Leptospermum is a genus of about 83 species, all but three occurring in Australia. They are commonly known as ‘tea trees’ due to the practice of early European settlers of using the leaves of some species as a tea substitute.
Leptospermum ‘Merinda’ is one of a number of colourful cultivars developed at Bywong Nursery at Bungendore, New South Wales. It is a hybrid between between Leptospermum ‘Pink Cascade’ and Leptospermum ‘Aphrodite’. L. ‘Merinda’ is a small shrub which grows to about 1 metre high with an arching habit of growth. It has narrow, lance-shaped leaves to about 12 mm long, tapering to a point. The 5-petalled, magenta flowers are larger than is typical for the genus being about 15 mm diameter with numerous small stamens surrounding the central stigma. The flowers have a green centre. This hybrid is reported to be sterile and does not set seed.
Leptospermum ‘Merinda’ is a very attractive cultivar which has become very popular in cultivation. Based on the reports to date, the cultivar is a hardy shrub for moist soils in temperate climates. Plants prefer full sun or partial shade and can be pruned after flowering in spring to promote dense growth and promote flowering for the next season.
Propagation is by cuttings of hardened, current season’s growth which strike readily.
Photo: Brian Walters