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Australian Tea Tree

Leptospermum laevigatum

Evergreen foliage and twisted trunks clothed with shaggy, shedding bark all contribute to Australian tea tree’s unique look and texture. Also called Australian myrtle, this tree displays masses of white, roselike flowers in spring. Trim vigorous upright branches for use in mixed bouquets.

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Light:

Sun

Type:

Height:

8 to 20 feet

Width:

Up to 30 feet

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:

Seasonal Features:

Special Features:

Zones:

9-10

Propagation

Planting Australian Tea Tree

Australian tea tree is beloved for its twisted branches and weeping habit that develops with age. Tolerant of dry condition, this tree thrives where others struggle to survive. Plant it as a focal point in the landscape and enjoy the combination of evergreen foliage, artistic shape and texture, and spring's showy white flowers. Plant several Australian tea trees together to create a living privacy screen.

How to Care For Australian Tea Tree

This unique tree originated in the dry coastal areas of eastern Australia, where it needed to withstand drought and salt spray to survive. In fact, this tree is regarded as an excellent plant for stabilizing beaches. For landscaping purposes, Australian tea tree grows well in full sun or part shade and loose, fast-draining acidic soil—loamy to sandy. Avoid heavy clay soil; sluggish drainage tends to cause root rot.

When planting Australian tea tree, be sure to allow enough space for it to spread and its weeping branches to develop.Give newly planted specimens 1 inch of water weekly the first summer, then continue watering it during extended dry periods for its first year. Once established, Australian tea tree can withstand extended periods of drought. Potted specimens need to be watered all year due to their restricted root systems.

Plants growing in extremely dry locations with sandy soil may benefit from deep watering in summer to keep stems hydrated and prevent pests and diseases from invading. (Happily, few pests or diseases attack Australian tea trees.) Prune its lower branches in spring after flowering to display the contorted structure.

This tree can become invasive under ideal conditions, so avoid letting them self-sow. Remove spent flowers to stop seed production (hard to do in large specimens). Or rake up the seed capsules when they drop to the ground. Cut off seedlings at soil level as a last resort.

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