Gordonia (Gordonia axillaris syn. Polyspora axillaris)

Also known as fried egg plant, is a small, rounded evergreen shrub to tree 2-9m in height, so makes an ideal shade tree. It can also be grown as a small feature tree for a small or medium garden or as a hedge for screening. It has attractive bark and glossy green leaves.

It is native to parts of Asia including southern China, Hong Kong and Vietnam but is grown in gardens around the world for its evergreen leaves and white flowers with central boss of golden stamens that appear in early autumn through to winter.

A feature of this plant is that its flowers tend to fall ‘sunny side’ up (with the golden stamens showing) and last well forming an attractive floral carpet. Gordonia grows in similar conditions to camellias.

Growing conditions

Aspect Gordonia needs a bright, sunny location. It will grow in more shaded conditions with fewer flowers except in frost-prone areas.

Soil They grow best with deep, moisture retentive, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Before planting or to improve the soil, add homemade compost and organic matter and/or Seasol Super Compost.

Climate Gordonia grows in a wide range of frost-free climates from temperate to tropical.

How to grow and look after gordonia for beautiful blooms including soil, planting, feeding
How to grow and look after gordonia for beautiful blooms including soil, planting, feeding

General care

Watering Water regularly through summer to encourage good growth and flowering or if plants are in hot, dry or exposed conditions.

Feeding and mulching Feed throughout the seasons using a complete fertiliser for flowering plants such as Seasol plus Nutrients Roses & Flowers. Supplement feeding with a liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers every 2 to 4 weeks. Regular applications of Seasol also assist drought hardiness and disease resistance.

Mulch Gordonia well with organic mulch such as lucerne, sugar cane or straw. Also add well-rotted manure to the natural leaf mulch that accumulates under the flowers.

Pruning Although naturally compact, prune after flowering to shape if you want a bushy shrub rather than a small tree. They can be easily kept to a small size if desired with gentle pruning. Otherwise, pruning is unnecessary.

Watch out This plant has few pest or disease problems making it an excellent choice for low maintenance planting.