Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Melaleuca thymifolia, photo courtesy of Gerry Whitmont/Garden Picture Library/Photolibrary
Melaleuca thymifolia, photo courtesy of Gerry Whitmont/Garden Picture Library/Photolibrary

Click to Enlarge

Zone
Zones 8, 9, 12-24
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Melaleuca thymifolia

Thymeleaf Melaleuca
Myrtaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs, Flowers

MELALEUCA

Australia is home to 140 or more species of melaleucas, and many of these show up in Western gardens. All have narrow, sometimes needlelike leaves and bear clustered flowers with prominent stamens; the blossoms attract birds. Since each flower cluster resembles a bottlebrush, some melalecas are called bottlebrushes, though that name is more generally applied to members of the genus Callistemon.

Tight clusters of woody seed capsules are attached directly to branches; these hang on for several years, forming odd, decorative cylinders around twigs and branches. Many melaleucas have interestingly contorted branches and bark that peels off in thick, papery layers. All melaleucas are easy to grow. Most withstand heat, wind, seacoast conditions, poor soil, limited moisture. Most are vigorous and fast growing; for a natural appearance, control by cutting back selected branches to a well-placed side branch. Almost all melaleucas make good screens; some of the larger ones are useful as flowering or shade trees.

Melaleuca thymifolia

Low, spreading bush2–4 ft. tall, 4–8 ft. wide. Barkis corky, flaking, grayish brown.Narrow blue-green leaves arefragrant when crushed. Bloomsspring through early summer,with 2–3-in.-wide flower clusters resembling bundles of tiny ostrich feathers in white, pink, deep mauve, or dusky purple. Prefers acid soil but tolerates soils that lack fertility, are somewhat alkaline, or havesluggish drainage. Prune afterflowering to keep compact.Takes occasional drought; bestwith regular water.

You Might Also Like...

Grevillea rosmarinifolia

Shrub. To 6 ft. tall, nearlyas broad. Narrow leaves aredark green on top, silverybeneath; look somewha...

Echinopsis

Small, spiny cacti from South America, generally grown in pots. Enormous number of species, hybrids, a...

Keckiella antirrhinoides

Erect to spreading habit to 4 ft. tall, 3 ft. or wider; leaves less than 1 in. long. Abundant show of ...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More

Advertisement