Leptospermum petersonii (Lemon Scented Tea Tree) - This is a fast-growing evergreen, open-branched shrub or small tree to 8-20 feet tall with rough and fibrous bark and small, narrow 1-2 inch long by up to 1/4 inch wide pale green leaves. The white flowers with green centers bloom in summer on arching, pendulous branches. The leaves, if crushed, give off a lemon scent.
Lemon Scented Tea Tree has similar cultural requirements as the more common Tea Tree, Leptospermum laevigatum. Plant in full sun and irrigate occasionally to infrequently – this is a drought tolerant plant once established but best to protect from locations with hot, drying winds. It will grow in seaside condition and though slightly frost-tender it tolerates temperatures down to about 25 degrees F. Flowers are attractive to bees and other pollinators.
Leptospermum petersonii comes rainforest and drier sclerophyll forests from just north or Brisbane along the Gold Coast of Queensland south to near Port Macquarie in New South Wales. The genus name come from the Greek word 'leptos' meaning "thin" and 'sperma' meaning "seed" in reference to the small seeds and the specific epithet means "smooth", likely for the smooth hairless leaves. The specific epithet honors W.J. Peterson who first collected the plant on Wilsons Peak in Queensland in 1905. We have grown this attractive small tree since 1994.
Information about Leptospermum petersonii displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.