Tea Tree


Common Name:

Tea Tree

Botanical Name:

(Melaleuca alternifolia)

Family Name:



Full Sun

Common uses:

Tea tree oil has been very popular for many years and has built up quite a reputation for itself and nowadays you can find all sorts of tea tree products in the stores. But few people have ever thought of growing it in their garden. It is a feathery leaved, evergreen tree that is tough, resilient and very water wise. It sends up masses of white bottle brush-like flowers in spring that attracts the bees. The tree itself grows to about 6 meters high and it will need full sun. It has high quantities of terpenes which is a gentle but extremely effective antiseptic. Many people are familiar with tea oil and its uses but usually pause when thinking of a tree. Teat tree has all the same uses as the oil but in lower concentrations so its makes it safer to use internally. A tea can be made of the fresh leaves and used for chronic infections such as colds, flu, glandular fever, cystitis and bronchitis. The tea and the essential oil is effective against all three infective organisms: bacteria, viruses and fungi and has been scientifically verified. The oil can be used for skin eruptions such as acne, eczema, ringworm and even chickenpox. It is advised to add some fresh leaves to your bathwater. The active compounds in tea tree has also been shown to increase and stimulate the immune system which makes it a valuable plant to have in today’s world of antibiotic resistance.


Tea tree is sometimes difficult to get started as the seeds are very small, but once you have them past seedling stage they will flourish. It can be grown in a large container provided that it gets a load of compost in the spring and regular feeding. In the garden it will need a sunny position and a weekly deep watering as shallow watering encourages shallow roots and causes the plant to wilt in severe heat. It is a wonderfully water wise plant and can withstand heat and heavy winds but dislikes severe cold and frost.