S & J Nurserys Guide to Growing
New Zealand Tea Tree / Tea Rose
in the Northeast Florida Landscape
( Leptospermum scoparium )
New Zealand Tea Tree Origins:
– Leptospermum scoparium is native to New Zealand and Australia. While not perfectly suited for the North Florida landscape, these drought tolerant sun loving plants can perform
well when a little care is given to where in the landscape to plant them.
– New Zealand Tea Tree plants are well suited to sandy and well draining soil in any sunny spot in the landscape.
– Avoid planting in any clay soils or garden sites that don’t have really
great drainage, try planting them above ground in a container if your garden just wont suit them. I have had great success in moist soils with these planted into a large pot with the bottom cut off and set half way into
the ground, that way when our North Florida rain season sets in your New Zealand Tea Trees still have plenty of roots above the water logged soil
New Zealand Tea Tree Preferred Exposure:
– Leptospermum scoparium will prefer a full sun location with at least 6 hours of good direct light in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine areas gardens. Make sure the afternoon sun gets them as they don’t prefer damp foliage going into the night during our rain seasons.
New Zealand Tea Tree Foliage:
– Aromatic, evergreen foliage of the New Zealand Tea Tree is a beautifully delicate medium green with a purplish tone to it and tiny almost needle like leaves. The foliage is so soft you can almost see right through it in the landscape! unusual texture on such a tall plant!
New Zealand Tea Tree Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:
– Leptospermum scoparium plants will tolerate rich but fast draining
-Salt tolerance unknown
New Zealand Tea Tree Size Variance:
– New Zealand Tea Tree can reach sizes of 5-6+ feet High | 3-4 feet Wide but is extremely slow growing.
New Zealand Tea Tree Growth Habit:
– Leptospermum scoparium has a upright almost columnar growth habit. Much taller than it is wide.
New Zealand Tea Tree Growth Rate:
– Slow growing shrub is well worth the effort it takes to find them and select
just the right spot in the North Florida landscape.
New Zealand Tea Tree Bloom:
– New Zealand Tea Tree gets it common name Tea Rose from its small
delicate rose like blooms that literally cover the branches each year for months and months in the late winter and early spring and just keep on going into the summer months.
– Delicate Pink, Rose or white bicolour were used to make tea giving the plant its common name still infuse today. I have never tried it, I just cant seem to make myself waste even a few of these favored blooms!
New Zealand Tea Tree Water Requirements:
– New Zealand Tea Tree is drought tolerant once established into the landscape but requires attention to daily watering when first being planted from the nursery containers into the landscape, especially during North
Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area’s hot summer months.
Butterfly or Bird Attracting:
– Not touted to be particularly butterfly or bird attracting.
Best Uses For New Zealand Tea Tree:
– New Zealand Tea Trees make a great choice for an accent shrub or
small landscape accent tree. Their densely flowering display for more than half of the year make them a showpiece in any landscape setting.
– Perfect for the focal piece of a mixed perennial border.
– New Zealand Tea Tree makes an excellent potted plant for accenting entry ways or path entry and exit points.
Care of S & J Nursery’s Tea Rose Plants:
– Shrubs can be planted in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area at any time during the year. In normal and well draining soils dig the hole as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide. Plant the top of the root ball level or slightly higher than the surrounding soils. When
planting in poorly drained soils make sure to plant your shrubs a minimum of 2 – 3 inches ABOVE the surrounding soil level.
– Water every day during the establishment period. For most 3 gallon size shrubs in the North Florida landscape in average soil, that is neither heavy clay that holds water or really sandy that will take 2-3 weeks of daily watering to ensure that your newly planted shrub will begin to put out new roots and grow into its new home happily. After the first few weeks begin tapering back your watering to every other day then every third day and so on until your newly planted items are flourishing without your assistance.
– IMPORTANT: If planting New Zealand Tea Tree in heavy clay soils that hold allot of water after a rain or irrigating, try planting into a raised berm of well draining soil brought in and added to the landscape in the area you would like your New Zealand Tea Tree, or plant into a large container
with the bottom portion cut off and plant the container half in ground and half way out of the ground.
– IMPORTANT: When planting New Zealand Tea Tree shrubs into poor sandy soils be sure to amend the planting hole by mixing compost or cow manure etc. with the native soil that will go back in the hole around the new plants root ball when installing your shrub material, this will not only give your new shrubs good soil to grow its new roots into but help it hold water.
– When planting New Zealand Tea Tree shrubs from containers be sure to loosen the roots as much as possible pulling loose roots away from the root ball before installing your new plants, if the roots are to tight to easily loosen with your hands use a knife to cut a few slits into the root ball being
careful to go all the way from the top to the bottom and making the cut at least an inch deep. This will ensure that your plant will immediately begin to form new roots into its new surrounding soil.
– Mulch newly planted shrubs whenever possible.
– Fertilize each spring with a mixture of Milorganite and a slow release poly coated plant food such as Osmocote or Stay Green general purpose plant food, sprinkling the fertilizer around the mulch circle underneath the foliage of the tree
– Prune only as needed or to bring flowering stems into the house for display purposes. New Zealand Tea Tree does not require anything but light pruning ( just a few inches off) each season to keep them looking their best. Heavy pruning is not recommended as plants may not recover.