One of the stars of Melbourne gardens in winter is Luculia gratissima, an evergreen shrub/small tree from the lower Himalayas and southern Asia. The perfumed clusters of pink-white flowers appear from autumn to mid-winter. On fine winter days, their vanilla-sweet scent is a particular joy. Take a stroll down Monash Rd at the University of Melbourne – the walkway that heads east -west from the main tram stop on Swanston Street- and you encounter a fine specimen on your right. Sadly, for pedestrian access reasons, we have had to prune it a little harder than ideal. But it’s still a ripper!
Luculias have an open and often irregular habit, and must be positioned carefully. Protection from wind and extended periods of direct sun is a must. Nutritious and moist but well-drained soils, and protection from frosts, are essential. I know that reads like every plant information label you’ve ever read, but in this case it’s true.
So south-facing walls with good wind protection are ideal. Slap bang in the middle of your open lawn in clay-loam soil? Not so good.
Plant one, or three, if you can. They are terrific!