Real World Gardener Dwarf Melaleuca is Plant of the Week

September 7th, 2015

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF).

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


with Karen Smith editor of and Jeremy Critchley owner

You don’t see too many Melaleuca's which are tough and hardy plants being promoted in nursery, garden centres or even gardening magazines.
Why then have they got this poor image?
Perhaps it’s the small narrow leaves that don’t have the visual impact of Grevilleas?
The flowers are pretty showy so let’s find out what it is.


Melaleuca linarifolia - a large tree

Melaleuca linarifolia or “snow  is in Summer” Myrtaceae family along with Eucalypts of course.

This large tree is found naturally along the east coast of New South Wales and southern Queensland usually along watercourses and swamps.

The habitat ranges from heath and dry sclerophyll forest  to moist or swampy ground.

Known as Snow-in-Summer, or Narrow-leaved Paperbark, and naturally too big for most gardens.

Did you know that Melaleuca comes from the Greek melas meaning black and leukos meaning white, referring to black marks on the white trunks of some species due to fire.

Also the meaning of linariifolia is drawing a similiarity to leaves in the genus Linaria.

So what do you do if you like the flowers"

This is where the dwarf versions of Melaleuca linarifolia become interesting.

If you’re area’s climate is really dry, then Melaleuca’s will still grow there, but they won’t grow so well.
That’s because Melaleucas are much better when the soil is boggy, or swampy, or has temporary inundation.
They also won’t go to well if there’s root competition from other trees because that will make the ground much drier for them as well.

melaleuca-linariifolia-mini-mel.jpgA note to gardens in cooler climates, quite a few melaleucas, including these newer dwarf cultivars, clearly dislike frosts down to -70C or lower, especially in their early years.
Melaleuca linarifolia “Mini Me” grow to 0.3m x  1m and M. linarifolia “Purple Tops" or Claret Tops.
This last one has new purple or claret growth.
Grows  to 1-2m.
Mine has yet to flower. But is supposed to flower in Spring.A dwarf, evergreen shrub that naturally forms a round dense ball. The new growth is smoky bronze red and emits a rich aroma when crushed.The best place to grow your miniature Melaluecas is in full sun and they can take most soil types. Will also grow in dappled shade.
Melaleuca linarifolia Mini Mel grows to 0.3 x 1 metre.
A dwarf, evergreen shrub that naturally forms a round dense ball. The new growth is smoky bronze red and emits a rich aroma when crushed.


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