Rice Flower (Ozothamnus diosmifolius)


Ozothamnus diosmifolius, commonly known as the Rice Flower, is a shrub native to eastern Australia. Ozothamnus diosmifolius is widespread on the coast, tablelands and western slopes of New South Wales and Queensland north from Eden to Wide Bay. It grows in heath and on rainforest margins, often on ridges. It is an erect, much-branched, woody shrub that usually grows to a height of 2 m and can reach heights exceeding 3m in some cases. The leaves are sharp-smelling and are 10–15 mm long and 1–2 mm wide. Inland forms have larger leaves up to 3.5 mm wide. Like other plants in the family Asteraceae, each “flower” is a head made of multiple flowers, each 2–3 mm (0.08–0.1 in) in diameter. The white or pinkish colouration is due to the papery ray florets around individual flower clusters.

Here is some helpful information for growing this plant:

Tree Height and Spread: Ozothamnus diosmifolius is a small shrub that typically grows to a height of 3-6 feet (1-2 meters) and a spread of 3-5 feet (1-1.5 meters). It has a compact, rounded growth habit and produces clusters of white or pink flowers in the summer.

Preferred Soil Type: Ozothamnus diosmifolius is an adaptable plant that can grow in various soil types, but it prefers well-drained soils rich in organic matter. It can tolerate sandy soils, clay soils, and loams, but it will not perform well in soils that are saturated or prone to flooding.

Soil pH: Ozothamnus diosmifolius prefers slightly acidic soils to be neutral, with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. It will not tolerate too alkaline soils, with a pH above 7.5. It is essential to monitor the soil pH and adjust as needed to maintain the appropriate conditions for growth.

Light Requirements: Ozothamnus diosmifolius is a plant that requires full sun and partial shade to thrive. It will perform best in areas with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. It may benefit from some protection from the hottest part of the day in areas with hot summers.

Water Requirements: Ozothamnus diosmifolius is a drought-tolerant plant that can survive with little water once established. However, it will perform best if it receives regular watering during the growing season. Watering the plant deeply and infrequently rather than giving it frequent shallow watering is essential. This will encourage the roots to grow deep and help to prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged.

Fertilizer Requirements: Ozothamnus diosmifolius is a plant that does not require much fertilizer. It can be fertilized once or twice yearly with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer. However, over-fertilization can lead to excessive growth and reduced flower production. It is best to avoid fertilizing the plant during winter when growth is slow.

Pruning Requirements: Ozothamnus diosmifolius requires little pruning, but it may benefit from occasional pruning to maintain its shape and remove any dead or diseased branches. Pruning should be done in the early spring before the plant begins to put out new growth.

Pests and Diseases: Ozothamnus diosmifolius is a relatively pest-free plant. However, it can be susceptible to root rot if the soil is waterlogged. Providing good drainage and avoiding over-watering the plant is essential to prevent this problem. It can also be vulnerable to spider mites, which can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

In conclusion, Ozothamnus diosmifolius is a low-maintenance, attractive plant well-suited to various growing conditions. Proper care can provide a beautiful, hardy addition to the landscape for many years to come. By providing well-drained soil, adequate sunlight and water, and avoiding over-fertilization, you can help your rice flower shrub thrive and produce beautiful flowers yearly.


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