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LEPTOSPERMUM scoparium

Image of Leptospermum scoparium

TL

Family

Myrtaceae

Botanical Name

LEPTOSPERMUM scoparium

Plant Common Name

Broom Tea Tree, New Zealand Tea Tree, Tea Tree

General Description

Few drought resistant shrubs can rival the color of a tea tree in full bloom. This large evergreen shrub or small tree has small, prickly, needle-like leaves and many thumbnail-sized blossoms. It is a native of New Zealand where it grows in a wide range of areas from peaty bogs to coastal and montane regions. So, it is surprisingly adaptable, especially to arid sites and soils.

Wild specimens are tree-like, highly variable and not suitable for coiffed formal gardens, but they develop a natural grace when allowed to maintain their irregular form. Bloom time is variable depending on climate and location. In New Zealand it blooms in their spring and summer. Likewise, in the Pacific Northwest and the United Kingdom it is reported to bloom from spring to summer. But, in the southwestern United States it tends to bloom from late fall or winter into spring.

The waxy, five-petaled blooms are small and densely line the branches. Pink, rose, white or red-flowered selections are available as are double-flowered forms, though in the wild the flowers are typically white or rarely pink. Many cultivated varieties have been bred for improved habit, size, flower color and performance.

Tea tree grows quickly if given full to partial sun and acid to neutral soil with average to good drainage. It will withstand arid coastal and inland conditions but grows more vigorously if well-watered. In highly arid regions, it is best to provide protection from hot afternoon sun. Use tea tree to flesh out mixed borders and dry gardens. It is excellent for erosion control but not in wildfire hazard zones as it is oil-rich and volatile.

Allow tea trees to grow naturally. All pruning is best done selectively and sparingly. Many a well-intentioned gardener has “tidied" them up with shears or clippers thus spoiling their natural shape while creating more long-term maintenance for these otherwise carefree plants.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 3

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    12 - 14

  • Sunset Zone

    14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-15' / 3.3f - 49.2f

  • Width

    1'-8' / 3.3f - 26.2f

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    New Zealand

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Pollution, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Pink, Rose, Burgundy, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No