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The Australian tea tree slowly grows with a twisting branching habit into a large evergreen shrub or small tree growing 15-25 ft. tall with an equal spread. Its small round leaves are pale olive-green; numerous white flowers occur in spring and are modestly showy. Leaves, trunks and branches are the most interesting and valued parts of this plant; this plant can become a wonderful sculptural feature in our Inland Empire gardens.

This species comes from coastal sand dunes of southern Australia where it shows good adaptability to wind, salt spray and seasonal drought. In the Inland Empire it has proven to be a tough and durable species that is popular as a specimen plant for use in containers, in raised planters and on banks. Additionally, it can be clipped into a fine-textured hedge. Two compact selections are available: L. l. 'Compactum' grows 5-8 ft. hig; and L. l. 'Reevesii' has denser rounder foliage and a compact form to 4-5 ft. high. Both of these cultivars can be planted closely together and be maintained as clipped or informal hedges and screens.

Water Needs

The Australia tea tree is well adapted to sunny garden locations and many types of soils and with low amounts of supplemental water during summer. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Spreading, Low-branching, Irregular branching
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 15 ft. - 25 ft.
Width: 15 ft. - 25 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: White
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay, Acidic soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Coastal salt air, All day sun
Function: Specimen, Slopes, Shade Tree, Screening, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Parks and open space, Overhead structures, Foundations, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Espalier, Commercial spaces, Civic spaces, Banks, Background plant


Can be pruned as a hedge or as an individual specimen, as desired (5). Older plants can have lower limbs pruned out to expose twisted branching habit and attractive bark (D). If grown as an individual specimen and not as a clipped hedge, older plants will grow in whatever direction they want, and are best used in a large space that can accommodate them. Failing to do this may result in needing to prune away much of the dramatic shape that makes these plants interesting (S). Major pruning is best done in winter. Pruning cuts into old wood (without leaves) will not resprout, so if pruning older wood, it should only be done with the intent to remove entire branches (D).



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