Leptospermum 'Copper Glow'

(cultivar)

Family: Myrtaceae

A small shrub growing to 3 metres tall by 2 metres wide with arching branches.

It is reported to be a form of Leptospermum polygalifolium and was registered by Ray Brown of the Illawarra Grevillea Park at Bulli.

The leaves are narrow-elliptic to narrow-oblanceolate, to 20 mm long by 5 mm wide, and mostly dark green; however, bronze-copper coloured foliage is produced on all young shoots, creating a dramatic foliage contrast.

Leptospermum typically produce solitary flowers, or in small groups of 2s and 3s or more, within the leaf axils. Flowers have 5 petals and sepals and have a symmetrical rotate shape.  Stamens are produced in groups of 5 which surround 1 carpel (female part). The prominent feature in Leptospermum is the hypanthium, a cup or vase-shaped receptacle that supports the flower.

In this cultivar, the flowers are produced solitarily, to 20 mm in diameter, white in colour, occurring in spring to summer. It does not flower heavily but can be somewhat showy.

The fruit (capsules) are to 10 mm in diameter, woody, persisting after seed release.

In the garden

This cultivar is popular due to its bronze-coloured foliage and hardiness.

It grows readily in a sandy to heavier, free-draining soil, and will benefit from some enrichment, in full sun to part shade. It may not thrive in boggy soils. It is suited to subtropical, temperate and cool climate gardens.  

Can be pruned to create a dense and arching plant. Place in an area where it is free to spread out and be admired, and where it has room to expand its weeping form.

Can withstand dry periods. Prune after flowering to control form and density.  

Leptospermum are generally susceptible to the webbing caterpillar. Usually, the most effective control method for this pest is removing infestations by hand or, if necessary, you can systematically spray with a suitable pesticide. They are also prone to scale insects which is best treated by spraying white oil solution.

Propagation

Must be propagated from cuttings to retain form and characteristics.

Other information

Note: There is another Leptospermum cultivar named ‘Copper Sheen’. This is a different plant and comes from different parentage.

Most Leptospermum species are endemic to Australia where most are found in southern areas of the country and many make desirable garden plants. Current estimates recognize about ninety species of Leptospermum along with many cultivars now existing.

The nectar from the flowers of one species (L. scoparium) is harvested by bees, yielding honey, which is marketed as Manuka honey.

Many Leptospermum species have an ability to regenerate vegetatively after fire with suckering basal growth and branch-shoots. They will also regenerate by seed.

The general common name, Teatree, derives from the practice of early Australian settlers who soaked the leaves of several species in boiling water to make a herbal tea.

Leptospermumderived from the Greek words leptos meaning “fine” or “slender” and sperma which means “seed” referring to the thin brown seeds of the genus.

‘Copper Glow’named for copper-coloured young growth.

Australian National Botanic Gardens – Leptospermum profile page https://www.anbg.gov.au/leptospermum/

Australian National Botanic Gardens – Leptospermum ‘Copper Glow’ profile page https://www.anbg.gov.au/acra/descriptions/acc422.html

Gardening with Angus – Leptospermum ‘Copper Glow’ Profile Page: https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/leptospermum-polygalifolium-copper-glow-tea-tree/   

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Dan Clarke