Corymbia ficifolia – Red Flowering Gum
This is a substantial tree, growing up to 15M tall and 20M across. This is an ideal municipal planting, in that it is evergreen, and grows moderately fast when establishing itself, but slows down once stablished and rarely needs pruning. The largest known single-stemmed tree of this species in the world (216.5 cm diameter) is located on Princes Street in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Native to a very small coastal area in South-Western Australia. The small native range might indicate that it is under threat in the wild, but that does not seem to be the case. It grows well on sandy flats and hillsides, but tolerates only light frost.
Soil / Aspect:
C. ficifolia prefers infertile, sandy soils in the wild, but seems to be perfectly in improved garden soils. What it will not tolerate is hard frost of tropical dampness. At home in Perth C. ficifolia flowers around the summer solstice and Christmas, whereas in Karin’s garden it flowers a little later.
This is a very low maintenance plant. It is difficult to propagate, other than by seed which takes 7+ years to flower. The seeds do not come “true” and may even be a hybrid with C calophylla with which it hybridises freely. Buying this for your garden is a long term gamble.