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Leptospermum ‘Merinda’

cultivar

Family: Myrtaceae

A small shrub growing to 1 metre tall by 1 to 2 metres wide with arching branches.

It is reported to be a hybrid of Leptospermum ‘Pink Cascade’ and L. ‘Aphrodite’. It was developed at Bywong Nursery at Bungendore, NSW.

The leaves are narrow-elliptic to narrow-lanceolate, to 12 mm long by 3 mm wide, tapering to a point and mostly dark green.

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 15 mm in diameter, magenta to deep pink in colour, occurring in spring.

In the garden

This cultivar is popular due to its flower colour and form. It can be kept small and compact and is not a large shrub.

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 as well as Mediterranean.

Can be pruned to create a dense and arching plant that can heavily shade the ground and create a strong cover. It is a great substitute for anyone who likes perennial exotic shrubs like Diosma or Cuphea.

Can withstand dry periods. Prune after flowering to control form and density. Useful in sloping beds, rockeries and cottage gardens.

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: This cultivar may be sold as Bywong Merinda.

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.

Leptospermum – derived from the Greek words leptos meaning “fine” or “slender” and sperma which means “seed” referring to the thin brown seeds of the genus.
Merinda’ – exact reason for the name is unclear but it means “beautiful woman” in Spanish.

Australian National Botanic Gardens – Leptospermum profile page https://www.anbg.gov.au/leptospermum/
Gardening with Angus – Leptospermum ‘Merinda’ Profile Page:
https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/leptospermum-merinda-tea-tree/

By Dan Clarke