the Hakea laurina is not able to survive. In quasi-desert climates, such as in eastern Spain, it could occur with occasional watering.

Irrigation must be low, it supports drought very well.

PODA

The Hakea laurina is a kind of tree or shrub (it all depends on the size we are looking for with the formation pruning), which can reach about 5 or 6 meters high if you want to plant it as a single element. If you want a hedge (the latter is very common) we must give it the appropriate training pruning for it, not allowing it to grow in height and stimulating lateral branching.

FLOWERING IS THE MAIN ATTRACTION OF HAKEA LAURINA

In addition to the good characteristics it presents for its limited care, Hakea laurina has its virtue in flowering. A bloom that occurs during the winter months. In Australia this occurs since April but the best flowering time is around July (remember that it is the southern hemisphere) and they are characterized by being very curious inflorescences. The winter flowering species are very interesting since it is usual that most plants are in winter rest and give very contrasting touches of color. We only have to see the holly are its red fruits in the middle of winter with snowfalls. With Hakea Laurina goes a bit like.

Its English name is Hakea “pincushion” which means pincushion. And there is no better analogy than this. Another plant we talked about a long time ago was the bottle cleaner for the same reason. Its inflorescences looked just like that. In this case, the inflorescences end up being fruits highly appreciated by the native Australian cockatoos. They also give off some nectar and a mild fragrance that is attractive to pollinators, which we so much need.

But before blooming, its woody buds appear reminiscent of small incipient cones. Here is an image with several simultaneous flowering phases.

 

PESTS AND DISEASES OF HAKEA LAURINA

An excess of water will inevitably cause fungal diseases both in the root zone and in the foliar zone. In fact, the leaves are easy to get more fungal attacks than one would like. It is very common, but the plant does not die from it. It just makes the blade a bit ugly. In the image above you can see the speckling of the fungus. We don’t know exactly what it is, so you know, leave us a comment!

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