Golden penda (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) is a fabulous rainforest tree that thrives in sub-tropical and warm temperate conditions. It’s an Australian native that is related to eucalypts and bottlebrushes and produces masses of amazing yellow flowers in summer and autumn.
In a rainforest the golden penda will grow 10-15 metres tall but in a garden where it doesn’t have to compete for light it’ll stop at around 7 metres. If you haven’t got that much room the good news is it can be pruned or restricted by growing in a large container. There’s also a smaller growing variety called ‘Little Penda’ that only reaches 2-4 metres.
Golden pendas are fast growers when grown in ideal conditions and make terrific screens or windbreaks. They also attract birds, bees and butterflies to your garden when in flower so you won’t be disappointed!
How To Grow A Golden Penda
Choose a sunny position and ensure the soil has good drainage. Improve the soil with compost and an organic pelletised fertilizer. The more organic matter in your soil the better it will perform. Generally it’s best to avoid planting into heavy clay soils. Apply some gypsum to the soil before planting if you have any concerns.
Once planted, water in with OCP eco-seaweed and mulch around the plant to help retain moisture and keep the weeds down. Like most rainforest plants, golden pendas require regular moisture in order to thrive.
Golden pendas can be grown from seed but germination is quite slow so it’s more common to purchase as a potted plant.
As mentioned above golden pendas grow best in warm climates but they can handle some cooler winter weather. As a guide they will easily grow as far south as Sydney but can only handle the lightest of frosts. If you’re in a borderline region be sure to protect trees when young and select a position which receives maximum winter warmth. In these areas you won’t see as many flowers and growth will be slower.
Fertilising and Maintenance of Golden Penda
Young trees will benefit from a dose of OCP eco-seaweed and OCP eco-aminogro every 2-3 weeks to promote vigour and robust growth. Larger established trees will be content with a yearly top up of compost and organic fertiliser pellets each spring. However if grown in poor soil do this more often in a bid to improve your soil and plant growth.
Note that golden pendas are not phosphorus sensitive so you don’t need to use a special native fertiliser.
Golden pendas respond well to pruning so they can easily be maintained as a shrub or an informal hedge. Prune each year after flowering.
Pests and Diseases of Golden Pendas
The good news is that golden pendas suffer from minimal pests and diseases. Occasionally you might have an issue with some sap-sucking pests, like aphids which can be controlled with OCP eco-oil or OCP eco-neem. Scale may also appear but can be controlled with an organic insecticide.