Schemes & Themes using Liddle Wonder Plants
Xeronema Callistemon
Xeronema 'Callistemon'
Small native with bold foliage

It’s fortunate that the common name Poor Knights Lily is well accepted for the small but bold native Xeronema callistemon, because the botanical name is certainly a tongue twister. Once you realise that the X is actually pronounced as a Z, so it sounds as Zeronema, it’s a lot easier!

Another fortunate thing about this plant is that the foliage is so good that it wouldn’t matter if it never flowered. And sometimes it really does refuse to produce its dark red and very handsome flowers which are shaped like a giant, upturned toothbrush with a backwards curving handle. Why some plants of Poor Knights lily produce flowers and others don’t is a bit of a mystery and a much debated topic among enthusiasts of this rather special native. Perhaps the secret has to do with its natural habitat which is among rocks on the exposed Poor Knights islands where there’s lots of sunshine and reflected warmth.

In garden situations it needs excellent drainage and is well suited to container growing, thriving even in very shallow pots. If you enjoy a challenge, or like bold, handsome foliage, or both, then the Poor Knights lily is for you!
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