How to Grow a Eucalyptus Tree

Overview

Eucalyptus trees belong in the family Myrtaceae, which encompasses approximately 700 species of both fast-growing trees and shrubs. The vast majority of cultivars are Australian natives. Trees are tropical and subtropical in nature and grow best in USDA planting zones 8, 9 and 10. In cooler regions, plant and grow eucalyptus trees inside large containers, as most varieties are not cold hardy. Puff-like flowers produced spring throughout summer range in colors of reds, white, yellows and pinks. Gardeners should have success growing eucalyptus trees provided they meet their requirements.

Step 1

Select a healthy eucalyptus tree that has not outgrown its container. Eucalyptus trees have a very sensitive root system and it is important to select trees planted inside containers that have not become root-bound inside the container.

Step 2

Select an area in your landscape that experiences full sun throughout the day. The majority of eucalyptus cultivars require growing in full sun for best growth and performance.

Step 3

Consider the mature size of your eucalyptus tree when selecting a planting site. Some cultivars reach over 40 feet tall at maturity with a spreading habit of the same. The tree has a shallow root system so do not plant the tree next to a house where it can fall with high winds.

Step 4

Plant eucalyptus trees inside a container filled with a well-draining potting mix that has drain holes and is approximately three to four times larger than the tree's root ball.

Step 5

Plant eucalyptus trees in the ground in a well-draining, native soil medium not amended with organic material. Improve only if the soil lacks phosphate. Work ground rock phosphate into the planting site approximately 6 to 8 inches before planting, as recommended by the University of Florida.

Step 6

Dig a planting hole approximately one time larger than the eucalyptus tree's root ball and as deep as the container. Eucalyptus tree's roots do not require the planting site loosened before planting. Water the planting hole before placing the tree into it.

Step 7

Water the eucalyptus tree before removing from its container. Remove the tree from the container being careful not to disrupt the tree's root system. Eucalyptus trees do not like their root systems disturbed.

Step 8

Plant the eucalyptus tree at the same depth it was growing inside its container, and firm the soil up around the tree once planted.

Step 9

Water the tree once planted, thoroughly saturating the roots. Continue watering, keeping the soil moist for the first two weeks and then gradually cut back the watering to once per week. Eucalyptus trees are relatively drought tolerant once established and will die if grown in saturated conditions.

Step 10

Prune the tree as needed to form one main trunk, to control its size and shape, and to remove any dead wood or crossing branches.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not mulch around the base of eucalyptus trees as it can retain too much water in the planting site and trees develop root rot and die.

Things You'll Need

  • Eucalyptus tree
  • Shovel
  • Phosphate
  • Water
  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers

References

  • Windmill Outback Nursery: Guide to Growing Eucalyptus
  • University of Florida: Eucalyptus ficifolia-Red-Flowering Gum
  • Growit: USDA Hardiness Zone Map
  • National Aroboretum: Rose Gum Eucalyptus

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Eucalyptus ficifolia-Red-Flowering Gum
Keywords: growing eucalyptus trees, planting eucalyptus trees, eucalyptus tree care

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.