Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus and Corymbia species)
Gardeners tend to avoid planting eucalyptus or gum trees, fearing they will become towering giants that drop limbs and pose a hazard to people and property. Fortunately, there are small gum trees that possess the features we love about these iconic native trees – varied growth habits; textured bark; fascinating juvenile and adult foliage as well as spectacular flower buds and blooms that are followed by intriguing seed capsules.
Mallee eucalyptus are particularly suitable for garden planting because they develop multiple trunks. These trunks emerge from a swollen stem base containing stored nutrients and dormant buds called a lignotuber The list below represents species and grafted hybrids suitable for suburban planting and the state where they are endemic.
- Bell-fruited Mallee (Eucalyptus preissiana) – WA.
- Bushy Yate (Eucalyptus lehmannii) – WA.
- Coarse-leaved Mallee (Eucalyptus grossa) – WA.
- Drummond’s Mallee (Eucalyptus drummondii) – WA.
- Dwarf Crimson (Corymbia ficifolia) – Grafted hybrid – Vic.
- Dwarf Orange (Corymbia ficifolia) – Grafted hybrid – Vic.
- March Mallee (Eucalyptus leptophylla) – SA, NT.
- Mottlecah (Eucalyptus macrocarpa) – WA.
- Plunkett Mallee (Eucalyptus curtisii) – Qld.
- Red-budded Mallee (Eucalyptus pachyphylla) SA, WA, NT.
- Rusty Jacket (Corymbia peltata syn. Eucalyptus peltata) – Qld.
- Silver Princess (Eucalyptus caesia Silver Princess) – WA.
- Summer Beauty (Eucalyptus ptychocarpa x E. ficifolia) – Grafted hybrid – Qld, WA, NT.
- Summer Red (Eucalyptus ptychocarpa x E. ficifolia) – Grafted hybrid – Qld, WA, NT
- Swamp Bloodwood (Eucalyptus ptychocarpa) – Qld, WA, NT.
Climate While many species in commercial cultivation originate from Western Australia, they often perform equally well in other parts of the country, particularly in Victoria and New South Wales. There are species that cope with everything from extreme heat and drought to temporary waterlogging during tropical wet seasons as well as cold, frost and snow.
Soil The key to success is choosing a species adapted to your climate and soil type. Where soil is compacted or requires other improvement, aerate deeply with a garden fork, and incorporate home-made compost or mix Seasol Garden Mix into the existing soil. Prepare the soil so that roots can penetrate deeply to ensure plant stability and less stress during seasonal extremes.
Aspect Eucalyptus trees prefer full sun, but will tolerate some morning shade. Lightly stake young plants for the first year or so as to provide some degree support for the main trunk and branches, while still allowing movement. Trees should be self-supporting after this time, except in the most exposed situations. The tough leathery foliage is tolerant of wind and exposed conditions.