New Additions


Snow White tea tree
      I recently bought a few plants for the yard to replace plants that were killed in the freeze we had in December.  These plants survive to 20 F so they should survive here with no problem. 

     I have two Snow White tea tree plants and two Jubilee New Zealand tea tree plants (Leptospermum scoparium).  They are native to New Zealand and southeast Australia. They like dry, low-nutrient soils, so they are perfect for this area.  These are related to, but not the same as, the Melaleuca alternifolia tree which is also commonly called tea tree and from which tea tree oil is produced.

     Leptospermum is a shrub or small tree that can grow eight to ten feet tall and six feet wide.  Mine are small, about one and a half to two feet tall.  They are evergreen, with dense branching and small leaves.   The flowers on the Jubilee tea tree are called scarlet, but they look like a deep pink.

Jubilee tea tree

     The common name for these plants is Manuka from the Maori word manuka.  Manuka honey from their flowers is darker and richer in taste than clover honey and has antibacterial and antifungal properties.  The wood on the plants is tough and hard and is often used for tool handles.

Jubilee tea tree flowers

     Wilipedia says the name tea tree arose because Captain Cook used the leaves from both Melaluca and Leptospermum to make a tea drink.

Cape honeysuckle

     I also planted four Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) plants which I have never grown before.  I have read that these plants originated in from the Cape of Good Hope region of South Africa.  It is the only idigenous South African species out of twelve species of the genus Tecoma.  The rest of the genus originates from Arizona to South America.  It is also now cultivated in the tropics and subtropics.  It has flowers that are similar in shape to a honeysuckle, but it is not a honeysuckle and is not fragrant.

     My Cape Honeysuckle has vivid orange flowers, although there are varieties with yellow, scarlet or apricot flowers.  It is evergreen in this area.  Since it is a fast grower,  it can be invasive.  I have read that it can be grown as a barrier hedge, a climbing vine or a ground cover for steep slopes and rocky banks.


  1. L., getting some new, interesting plants must dull the loss of your old ones. Enjoy.

  2. Lee,

    I am enjoying these, particularly the Cape Honeysuckle plants because they brighten the yard so much.

    1. Yes, that's a fine-looking honeysuckle. I grow several, including the species (fragrant; you know it from Virginia) and a red one that looks a little like yours. But yours is hardy, which is great.