Although Melaleuca alternifolia makes an attractive garden plant it has earned a reputation in the skin care or cosmetics industry as well. Also known as the ‘Narrow Leafed Paper Bark’ as well as ‘Snow in summer’ it is useful in the garden as a stand alone ornamental tree, or planted as a screening or hedging plant.
Commonly known as Tea Tree, Melaleuca alternifolia is the source of tea tree oil which is extracted from the leaf. The volatile oils are regarded as valuable, and are used in many antiseptic and anti inflammatory applications.
The tree itself is now grown in commercial plantations, evergreen with masses of white flowers in spring, it also makes a useful garden plant. Flowers are attractive to nectar loving birds,
Grown in poor coastal soils as a windbreak or hedge Melaleuca alternifolia takes well to pruning. Will reach 5m in height.
- Grows well in poor soils
- Full sun to part shade
- Requires little fertilizer and does not like application high in nitrogen
- Will grow in moist to boggy / damp soils but does not like extreme dryness
- Can be pruned back to maintain shape
Commercially grown plants are harvested by pruning back hard every 6 – 12 months. Regular pruning of garden plants will keep them to a good size and tidy. Also used in Bonsai.