61221With such an odd variety of flowers blooming out of season, it should be no surprise that New Zealand tea tree, Leptospermum scoparium, decided to join the party. It starts blooming in phases in spring, and continues into autumn, so is not too terribly out of season. Besides, some varieties are known for spontaneous bloom phases at any time of year. Bloom can be pink, white or red.

The finely textured and aromatic evergreen foliage is slightly prickly to touch. Individual leaves are tiny and rather narrow, with pointed tips. Flowers are also tiny, but compensate with profusion. A few varieties have darker, almost bronzed foliage. A few varieties have fluffier double flowers (although the flowers are no wider than single flowers). The weight of bloom can cause limbs to sag.

Most garden varieties can reach the eaves. Larger varieties can eventually get to upstairs eaves. With minimal pruning, New Zealand tea tree is a colorful big shrub, with blooming stems from top to bottom. Alternatively, it can be an excellent small tree, with lower stems pruned away to expose the finely furrowed bark of the main trunks. It wants full sun, but not much else once established.

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11 thoughts on “New Zealand Tea Tree

  1. I don’t know if you have Leptospermum cultivars in the US but we have many here including groundcover forms, low and medium shrubs and a number with much larger flowers. I see at least one CA nursery carries many NZ and a few Australian tea trees, some of the nicest forms too IMO – http://nativeson.com – about 3hrs south of San Jose.

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    1. Oh wow! I remember them back in the late 1980s. Brent and I were out there once in a while, especially since I had to drive Brent to work at a retain nursery in Arroyo Grande.
      We have quite a few cultivars of New Zealand tea tree, but the ground cover types are rare. On one of the job sites that I inspected, the designer designated a ground cover type over a large embankment, but the installer, unable to obtain it, substituted it with a large shrubby type, and planted it all very close together as if it were ground cover. How inane! Anyway, I think that the ground cover types would be useful. They shrubby types do quite well here. Their main problem is landscapers and gardeners.

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    1. Unusual? Is that good or bad. Many people here dislike the aroma of the blue gum, but I really like it because I grew up with it, although it is not as exquisite as the light fragrance of apricot flowers, or the aroma of over ripe fruit.

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