HOME -->  All Plants and Seeds INDEX -->  Herbs INDEX -->  Melaleuca
  Plant and Seed Mobile Friendly Index  


(Plant heights are given at maturity)

melaleuca tee tree honey myrtle bottle brush tree seeds Tea Tree (Narrow leafed Paperbark, Honey Myrtle, Bottle Brush) - Melaleuca alternifolia

There are over 200 species of Melaleuca, with Melaleuca alternifolia being one of the most popular and easily grown.  They are tender flowering shrubs native to Australia belonging to the Myrtle family, Myrtaceae.  Very similar in appearance to Callistemon, forming woody branches with lance shaped leathery leaves.  Blooms are  formed on the axils of the leaves, are densely packed and resemble small bottle brushes.

The shrubs are slow growing reaching a height of 20ft at maturity.  They thrive outdoors in warmer climates and are often used as lawn specimens and landscape shrubs.  They also do well as potted plants and can be grown outdoors in summer and in a greenhouse in winter. They are very tolerant of soil types and conditions, but cannot take much cold. 

Greenhouse grown specimens should be pruned after flowering, if needed.  Pruning should be done by shortening the virogrous shoots by half. After pruning, the shrubs should be misted frequently until new growth appears.  When repotting, move to a pot just a size larger and place some of the roots horizontally so that they will enter new soil quicker.  The plants should be misted frequently and the plants kept in a loaction sheltered from bright sunlight until the new roots have entered new soil.  Once this occurs, they should be kept in a drier location, syringing should be stopped.

Melaleuca can be propagated easily by cuttings or by sowing seed.  Cutting should be taken from half ripened wood, and should be about 2 inches in length.  The lower leaves are removed and the heel is pared with a sharp knfe, then inserted into a mixture of equal parts sand and sphagnum peat.  A bell jar should be placed over the single cuttings, or a plastic sheet or glass can be used for muliple cuttings.  The covering (bell jar, glass or plastic) should be wiped off every morning to remove the condensation, which, if allowed to drip on the plants, could cause damping off.  When the cuttings are rooted, they should be removed and potted separately.  The plant may be kept bushy and full by pinching off the points of the main shoot. 

Seeds can be planted as soon as they are ripe and will keep for some time if dried.  Seeds should be planted in a mixture of 1 part sand to 1 part peat in pots or trays.  The seeds are very small and should be planted on the surface and pressed lightly into the soil - do not cover with soil.  Cover the tray or pot with plastic or glass and keep the soil moist but not soggy.  When seedlings emerge, remove the plastic or glass and continue to keep the soil moist.  Transplant to larger pots when seedlings reach 2 inches in height. 

Medicinally, the oil from the tree has been used for years to prepare the commercial "Tea oil", which is an excellent antiseptic, diaphoretic and expectorant.  It is used topically to treat infections, both bacterial or fungal, and poison ivy as well.

Hardy to 20F(-12.2C)         Height: 20 feet

#3410    Packet  $10.50   Approximately 100 seeds
#P3410    Potted Seedling    $25.50
#E3410    100% Pure Oil extract 2 fl.oz. bottle    $28.50

Around here we refer to it as the "Poison Ivy Splash" but my friends and relatives to whom I have given small vials of the stuff, call it my snake oil because I have touted it for curing every skin ailment from athletes foot to dandruff. Anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-biotic, a refreshing after shave, or deodorant; the formula and instructions are simple - 50:1 grain alcohol to Tea Tree Oil ( 4 fl. oz. of 190 proof clear grain alcohol mixed with 40 drops of Melaleuca alternifolia extract. There are some places where you can't buy grain alcohol to protect you from yourself and there are some unscrupulous marketers who call their fake concoctions Tea Tree Oil. Read the labels, go to the trouble, get the real stuff. It makes a difference.). Shake it, splash it on, rub it in.


Back to VARIETY INDEX    Terms     HOME

richfarmgardenIf you have arrived in someone else's frame, or can not see all of the other information available on Click on logo to enter from beginning