Trees

Leptospermum

The genus Leptospermum is made up of a few species – in total there are about 86 – ideal for growing in pots and in gardens, be they small, medium or large. Some of them are more than ornamental plants: their leaves are used to make tea, which in addition to serving to quench thirst has medicinal properties.

For all these reasons, it is highly recommended to know them, because I already anticipate that with a minimum of care you will be able to create a very beautiful corner .

Origin and characteristics of Leptospermum

They are a genus of shrubs and trees mainly native to Australia, but there are two species in Malaysia and one in New Zealand. They grow to heights between 1 and 15 meters, with a dense branching. The leaves are evergreen, simple, and 1-2cm long.

The flowers are equally small, composed of five white, pink or red petals. The fruit is rounded, dry, and measures less than 1cm in diameter; inside it contains the seeds, which are fine.

Main species

The most popular are:

Leptospermum grandiflorum

Image – Flickr/ Tim Rudman

It is a shrub or little tree up to 6 meters high with leaves 1 to 3cm long by 3-7mm wide, with a plush underside and a somewhat shiny upper surface. The flowers are white, about 15mm wide, and bloom in autumn. The fruits are 8-10mm wide.

Leptospermum laevigatum

Image – Wikimedia/ Rhododendrites

It is a shrub or small tree that measures 1.5 to 6 meters in height with small leaves of 10 to 15mm. The flowers are white, 15-20mm in diameter, and sprout in winter. Its fruits measure 7 to 8mm in diameter.

Leptospermum scoparium

Image – Flickr/ wallygrom

It is the best known. It is popularly called manuka, tea tree or Leptospermum, and it is a shrub or tree that can reach 15 meters in height, but generally does not exceed 5m. Its leaves are 7-20mm long by 2-6mm wide. The flowers are white or pink and bloom towards the end of summer/ early fall.

What are the care for Leptospermum?

To have a well-cared for specimen, we recommend that you follow our advice:

Location

They are plants that must be outdoors, if possible in full sun, although they can live well in bright areas without being directly exposed to the sun.

They do not need much space to develop normally, but if you are going to plant it near walls or walls, leave a minimum separation of 50 centimeters, more if you choose to acquire a Leptospermum scoparium.

Earth

They grow in fertile, well-drained soils. Thus:

  • If it is grown in the garden: make a planting hole of about 50cm x 50cm (better if it is 1m x 1m), and mix the soil with worm castings (on sale here ), which is a natural fertilizer rich in nutrients for the plants.
  • If it is grown in a pot: it is advisable to mix universal substrate (on sale here ) with 20% perlite (on sale here ) and 10% worm castings.

Irrigation

Image – Flickr/ Tatters ✾

Moderate to frequent. It is necessary to avoid that the earth remains dry, since the Leptospermum does not bear too much the drought. To avoid problems, check the humidity of the soil with a meter, or with a stick (if it comes out practically clean when you extract it, water).

Also keep in mind that in a pot it will always be necessary to water something more than if it is on the ground, since having less soil it dries much faster. But be careful: that does not mean that it has to be planted in a container without holes or that a plate has to be put under it and kept overflowing; if you did so, its roots would rot and the plant would die quickly.

In addition, when watering it is necessary to avoid wetting the aerial part (stems, leaves, flowers) in order to avoid burns and fungi. The rains will not affect you at all; it is the best water that plants can drink, and any living being in fact.

If you don’t have a shower, you can use one with the »artichoke», like this 4l one that they sell here.

Subscriber

From the beginning of spring to the end of summer, it must be paid with organic and/ or homemade fertilizers, such as guano, compost, etc.

Related article:What types of organic fertilizers are there?

Planting or transplanting time

In spring, when the risk of frost has passed.

In case you have it in a pot, change it every two or three years.

Plagues and diseases

It’s very tough.

Multiplication

It multiplies by seeds and herbaceous cuttings in spring. Let’s know how to proceed in each case:

Seeds

The seeds are sown in seedling trays or in pots with well watered seedbed substrate. You should not put many together; it is better if they are as far apart as possible.

Placing the seedbed outside will germinate in about three weeks.

Cuttings

Herbaceous branches are taken, then they are impregnated with rooting hormones and finally they are planted in pots with previously moistened vermiculite.

They will issue their own roots in a month.

Rusticity

They resist weak frosts, being the Leptospermum scoparium more resistant being able to support up to -10ºC.

What uses do they have?

Image – Wikimedia/ Forest & Kim Starr

Ornamental

They are very decorative plants, which do not occupy much. They can be kept as hedges, or as isolated specimens. They are also worked as bonsai.

Culinary

The leaves of Leptospermum scoparium are boiled and then taken as an infusion.

Medicinal

Manuka honey ( L. scoparium ) relieves the symptoms of digestive diseases, oral diseases, and eye and ear infections. Of course, its use is not recommended in children under one year of age.

You can buy it here.

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