Leptospermum scoparium
Common Name: broom tea tree
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Myrtaceae
Native Range: New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand
Zone: 9 to 10
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-10. Prefers acidic, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Young plants appreciate a consistently moist soil, but established plants prefer moderate but even moisture. Avoid heavy poorly-drained soils. Prune each year after flowering to maintain shape and density. Species plants may be propagated by seed, but cultivars by cuttings. This plant has escaped gardens and naturalized in certain parts of Hawaii where it is now considered to be an invasive plant. Double flowered cultivars often produce little seed, however, making them less likely to naturalize.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Leptospermum scoparium, commonly known as tea tree, is an upright evergreen shrub which typically grows to 6-10' tall and as wide. It sometimes grows in tree form to 15-20' or more tall. It is native to southeastern Australia and New Zealand. Ornamental features include small, aromatic (when crushed), prickly, needle-like leaves and solitary, cup-shaped white flowers which bloom in late spring (June - July). Cultivars produce red, pink or white flowers in both single and double varieties. Flowers give way to small woody capsules containing tiny seeds. Bees love the flowers.

Genus name comes from the Greek words leptos meaning slender and sperma meaning seed referring to the narrow seeds.

Specific epithet means broom-like.

Common name is in reference to the use of leaves by Captain James Cook and his crew to make a tea-like drink.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in overly moist soils.

Garden Uses

Attractive landscape shrub. May be grown in containers that are overwintered indoors.