The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Family: Myrtaceae.

Common name(s): Tea Tree
Leptospermum Genus of about 80 species of evergreen shrubs and trees occuring in rainforest and semi-arid areas mainly in Australia, but also from S.E Asia to New Zealand.

On long ocean voyages, Captain Cook brewed tea from the leaves of Leptospermum scoparium to prevent scurvy, hence the common name, Tea Tree. Covered with white or pinkish flowers, these casual shrubs or small trees are especially attractive in spring. Long-lasting seed capsules follow flowers. These broad-spreading evergreens have slender branches and small stiff leaves. Established plants tolerate drought and grow well in coastal conditions. Prefer full sun and well-drained soil, otherwise they're prone to root problems. Shear branches or prune, but never cut into bare wood.

Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Warm in summer - minimum 40 F in winter. As much light as possible. Shade from hot sun. Grow in soil-based potting mix. Keep compost moist at all times - reduce watering in winter. Mist leaves frequently. Take stem cuttings in spring. Use a rooting hormone and provide bottom heat. Sow seed at 55-61 F (13-16 C) in autumn or spring.

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