Tea tree - 20 seeds
Tea tree - 20 seeds
The tea tree plant (Melaleuca alternifolia) is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to Australia. Considered easy to grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, this tropical plant can be grown indoors as well with a bit of extra effort. Tea trees typically produce wispy white blooms in the spring and summer, but may not do so when grown indoors. The plants are sometimes capable of self-pollination but rely on insect pollinators as well. Your plant may not flower unless you set it outdoors during warm weather, so insects can access it. When working with this plant, remember that, although it has many health benefits when properly processed, raw tea tree oil is toxic, and the plant should be grown well out of the reach of children
Plant the tea tree in a container of well-drained potting soil that is slightly larger than what you think it needs. Tea trees grown indoors need lots of water, and the bigger the container, the more forgiving the tree will be if you forget a watering. Locate the plant in front of a large, sunny window where it will receive several hours of direct sunlight every day. Cold drafts can cause needle drop, and blasts of warm air will dry the plant, so avoid placing the container too close to both heating and cooling vents whenever possible. If you must place the plant in front of one or the other, choose the heating vent over the air conditioning one. Place a large but shallow tray filled with small pebbles underneath the tea tree’s container. This tray will serve to catch the drainage when the plant is watered and will increase the humidity level around this tropical plant as that water evaporates. This is especially important if the tree is next to a heat register that may dry it out during cold weather. Make sure that the container is sitting on the rocks and above the waterline at all times to avoid soggy soil and root rot. Water the tea tree plant as often as needed to keep the soil in the container moist. The specific watering needs of each plant will vary depending upon temperature, soil mixture and other elements of the growing environment, so check your plant daily until you learn its exact watering needs. Never allow the soil around the plant to become dry to the touch. Tea tree plants need lots of water when grown indoors and are not good choices for container gardeners who forget to water regularly. Fertilize regularly with your favorite liquid organic fertilizer to avoid salt build-up. Follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s recommended instructions when establishing the feeding routine. Because the tea tree is an evergreen, there is no need to reduce or stop feeding during the winter.