Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: New Zealand Tea Tree, New Zealand Tea Bush, Manuka
Leptospermum scoparium

Family: Myrtaceae (mir-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Leptospermum (lep-toh-SPER-mum) (Info)
Species: scoparium (sko-PAIR-ee-um) (Info)

Synonym:Kunzea scoparium

18 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 29 photos.
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11 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive beachwalker520 On Feb 8, 2013, beachwalker520 from New Smyrna Beach, FL wrote:

A year ago we planted 3 of these plants on the walkway of the southwest corner of our garage to block the view of neighbor's garbage cans (partial sun). Once it started blooming, neighbors constantly stopped by to find out what the lovely plants were. We have since added 3 to block the view of the utility boxes in our front lawn (full sun western exposure) and one on the north corner of house to block the view of our meter boxes (partial sun). Could not be more pleased with this low maintenance, airy plant that gifts us with a colorful display of small flowers. One stopped me this year because she couldn't believe that this was January and it is in full bloom! Highly recommend to Central Florida neighbors due to it's cold hardiness and drought tolerant features.

Positive ruprecht On Oct 10, 2012, ruprecht from Shreveport, LA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I bought one of these in Houston several years ago and grew it successfully here in Shreveport, LA (zone 8). I had it for four or five years, and then individual branches began turning brown. I cut them off, assuming that was a bug infestation, and that seemed to solve the problem for a while. Eventually, however, the whole plant died at a point when it was about four feet tall and looking like a small tree. During these years it survived temperatures well into the 20s without any apparent problem. Its death did not result from freezing. I don't know what caused it. Very pretty when it blossomed.

Positive lynnOnOlena On Apr 5, 2010, lynnOnOlena from Keaau, HI wrote:

We are at 300 feet elevation, about 5 miles from ocean. I raised my Manuka from seed, in a 4" plastic pot full of pro-mix, it took a long time, but the sole surviving tree is now about five feet tall, slow growing. I babied the seedlings at first, but then put them out in the shade-house, where they were alternately drenched and dried out, over and over.

My tree faces south, in a poor old garden bed, and has never bloomed in the several years it has been here. We may have a foot of rain a day, and many rainy days, followed by "drought". Still, it is very healthy, and the leaves are fragrant. I am growing it for the leaves, to use as tea.

Encouraged, I am now sprouting Melaleuca alternifolia, and the tiny sprouts are amazingly strong-scented.

Positive cam2 On Jan 13, 2010, cam2 from Houston, TX wrote:

I have had this little shrub in a pot for about 4-yrs (I want to keep it small). I have the "Ruby Glow", which has scarlet-pink double flower with foliage that is often a bronzy color. I absolutely love it even though it is not full like some specimens I have seen, it always has interest.

Positive flaflwrgrl On Jun 20, 2009, flaflwrgrl from North Central , FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

When I got this from the nursery they had the wrong latin name on it--they had the Leptospermum right but not the rest. I have it planted in partial shade and I have a xeri yard. I LOVE it! I've had it about 2 years now and for the last 12 months it has been in continual bloom. It always has 3 colors of flowers on it; white, pink and near red. The blooms darken as they age. It was a bit "thin" but is thickening up now and since I finally know what it is, I will be able to better care for it. I'm also looking forward to propagating it so I can have more around the yard. It has had no pest or fungus problems, & withstands our heat, drought, & high humidity with aplomb. Truly a delight!

Neutral salgiambruno On Jun 15, 2009, salgiambruno from La Verne, CA wrote:

Nice plant with lots of flowers, but be careful not to overwater it, especially if it is in soil that is not well-drained (i.e. clay soil).

Positive amallen On Apr 28, 2009, amallen from Johns Island, SC wrote:

Mine is doing very well near salt marsh but in moderate shade very near wax myrtles Started blooming late Feb and has been blooming heavily through March and April. Responded to light fertilizer. Plant is four years old but only about 4' 6". Plant is troping heavily to more sun so I may try one in noon sun . Silver grey plant with deep pink blooms is visual spotlight in front of green background. Deer ignore. Some write-ups say it is not good for zone 8 but no apparent damage from brief temps in mid 20's. High summer temps and humidity of SC don't seem a problem

Positive TheQueenBee On Jun 15, 2008, TheQueenBee from Momence, IL wrote:

These seeds were extremely easy to start. I aquired 3 packets of Leptospermum- Scoparium var. NEW ZEALAND TEA - TREE seed last year. I stored them in the freezer, in a sealed canning jar with 2 packets of silicon and other seed packets. In January of 2008, I slit a clear one gallon water bottle across 3 sides leaving the top half on to act as a greenhouse. I made drain holes, added a coffee filter, and cut small slits around the top sides, added seed starter mix, sprinkled the seed on top and sprayed the already damp soil and seed. I taped the container middle closed and forgot about it. It sat in the window for quite a while, and one day I noticed there were hundreds of them that had germinated. Now this is the weird part! Those seedlings remained bright green with red stems for the rest of the winter, not growing at all. The soil would dry out and I would forget it for weeks at a time and they sat there still healthy and green. I then sat the bottle outside some time around April in filtered sunlight, removing the top completely and they still sat there looking the same way, soil dried out or not. I got tired of looking at them actually, because they never changed or grew any taller. Then I just noticed today since the temperature has hit the 80's and 90's that they're a little taller now, so today I transplanted about ten of them into pots. I still have a lot of them in the plastic jug. If anyone wants some of them, you're welcome to them. I still have seed also. I'm a beekeeper and that's why I had an interest in them. If the potted ones make it, I'll put them in a greenhouse for winter, I live in zone 5a.

Neutral vossner On Sep 19, 2005, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I would not consider this plant xeric! I have to water it regularly. Planted inground, on southside of property. I have rated it Neutral because for me it tends to get ratty but must be careful when pruning as you might take off a major branch before you realize it. Definitely attracts bees, birds and butterflies.

Positive wm1993 On Apr 2, 2003, wm1993 from Myrtle Beach, SC wrote:


I love this plant... It blooms so often, and is lovely. I have mine on NE side of house and it has lived 4 years... I agree that it does not like long hot afternoon sun. Tolerates Clay!!! Extremely cold winters will kill it off. This was a bad winter, and two newer plants died out, but the older one is still beautiful. I have bought several more for my new house.

Positive ranch45 On Nov 29, 2002, ranch45 from Interlachen, FL wrote:

I purchased two of these and one died as it was planted in full sun. Moved the other to partial shade/sun with western exposure and she is growing quite nicely. Will update again after this winter, but she is holding up with tempertures dipping into the low 30/s - high 20's.

This plant did in fact die, however, I found out that I was killing this plant with kindness. I was told that I was giving it too much water!!!
I did purchase two new plants as I am in the process of redoing and adding to my gardens. I am trying to decide what area would be better for them as they do not need as much water as some and or most of my other stuff. Will update once again once I get them settled.

Negative jkom51 On Nov 28, 2002, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

There is a groundcover L.scoparium with pink flwrs. It is about 4"H, very slow-growing, with irregular cover. Useful only in certain situations; e.g., where you want winter/spring bulbs to come up in wet season and then summer over with little or no water. Anything aggressive (ivy, aptenia, etc.) will quickly overrun it. Not the most attractive form of this plant -- the shrubs are reasonably pretty and very xeric, the tree forms can be quite pretty and take well to pruning. Because leaves are small and stiff, rather prickly, mulch is a necessity because the open structure will not keep the weeds down.

Positive peterleroux On Oct 17, 2002, peterleroux wrote:

Great for Bonsai but very difficult. Don't disturb the roots! Possible from seed but very difficult. Tea made from leaves was supposedly used by Captain Cook as cure for scurvy.

Positive Ulrich On Jun 19, 2002, Ulrich from Manhattan Beach, CA (Zone 11) wrote:

Here in California a red-blooming variety is sold as Australian Tea-Bush and a pink one as New Zealand Tea-Bush.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Orange Beach, Alabama
Bellflower, California
Citrus Heights, California
Corning, California
El Cerrito, California
Hidden Meadows, California
Kennedy, California
La Verne, California
Laguna Beach, California
Lakewood, California
Los Angeles, California
Manhattan Beach, California
Martinez, California
Moraga, California
Oceanside, California
Redwood City, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California (3 reports)
Santa Barbara, California
Walnut Creek, California
Wildomar, California
Belleview, Florida
Hobe Sound, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Miami, Florida
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii
Shreveport, Louisiana
Johns Island, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Houston, Texas
Richmond, Texas

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