The wonderful Tea Tree is part of a genus made up of about 80 species of evergreen shrubs or small trees with small narrow, needle-like leaves, some of which are aromatic when crushed, a bit lemony. Native of Australia, it has a relative that is native to NZ which is naturally widespread in certain areas.
When Captain Cook’s crew and the early settlers were suffering from scurvy as well as withdrawal from their regular English tea, they would use the leaves of a variety of the Leptospermum to make a brew.
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The flowers range in colour from white through pink and red shades, and there are singles and doubles that bloom prolifically. They are used in many different ways in landscaping; groups of trees provide graceful hedging, single specimens provide a splash of colour, they can be pruned to shapes such as standards, and they make an excellent addition to the vase. The nectar from the flowers is harvested by bees and makes a yummy and highly beneficial honey.
The requirements for cultivation of the species are that they are best suited to well-drained soil in full sun, but some will tolerate wet and shady conditions. In order to retain their bushy habit, light pruning from a young age and each year after flowering is recommended. Most species are hardy to drought.
Leptospermum scoparium, commonly known as Manuka is a bushy shrub seldom more than 3.5 – 4m high, but Leptospermum ericoides, knownasKanuka grows into a small tree up to 12m or more. Both species are, however, extremely variable. They flower in profusion and Manuka has showy, white flowers about 10cm across but Kanuka has much smaller flowers. The fruits are woody capsules containing numerous small, linear seeds. Manuka sheds its bark in long papery strips and the wood is the best known firewood in New Zealand so you can always put your prunings into the fire which will keep you warm and hapy and gay on those cold winter nights!
Native. Manuka AKA Tea Tree. Exquisite double flowers that start appearing in late winter and continue through to the spring. The flowers are in tones of burgundy-red and are complemented by the dainty deep bronze aromatic foliage. Happy in the sun. Evergreen.
Colour: Red / Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1.5m
Native. Also known as tea tree, Manuka, New Zealand Tea Tree. Cerise margins, white petals with dark eyes and prominent eye lashes. Prune lightly after flowering for best shape. Very free flowering and tidy growth habit. Moderately fertile, well drained neutral or acid soil in full sun or partial shade. Evergreen
Colour: Pink Habit: Bushy Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 2m
Native. An attractive evergreen shrub that will brighten up the garden in the dull winter months. This small upright teatree clothes itself with masses of white flowers in spring. Cygnus is hardy and will grow in most soil types. Evergreen. PVR
Colour: White / Pink Habit: Bushy Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 2m
Aust. Native. Merinda has vibrant magenta flowers that cover the bush in colour. Flowers occur in late spring. Early growth of this plant is spreading or cascading but will develop into a small shrub. Frost tolerant.
Colour: Red Habit: Cascading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
Mesmer Eyes is a low spreading shrub that makes a great screen plant and is a spectacular sight in spring when in flower. Upright habit with small mid-green leaves and stunning large white flowers that age to pink. Perfect for pot culture or as a feature plant in the garden. Likes a sunny spot in moist soil. Evergreen. PVR App
Colour: White / Pink Habit: Low spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m
Native. AKA Tea Tree. This dwarf form of Tea Tree has single white, pink-flushed flowers with a dark eye that appear during spring. Upright growth habit and very free flowering, tolerating most soil types and conditions. Evergreen.
Colour: White / Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 45cm x 45cm
Aust. Native. This New Release stunning upright Leptospermum which smothers itself in masses of deep red flowers in mid-late spring. Suited t most soil types in full sun. Would make an attractive screen plant. Trim back after flowering to shape and size
The large deep mauve flowers are produced in mid to late spring on a nice compact shrub which will grow to approximately 1.5 - 2 meters in height. A hardy shrub for most soil types and climates. Evergreen. PVR