If you’re in the market for an exotic plant that’ll add lots of style to your home or garden, look no further than the good-old eucalyptus.
This beautiful fragrant tree is native to Australia but can be successfully grown in many parts of the world. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to grow eucalyptus and how to care for this tree so that you can enjoy its beauty for years to come!
Hop on board, and let’s start!
How Easy Is It to Grow Eucalyptus?
There are over 800 types of eucalyptus trees out there, and they enjoy the reputation of being some of the fastest-growing trees in the world.
But different varieties have different needs in terms of care and preferred conditions.
Some smaller varieties (e.g., Eucalyptus gracilis, E. gunnii, E. oleosa, E. socialis, etc.) prefer sheltered indoor life, while others (e.g., Bluey, Eucalyptus nicholii, and Big O — the most cold-hardy eucalyptus varieties) prefer the great outdoors.
Technically, growing eucalyptus is relatively easy. But how well (or poorly) your eucalyptus plant will do greatly depends on the way you treat it and care for it.
How to Grow Eucalyptus From Seed
Here are the steps to take for successful sprouting:
Step 1: Stratify the Seeds
Some varieties (e.g., E. amygdalina, E. elata, E. pauciflora, etc.) can’t go without stratification. To stratify eucalyptus seeds, you’ll need to refrigerate them for up to two months. This will imitate the winter period and promote germination.
All you need for stratification is a ziplock bag, eucalyptus seeds, and some filler (vermiculite, perlite, or sand will do just fine):
- Mix eucalyptus seeds and filler 1:3 ratio.
- Dampen the mix by spraying some water on it.
- Put the mix in a ziplock bag and seal it tight.
- Write the date on the bag (so you don’t forget when it’s time to take it out of the fridge).
- Put the bag in the fridge and keep it there for six weeks.
Step 2: Plant the Seeds
If you want to grow your eucalyptus indoors, prepare a container or a pot with a porous potting mix like perlite. Plant the seeds by lightly covering them with soil. You can also use starting trays to sow the seeds.
Step 3: Daily Care and Placement
Once they’re planted, keep the seeds warm, lightly mist them on a daily basis, and place them in indirect light.
And be patient! In two to three weeks’ time, they’ll start to germinate.
Tip — If you’re using starting trays, transplant the seedlings into pots once they grow to about four inches in height.
How to Grow Eucalyptus From Stem Cuttings
Turning cuttings into a brand-new eucalyptus plant is more complicated than planting seeds. And success rates are also lower. So, why do it?
Sometimes, seeds can be challenging to come by (and this is also the preferred method for certain species).
So, if you want to test your green thumb powers, here’s how to go about rooting eucalyptus cuttings:
- Cut off four-inch long cuttings from the top of the stem of a mature eucalyptus.
- Break off any foliage but leave budding leaves on.
- Dip the bottoms of the cuttings in a rooting hormone.
- Plant the cuttings in a porous potting mix (the way you would if you were to grow seeded eucalyptus).
- Soak the potting soil from the bottom up by placing the pot in a drainage saucer filled with water.
- Keep the cuttings warm by covering the pot with a plastic bag.
- Place the pot in a location where (ideally) the temperature doesn’t drop below 80 °F or go above 90 °F.
In about a month, your cuttings should develop roots and be ready to get transplanted.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Eucalyptus?
After a successful germination/rooting process, you’ll need to be patient for an additional month or so for the young eucalyptus to finally speed up its growth and start transforming into a tree.
It takes eucalyptus about 200 days to reach maturity. And, in a few years’ time, you’ll have a full-grown eucalyptus to complement your eclectic-style living space or backyard.
How to Care for Eucalyptus the Right Way
Patience isn’t all you need to make a eucalyptus thrive. You’ll also need to take proper care of this tree to keep it happy and healthy.
Eucalyptus trees need as much sunlight as they can get, preferably 8–10 hours a day. But fret not if you can’t provide them with this much light! They’ll do just fine with a minimum of six hours of high-intensity sunlight a day.
Tip — If you grow eucalyptus in a pot, place it in a sunny spot near a south- or west-facing window.
Eucalyptus trees tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Typically, they prefer the range of 65°F–71°F. So, if you live in warmer areas, your eucalyptus will do just fine outdoors, in your yard or on your patio.
However, if you live in an area with colder winters, it’s better to keep your eucalyptus plant indoors (or move it inside in the late fall) to avoid frost damage.
Soil and Pot Requirements
Good drainage is crucial for growing eucalyptus in pots. If the water pools in your pot, your eucalyptus is on a good way of getting root rot.
So, make sure you use a well-draining potting mix rich in nutrients (e.g., perlite, peat moss, or a combo of peat moss and horticultural sand). Also, make sure the pot/container you intend to plant eucalyptus in has drainage holes through which you’ll regulate moisture.
Eucalyptus trees are drought-tolerant plants that don’t like facing water too frequently. When it comes to watering, the rule of thumb is to let the soil dry out between waterings.
Young eucalyptus trees will need to be watered about once a week, just like air plants. On the other hand, mature trees can go without water for up to a whopping three weeks.
You’ll be glad to know that, unlike orchids and other common tropical houseplants, eucalyptus thrives in standard humidity levels (40%–50%). So, put your spray bottle aside! There’s no need to regularly mist the tree or purchase humidifiers to help it grow.
Growing a eucalyptus tree doesn’t entail frequent fertilization. Fertilizing once a year (in spring) should be enough. Additionally, you can add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil if you want your eucalyptus to grow faster.
Eucalyptus trees don’t require much pruning, but you can benefit from trimming them once in a while (to prevent overgrowth). It’s best to prune your tree in the late winter or early spring (before new growth begins).
Fun fact — Some eucalyptus species lose their bottom branches on their own.
As a fast grower, eucalyptus needs repotting at least once a year, preferably at the beginning of the growing season (in spring). And if your plant is a particularly fast grower, you may need to go up by two pot sizes when repotting.
Common Pests and Diseases
Eucalyptus trees are relatively resistant to pests and diseases — both when growing eucalyptus indoors and outside.
Still, they may fall victim to scale insects, aphids, and mealybugs. If you notice any of these pests on your tree, you can remove them by hand and treat your tree with insecticidal soap.
This plant is also susceptible to fungal diseases, such as root rot and leaf spot. These diseases can be prevented by keeping your tree‘s leaves dry and avoiding overhead watering. If your tree does become infected, you can treat it with a fungicide.
More Eucalyptus Care Tips
Here’s what else you need to know for guaranteed success in caring for a eucalyptus tree:
- Avoid transplanting your eucalyptus too frequently. These plants don’t like their roots to be disturbed.
- Provide a comfortable winter rest for your eucalyptus tree (if the variety requires it). During low-light winter months, don’t water the plant as frequently, and keep it at lower temperatures (45°–50 ºF).
- Provide ample space for growth. For example, if you intend to grow larger varieties like rainbow eucalyptus outdoors, plant it further away from house foundations, powerlines, roofs, drainage pipes, and other objects that can get damaged by this ginormous species.
- Some eucalyptus trees do best in a slightly acidic growing medium. If this is the case for the type you’re growing, consider adding more peat moss into the potting soil.
- If you decide to grow eucalyptus outside in an arid climate, it’s best to plant your tree in a location protected from the wind to prevent it from drying out.
Eucalyptus trees are beautiful, fragrant, and fast-growing plants that can make a great addition to your home. They won’t only boost your yard’s (or living room’s) aesthetics, but they’ll also serve as an insect-repellent, driving off various pesky pests.
By following the tips above, you’ll be on a good way to growing a healthy and thriving eucalyptus tree of your own.
Where does eucalyptus grow?
Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia but can now be found all over the world.
They grow best in warm climates but can also tolerate cooler temperatures as long as they aren’t exposed to frost. So, even if you live in an area with cold winters, you can grow eucalyptus trees as long as you keep them indoors!
How tall do eucalyptus trees grow?
Eucalyptus trees typically grow to be 150–180 ft.
However, there are varieties that grow much taller than that. For example, rainbow eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) easily reaches the height of 200 ft and mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans), the tallest species, can reach up to a whopping 330 ft.
How long does eucalyptus take to grow?
Eucalyptus trees grow quite quickly, reaching maturity about 200 days after being planted.
Will eucalyptus come back every year?
Eucalyptus isn’t an annual plant. It’s a perennial that lasts for years to come if cared for properly.
But due to its fast growth, some gardeners treat container eucalyptus as an annual plant and start new plants each season as annuals.
Can I grow eucalyptus in my yard?
Yes, you can grow eucalyptus in your yard! Although a bit tricky to propagate, once they’ve developed roots, these trees are relatively easy to take care of and make a great addition to any landscape. But, if you live in a cold climate, you’ll need to overwinter it indoors.
And if you’re wondering how to grow eucalyptus, scroll up and check out our tips and tricks again!