Leptospermum Flowers
Small Tree formCatalina Ironwood
Leptospermum laevigatum

The versatile Australian Tea tree can be grown as a shrub, hedge or small tree. It is a tough plant that can take wind, salt air and poor sandy soil. Being an Australian native, it is very drought tolerant once established. The bonus to this plant is the beautiful apple blossom like flowers that appear in early spring. You can even make tea from the leaves.

The small oval leaves are leathery, and the blue gray foliage color mixes well with other mediterannian type plants. If trained as a tree, the trunk and gray shredding bark twist in sinuous lines over time - a feature that can be displayed by keeping lower branch growth in check. Several Tea Trees grown together can be easily sheared and kept as a low maintenance hedge. If you are planning for a hedge, there are several smaller varieties that only keep to shrub size; 'Reevesii' (4'-5' feet) and 'Compactum (5'-8' feet).


Maximum height
10-25 feet tall & wide
depending on type

Life Span
60 + years

Criteria for Ranking

1 (low) - 5 (high)

Drought Tolerance after first year establishment 5
Wind Tolerance 4*
Frost Tolerance 5
Surface Roots/Sidewalk Lifting 5
Power Lines Proximity

5 (good choice)
Cost/Maintenance 5
Disease Resistance/Hardiness 5
*note asterisk denote species will be shaped by a prevailing wind. Single trunk trained trees need more protection than multi-trunk to grow straight. Hedges will be more wind tolerant in prevailing winds.

Location Australian Tea Trees have been planted by the new Marina library parking lot. There is a mature specimen on Del Monte Avenue (across from McDonalds) that has been shaped into a cube (bottom left).