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What is Beaufortia?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Approximately 20 different species of evergreen shrubs comprise the genus Beaufortia. These shrubs grow primarily in poor soil throughout Australia’s mild climate areas, particularly in the western sections of the country. Gardeners grow these plants because of their flowers, which look similar to a bottlebrush. In fact, because of the shape of their flowers, many species of Beaufortia are often called by their common name, bottlebrush.

Beaufortia leaves are generally simple, small, and green in color. In most species, the leaves overlap and are tightly packed together. The flowers are usually brightly colored in shades of red, orange, purple, or pink, and the blossoms are about 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) wide. For most species, the entire shrub can easily grow to heights of about 10 feet (3.05 m) and widths of 6 feet (1.83 m).

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Most species of Beaufortia can be grown outdoors or inside a cool greenhouse, which is a glass house with a minimum temperature of about 35 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). If they are planted outside, they grow best in infertile soil that drains well. In addition, they usually prefer to be planted in full sunlight. In areas where there is no fear of frost, Beaufortia can be planted as a windbreak or as a border. If grown inside a greenhouse, the shrubs prefer full light and soil comprised of equal parts sand, peat, and loam. In addition, they like to have plenty of water during the spring and summer months, but little water during the winter months.

Beaufortia aestiva is one of the smaller species of Beaufortia, only reaching heights of about 3 feet (.91 m). Also known by its common name, summer flame, it has bright red blossoms and small, green leaves. It is frequently found in coastal sections of Australia and needs soil that is comprised mainly of sand to grow well. Many gardeners like this species because it attracts birds and is drought tolerant. Although it is not necessary, if it is pruned, it might grow a greater number of bright red blossoms.

Another species, Beaufortia elegans, is loved for its bright purple, bottlebrush-like flowers. The blossoms are heaviest in the spring through the fall. In addition, it can be pruned so that it will not grow overly wide or tall. It prefers to grow in full sun, but it can survive in areas of partial shade as well. Although this species is native to the western portion of Australia, it can be grown in most cool climates.

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