The genus Leptospermum (Common Name: Tea tree) includes over 80 species, mostly Australian indigenous plants, from the family Myrtaceae.
Appearance: Small to large spreading woody plants with small deep green leaves that are usually scented when crushed.
Flowers: Small five-petalled flowers attractive to bees produced in great abundance along the stems in warmer months.
Many cultivars with attractive flowers are available.
Features: Bee attracting, foliage is good for floristry filling.
Requirements: adaptable plants, but most prefer moist loams. Can tolerate clays and sands. Some will withstand periodic flooding, some are drought tolerant. Tropical and temperate species exist. Most prefer full sun to partial shade.
Culture: Do not over fertilise. Pruning will improve shape of the plant and make it easier to look after.
Pest & Disease: Aphids, thrip, borers, beetles, leaf hoppers, case moths, sawflies, webbing caterpillars, weevils, scale, witches' brooms, sooty mould.
Species & Varieties:
L. brachyandrum -A weeping attractive large shrub to 5m. Graceful soft weeping foliage, multi-trunked and semi-deciduous bark are main features. Small white flowers in summer.
L. citratum var. petersonii (Lemon scented Tea tree) -A medium spreading bush to 4m or taller in shaded positions, with arching branches. Lemon scented leaves and white flowers.
L. flavescens -A variable species from small weeping to tall pendulant specimens. This species is sometimes referred to as L. polygalifolium.
L. juniperinum -An adaptable small to medium shrub, with small, pointed (prickly) leaves and attractive small white flowers.
L. fabricia (syn. Neofabricia myrtifolia) -Upright shrub to 4m tall, bright yellow flowers, prefers full sun and humid tropics. Suitable for temperate areas as well.
L. laevigatum (Coastal tea tree) -Fast growing large shrub to small tree for coastal areas. Requires good drainage.
L. longifolium (Weeping Tea Tree) -To 5m tall, low weeping foliage, small white fragrant flowers. Often referred to as L. madidum.
L. madidum -Suited to the tropics, but some subspecies will grow in sub tropics (not colder climates). It needs water in dry spells. A variable shrub to 6m tall, with attractive bark, flowers cream or white.
L. 'Pink Cascade' -Suited to the subtropics but not tropics. A shrub to 3m tall, attractive pink flowers, and pink stems. Spreading weeping habit. 'Red Cascade' has red flowers.