Planting Eucalyptus: What You Need To Know

The eucalyptus is a beautiful plant that is used worldwide as a medicinal and ornamental plant. How to plant eucalyptus and how best to care for it, you can learn here.

Eukalyptus pflanzen

The eucalyptus originates from Australia and Indonesia and is the most widespread deciduous tree there. Worldwide, more than 600 subspecies are counted among the plants also known as the “blue gum tree”. The eucalyptus is a fast-growing tree that bears handsome pale green to silver foliage year-round. The characteristic sheen on the leaves is caused by a thin layer of wax that reflects incoming light.

In Australia, eucalyptus trees form extensive eucalypt forests that are home to koalas and other marsupials. In our latitudes, only a few eucalyptus species grow due to climatic differences.

Particularly popular in this country are representatives of the sub-form “Eucalyptusa gunnii”, such as “Eucalyptus gunnii Silver Drop” or “Eucalyptus gunnii Azura”. This subtype is more robust than its heat-loving relatives and is cultivated in tubs or outdoors as an ornamental plant in our country. “Eucalyptus gunnii Azura” can even withstand sub-zero temperatures.

By the way, in Australia, the eucalyptus is considered a plant with magical properties since ancient times. Its firewood is used to cleanse temples or to initiate traditional rituals. The leaves of the eucalyptus also contain numerous essential oils, which makes it popular as a natural remedy all over the world. The ingredients are particularly effective for colds, for example in the form of eucalyptus oil.

Planting eucalyptus

Blumenstrauß mit Eukalyptuszweigen

The noble appearance and graphic foliage make the eucalyptus a popular ornamental plant. Kept in a garden or container, the plant can reach a size of two to three meters, some species even more.

The right location

To make tropical plants feel comfortable, you should provide them with a bright and warm location. They need direct sunlight for several hours a day.
The more sun you can offer your eucalyptus, the more it will thank you with intense leaf coloration and vigorous growth. A eucalyptus will also grow in partial shade, but it will grow more slowly and show weaker coloration.

Cold drafts should be avoided at all costs. The heat-loving plant must be protected from the wind.
Outdoor plants can be protected in winter by protecting their root ball from the cold with brushwood or fir branches. If your eucalyptus is in a container, you should bring it inside in winter and overwinter it in a cool, but frost-free room. Make sure that your plant gets enough daylight even in the winter quarters.

The right substrate

Choose a nutrient-rich, slightly sandy soil. You can easily make this yourself by enriching the soil with homemade compost.
Eucalyptus does not tolerate waterlogging. Therefore, it is important to place a layer of gravel or clay substrate at the bottom of the planting hole or container to allow water to drain away.

Fertilize eucalyptus

If you have used nutrient-rich soil or enriched it with compost, your young plant will not need any additional fertilizer in the first year.
From the second year on, you should fertilize your eucalyptus tree from the beginning of the growing season. Organic, preferably low-phosphorus and low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer is ideal for this. Add a portion of this to the water every two to three weeks. From August on you can stop fertilizing.

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Care for eucalyptus

Dekoratives Eukalyptuslaub

To enjoy your exotic plant for a long time, you should follow a few simple care tips.

Watering and fertilizing

The eucalyptus needs a lot of water. Especially during the growing season from May to October, you should make sure that the soil never dries out.
Ideally, use decalcified water for watering. Collected rainwater is ideal for this purpose.
Even in winter, the eucalyptus – whether outdoors or in the winter quarters – should not dry out and must be watered regularly. You can then reduce the amount of water somewhat.
You will quickly notice whether your eucalyptus has enough water. If there is a lack of water, the tree reacts quickly by dropping leaves. Now you should prune it back for regeneration.

Pruning eucalyptus

To prevent the fast-growing plant from growing over your head, you should prune it back regularly. Although “Eucalyptus gunnii” grows quite slowly with 40 to 50 centimeters per year compared to other eucalyptus species, pruning is still very good for it.

It is best to cut back your outdoor eucalyptus in the spring. When doing so, bring any overgrown branches down to the desired height with sharp pruning shears. However, always leave strongly woody, older shoots.

The plant will thank you for pruning with dense and strong young shoots in the new growing season. You can seal large cut wounds with a biological wound protection agent for plants.

If you keep your eucalyptus as a houseplant, you can cut it back twice a year if necessary.

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  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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