Melaleuca is representatives of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae). First of all, they are valued in indoor culture for not quite an ordinary appearance. In some species, evergreen leaves resemble needles, the exoticism of the plant is also given by numerous inflorescences resembling delicate bird fluff of various colors.
Preference is better given to small-leaved species, such as Melaleuca diosmifolia. This small shrub with small leaves densely arranged in a spiral is also known as green honey myrtle due to the fluffy greenish inflorescences that appear from spring to autumn on short lateral branches.
A beautiful form of growth with slightly twisted in a spiral of small leaves has Melaleuca preissiana, in nature this tree is from 1.5 to 10 m, in room conditions – no more than 2 m. White or cream inflorescences appear from spring to autumn.
Home care of Melaleuca
It should be added that melaleuca is easy to cut, their thin twigs can be given any shape, there are species with drooping shoots, they can be successfully grown in the bonsai style. However, on some species, such as Melaleuca decussata and Melaleuca nodosum, or pinealum (Melaleuca nodosa), pruning will affect negatively.
An important factor in favor of growing this plant is the undoubted phytoncidal properties. All parts of the plants have a pleasant aroma. No wonder it is a close relative of eucalyptus, widely known for its medicinal properties, its essential oils have pronounced bactericidal properties. The mere presence of melaleuca in the home will reduce the incidence of colds.
The leaves can be used in decoctions for external use in cases of skin disease and for inhalation in respiratory diseases. Melaleuca pumps through itself and evaporates a large amount of moisture, thereby increasing the humidity of the air in the house, which also leads to a decrease in respiratory diseases.
The advantages of Melaleuca include their unpretentiousness in room conditions. The main requirement will be to provide the plant with good light – melaleuca prefers direct sun. In summer, it can be taken out on a sunny balcony or on the street. Consuming a large amount of water, Melaleuca prefers regular abundant watering, can put up with some waterlogging and small periods of overdrying of the earthen lump. The composition of the soil is not fastidious, but a slightly acidic and well-drained substrate is optimal. The earth mixture consists of peat, sand and turf earth (2:1:1).
Melaleuca is fed with complex fertilizers from spring to autumn. In winter, it is necessary to illuminate the plant with fluorescent, LED or special phytolamps, providing a 12-hour daylight day. In the absence of additional lighting, it is necessary to reduce the temperature of the content, the best place will be a glazed non-freezing balcony, where the temperature should not fall below +10 °C, or a cool greenhouse, where other plants of the myrtle family will successfully overwinter. With a cool content, it is necessary to reduce the amount of watering, keep the soil slightly moist.
Another advantage of the plant can be considered the availability of seeds and their good germination. Seeds are sown on a wet substrate, without sealing, they germinate in the light from 15 to 30 days, depending on the species and variety. Melaleuca is also easily propagated by cuttings. At home, it can be affected by spider mites and mealybugs.
Melaleuca will be a true Australian exotic in your home collection of plants.