The Q&A Archives: Leptospermum Drying Out

Question: I bought a Leptospermum tree/shrub. It has small pink flowers and tiny leaves. About a week after planting the flowers dried out. I was told that it didn't like water, but to water it to get it established. I watered two to three times a week and then a week later, it looked worse. Now when I touch the leaves they fall off. I was then told I'm watering it too much. Please help, I don't know what to do and don't want to be out my $40.00 I paid for it. What could I be doing wrong?

Answer: Leptospermum, the tea tree, is native to Australia and loves lots of sunshine, well draining soil, and very little water. Sounds as though your plant is going through a typical period of transplant-stress. When first transplanted, Leptospermum requires water to help it get established. Your plant should be watered deeply but infrequently. The best approach is to water about every 10 days, applying water slowly so it has a chance to percolate down and wet the entire root mass. If you're not sure how quickly or deeply the water is penetrating (all soils are different!), water your plant then dig down into the soil to see how far the water has penetrated. You'll soon get an idea of how long it takes for the water to wet the root mass of your Leptospermum. Continue to water regularly for the entire first growing season. Once it's established, your plant can get by with only occasional watering, and only during the spring and autumn seasons.

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