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!
'Blushing Star' has been selected as a variety which is particularly good at producing an abundance of flowers which smother the tops of the arching branches during the spring months. The flowers are a soft blush pink with a deep maroon centre. A hardy New Zealand native shrub which will grow in most garden situations.
Colour: Pink Habit: Bushy Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 2m
Native. An unusual form of our native Manuka (Tea Tree) which has a low semi-prostrate habit that makes it ideal for cascading over walls and banks. Can also be used in rock gardens or as a ground cover. The foliage is tiny, narrow and pointed, the flowers are white with dark centres. Evergreen.
Colour: White Habit: Weeping Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: cm x cm
Native. Attractive low spreading shrub that has a spectacular display in spring. Selected as a variety which is particularly good at producing an abundance of purple flowers which smother the tops of the spreading branches. Plant in a sunny spot in well drained soil. Quite tolerant and reasonably hardy to light frost. Evergreen.
Colour: Purple Habit: Low Spreading Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 2m
Native. An unusual form of our native Manuka (Tea Tree) which has a low semi-prostrate habit that makes it ideal for cascading over walls and banks. Can also be used in rock gardens or as a ground cover. The foliage is tiny, narrow and pointed, the flowers are in tones of rose red and pink. Evergreen.
Colour: Pink / Pink Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 90cm