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. One of the best varieties for pot growing. Large, soft double pink flowering manuka. The bushy growth makes it perfect for a spectacular hedge, or just as at home as a specimen in the garden. Prune lightly after flowers for best shape.
Colour: Pink Habit: Bushy Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 2m
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. Manuka AKA Tea Tree. From the Far North of NZ this evergreen shrub has large soft pink flowers with wavy petals borne in profusion during winter and spring. Quite an open growth habit with light green foliage. Happiest in the sun and copes well with wind.
Colour: Pink / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 1.5m
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/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 2m
A lovely little form of Tea Tree that has masses of flowers in spring through to autumn in tones of pink and dark pink. The small stiff leaves are in bronze green tones set on cascading branches making this a most attractive plant to tumble over banks and walls. Loves the sun. Hardy and evergreen.
Colour: Pink Habit: Ground-cover Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 150cm
Native. A lovely little tree that will delight with masses of double white flowers in winter and spring. The flowers have a maroon centre and will be much loved by bees. Aromatic dark green foliage with bronze tones. Plant in the sun, tolerant, hardy and evergreen. Suitable for coastal gardens.
Colour: White / Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 2m
If you want a profusion of double crimson blooms from August until December then this is a great little shrub to add to your planting scheme. The flowers are beautifully complemented by the bronze foliage. Good compact, upright habit. Happiest a sunny position. Evergreen.
Colour: Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1.5m
Bright single red flowers on ornamental dark foliage make this prostrate ground cover a good choice for cascading over walls or covering banks. The flowers appear in late winter. Will grow in most soils as long as well drained. Prefers sun. Can be trimmed to keep tidy if you wish. Evergreen.
Colour: Red Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 50cm x 150cm
Gorgeous single white flowers massed on ornamental dark foliage make this prostrate ground cover a good choice for cascading over walls or covering banks. The flowers appear in late winter. Will grow in most soils as long as well drained. Prefers sun. Can be trimmed to keep tidy if you wish. Evergreen.