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Products > Leptospermum laevigatum
Leptospermum laevigatum - Australian Tea Tree
Image of Leptospermum laevigatum
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtles)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [Fabricia laevigata ]
Height: 20-30 feet
Width: 20-30 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Leptospermum laevigatum (Australian Tea Tree) - This is a large, evergreen shrub or small tree that, with age, develops a structurally beautiful and sculptural spreading, twisting and curving light gray trunk and branches which have the tendency to arch along the ground. It grows 15-30 feet high and 20-30 feet wide with small, pointed oblong, dull green leaves on gracefully pendulous branches. Small rose-like white flowers appear in spring.

Plant in full sun to light shade in most soil types where it is drought tolerant and hardy to around 25 degrees F and will grow in seaside conditions but may need protection from hot, dry winds. It naturally forms an open sprawling shrub with sculptural branches but also responds well to trimming or even hedging and can also be trained as a bonsai subject.

Leptospermum laevigatum is common in coastal areas in the Australian states of New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and possibly into South Australia where it grows on sand dunes and cliffs; there it is called Coast Tea Tree. This tree has also naturalized outside of its native range in other parts of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Hawaii.

The name for the genus is a Latinized Greek compound from 'leptos' meaning slender and 'spermum' meaning "seed" in reference to the small seeds and the specific epithet means "smooth", likely for the smooth hairless leaves. This species was one of the earliest Australian plant introductions in California and was noted to be in a 1871 exhibition in San Francisco under its older name Fabricia laevigata and reported growing in Oakland that same year. There are many beautiful specimens noted in California, including an amazing wide growing specimen growing in Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens in Santa Barbara that was first measured 36 feet wide in 1939 when the site was then on the grounds of the El Mirasol Hotel. This amazing specimen is much wider than this now.

We have grown this attractive and useful plant since the nursery started in 1979. We also growth a dwarf form of it called Leptospermum laevigatum 'Reevesii'

This information about Leptospermum laevigatum displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.