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Melaleuca incana | Growing and Care Guide Australia

We’ve featured a range of Melaleuca cultivars, but few are as popular as the Melaleuca incana or grey honey myrtle. Myrtle plants are incredibly popular choices for landscaping in Australia, and the grey honey myrtle offers light, nectar-rich blooms and curious blue, green foliage.

While this variety needs plenty of sunlight, it is possible to grow Melaleuca incana in a pot indoors or as a smaller bonsai. Here is what you’ll need to know to cultivate, care for and grow Melaleuca incana.


Melaleuca incana Features

Genus: Melaleuca
Species: M. incana
Family: Myrtaceae
Common Name: Grey Honey Myrtle, Sea Mist
Flower Colour: White/Cream
Foliage Colour: Blue-Green
Growth Habit: Shrub or tree up to 3m
Flowering: Spring

Melaleuca incana is a smaller growing evergreen, weeping shrub with yellowwhite flowers and dense blue-tinged foliage

Native to Western Australia, the Melaleuca incana is an incredible cultivar of the Melaleuca species. Part of the native Myrtaceae family, the Melaleuca incana is a smaller growing evergreen, weeping shrub with yellow/white flowers and dense blue-tinged foliage. 

The Melaleuca incana plant grows naturally in Jarrah forest, the Swan coastal plain and the Warren region. However, due to its adaptability to moisture and soil, it can grow well in other coastal regions. 

It’s a spring bloomer with a wonderfully dense frame of foliage. As such, it’s often used as hedging or grown in a group.

How to Grow Melaleuca incana

How to Grow Melaleuca incana

Source: Anpsa.org.au/

The Melaleuca incana prefers warmer, sunny conditions with a good level of moisture. Nonetheless, it’s essential to plant your incana in a spot with somewhat well-draining soil. 

As it’s not a frost-hardy plant, planting Melaleuca incana is best during the spring and summer – allowing it to establish itself before the colder seasons. 

Melaleuca incana Sun Requirement

This species prefers full sun, around 6 hours per day. However, it is possible to grow this cultivar in a semi-shaded position. However, this may affect its flowering ability. 

Best Soil for Melaleuca incana

The biggest benefit of the Melaleuca incana plant is that it’s not overly picky when it comes to soil. Although it does best in well-draining soil, it will happily grow in sandy, gravel and even clay soils. 

If growing in a pot, you will need to choose a pH balanced, draining soil mixture to avoid any root rot issues. As long as the sun and soil conditions are right for your incana, you won’t need to worry too much about the weather. 

Even though it’s native to western parts of Australia, it is known to thrive in the wetter summers around the East Coast. More so, this species is not frost tolerant and may need to be protected from chilly winds and extreme cold spells.

How to Propagate Melaleuca incana

The most common means for gardeners to get their hands on this variety of Melaleuca is through a local, native nursery. However, it is also possible to cultivate this species by means of cutting or seed. 

How to Propagate Melaleuca incana

Source: Gardeningwithangus.com.au

Propagating Melaleuca incana By Cutting

Cuttings should be taken from a healthy, thriving parent plant. Here is what you’ll need to do: 

  • Remove a flowerless stem cutting, around 5 to 7 cm in length. Remove leaves from the lower part of the stem. 
  • Dip the base of the cutting into a rooting hormone. 
  • Plant into a porous, propagating soil mixture and store in a warm and sunny spot. 
  • Occasionally water or mist your cutting to ensure the soil stays moist.

Cuttings will take around 6 to 7 weeks to root and can then be replanted. 

Propagating Melaleuca incana By Seed

Seeds should be sown in late spring or early autumn. Seed pods can be taken directly from plants. However, the pods will need to dry out and be cracked open to reveal the seeds.

More so, seeds can often stay dormant for a while, which is why some gardeners may recommend purchasing seeds from a local nursery or online store. 

To sow seeds: 

  • Sow the seeds directly onto the surface of a seeding mix. Do not bury the seed beneath the soil. 
  • Keep the soil warm and moist while germinating. 

Seeds take around 14 – 28 days to germinate. However, it can take longer. So, avoid discarding your seeds too early if you do not see results.

Caring for Melaleuca incana Plant

Caring for Melaleuca incana Plant

Source: Resources.austplants.com.au

One of the most important parts of this plant’s care is not allowing young plants to dry out. Soil should be kept consistently moist throughout the growing season and can be cut back slightly thereafter. 

While this species can tolerate some drought conditions, it can affect the flowering and foliage, leaving your incana looking a little sparse. As such, it is better to keep up with your watering schedule easily by using a retractable hose reel

A native fertiliser can be added annually to support your plants. This should be done just after flowering.

Pruning Melaleuca incana

Pruning is possible, as many gardeners like to use the grey honey myrtle flowers as cut flowers. However, this too can affect the weeping growth of the plant.

As such, pruning should be kept to a minimum unless done to control the shape, sparse growth or for occasional cut flowers. 

Common Grey Honey Myrtle Pests, Problems & Diseases

Many myrtle plants are resistant to common gardening issues. However, the incana plant is known to suffer from a white scale. The best way to treat this issue is by means of a horticultural spray.

Introduce a Touch of Australian Beauty to Your Garden with Melaleuca incana

Once planted, you’ll just need to monitor the amount of moisture, but otherwise, you won’t really have to worry too much. So, if you’re looking for an evergreen, blooming plant, the Melaleuca incana is a great bet. 

Melaleuca incana Growing and Care Guide Australia

Last Updated on March 19, 2024

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About the author 

Gary Clarke

Hi, I'm Gary Clarke, gardening enthusiast and former landscaper. I have had privilege of sharing my gardening knowledge at Aussie Green Thumb since early 2020.

I have a passion for using native Australian plants in Aussie gardens and I always try to promote growing fruit trees and vegetable gardens whenever possible.

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