Question: Manuka plant
I would kindly like to know if it is possible to find the Manuka plant (new zealand) in Italy, to be able to cultivate it.
Answer: Manuka plant
the plant that in New Zealand is called Manuka is also easily found in Italy, given that in recent years European nurserymen have enjoyed importing many Australian and New Zealand plants into Europe, which are also cultivable in the Mediterranean and Italian climate. You will hardly find saplings, and even more difficultly you will find something in nurseries with the name Manuka, which is the Maori name, used in Australia for this plant; It is also known as tea tree, like melaleuca, because it seems that the discoverers of Australia used the leaves of these two plants to prepare tea.
In Italy it is easier to find the manuka knowing the Latin name, or Leptospermum scoparium; usually small specimens are found, no more than a meter high, with a shrubby habit; spring is the best time, because they are in full bloom, and nurserymen tend to expose them with pleasure, given the countless star-shaped flowers.
The plant generally has white flowers, but in nurseries you find pink or bright pink flower varieties with greater ease.
It is a plant well suited to living in the garden in Italy, even if it slightly fears frost; therefore it is good to place the leptospermum in a very sunny position, but sheltered from the wind; in winter it would be advisable to cover the plants, especially if they are recently home, with the woven fabric, which prevents the frost from ruining the shrub. It sometimes happens that even a thick layer of non-woven fabric does not prevent frost from reaching the plant: usually at the end of winter it drastically prunes the shrub, which it will revive in spring, more beautiful than before.
It is watered only when the ground is dry, from March to September, as it easily bears short periods of drought.
In New Zealand, leptospermum is cultivated to produce honey, which has innumerable advantages from a therapeutic point of view, and can also be found in herbal medicine in Europe, where it is very difficult to produce it, since there are no Leptospermum plantations. Manuka Honey is used for its very strong antibacterial, antiseptic, antioxidant properties, in the case of arthritis, bruises, diseases from fungi and bacteria, even for topical use.
Being honey, and therefore sweet and also pleasing to children, it is also used to treat diseases such as colds, coughs, sore throats, even if the patient is a small child.