The Complete Guide for Christmas Bush (Baccharis Magellanica) Care


The Christmas Bush, otherwise known as the Baccharis Magellanica or Bambusa glaucescens ‘Alphonse Karr’, Clump-Forming Bamboo, is a rather well known bamboo plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low to average maintenance and slow growth, this bamboo will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its gray-green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Christmas Bush Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

In order to take proper care of your Christmas Bush you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Christmas Bush grows best with watering each week. Increase the frequency of watering when it gets hot.
  • Light: Keep your Baccharis Magellanica in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Christmas Bush in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of loam.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Christmas Bush will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Baccharis magellanica care

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Christmas Bush belongs to the Poaceae family, the genus Bambusa and the species Multiplex, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Baccharis Magellanica (BAK-uh-riss ma-jell-AN-ee-kuh).

As with other Bambusa’s, the Christmas Bush is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

The Christmas Bush is a plant native to the Asia.

You might be wondering why your Christmas Bush’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Baccharis Magellanica will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 11 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Christmas Bush is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But what exactly does this mean for your Christmas Bush? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Baccharis Magellanica can grow up to 10′ – 30′ (3m – 9m) in 10′ – 30′ (3m – 9m).

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful spreading shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

Water

In terms of watering, the Christmas Bush is a fairly simple plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Baccharis Magellanica grows best with watering each week. Increase the frequency of watering when it gets hot.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Baccharis magellanica purple flower

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Christmas Bush in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and moist properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Christmas Bush is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Christmas Bush prefers to have soil with good drainage, and moist properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of loam.

This is why most experts agree that the Christmas Bush requires soil with high organic matter, and loam (silt), which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Christmas Bush requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this bamboo will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Baccharis Magellanica in from little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy), to full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being an evergreen plant, the Christmas Bush will be present year round in your garden.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.

Flowers

In particular, this bamboo is well known for its showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Christmas Bush produces some beautiful white flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Christmas Bush have a beautiful gray-green color during most of the year.

You can expect the leaves from your Baccharis Magellanica to be around (3-6 inches) in size.

Baccharis magellanica up close

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Christmas Bush is well known for its tolerance to salt, drought and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Baccharis Magellanica will be fine.

Garden

Does your Christmas Bush have any garden recommendations? Does it serve any gardening purposes? Here’s how you can get the most out of your new plant.

Most Baccharis Magellanica owners agree that this bamboo will look great in most rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of coastal garden styles. 

In particular, the Christmas Bush’s best location within your garden is in hedges and screens, and in patio and containers, others use it for landscaping in a coastal exposure, ground cover, border, erosion control, or a mass planting.

Companion Plants

Christmas Bush’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Sedum, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Sempervivum will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Christmas Bush in your garden or home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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