The Leptospermum is a small shrub that can eventually become a tree, usually never more than 24 feet tall in the oldest of specimens. It includes roughly 80 species belonging to the myrtle family. The majority of them all grow in Australia and are better known as tea trees after the practice early Australian settlers made of brewing their leaves. The Leptospermum is recognised for evergreen leaves that are simple, sharp-tipped, and small. This is becoming a popular plant in the subtropical parts of America thanks to its large red, pink, or white flowers that bloom for ten months out of the year. Here is a guide on how to grow Leptospermums.
Because only about 1 of every 100 Leptospermum cuttings or seeds will take root, it is recommended that you buy a Leptospermum seedling.
Repot the seedling as soon as possible, as the Leptospermum has special needs. Fill a pot that’s about twice the size of the one the seedling came in with professionally mixed potting soil with a low pH and high peat moss content. The soil mixture can be too difficult for the average person to make, so it is best to just purchase it.
Carefully place the seedling in the new pot at the same level it was in the old pot. Make sure the roots are not disturbed or damaged during the move, as the plant will die in a few hours if this happens.
Water the soil sparsely every other day. Only use just enough water to dampen the top soil. This genus has a very delicate but efficient root system that needs only a little water to survive. It will die in a matter of hours if it is overwatered.
Place the pot in a window sill that receives direct sunlight all day. The plant can be put outdoors if the average temperature does not drop below 10 degrees Celsius, although an established Leptospermum can occasionally survive temperatures that drop below freezing.
Water down a high-acidity fertiliser like Miracid once every three months and lightly sprinkle it on the soil surrounding the plant. This will burn the leaves, so keep the fertiliser on the soil only.
Repot the plant after about a year. At this time the plant may be big enough to be planted outdoors depending on the species. Most species will be too big to keep indoors after about five years. Regardless of whether it is repotted or planted in the ground, simply keep the soil moist and try not to disturb or stress the plant by trimming it.
The Leptospermum is resistant to many diseases but can go from healthy to dead in a matter of hours if they are overwatered. This genus is very prone to root rot.