Eucalyptus plants range from small, bushy shrubs to towering trees. This species of plants is known for its medicinal properties, general hardiness and for the fact that it is a habitat tree. Eucalyptus trees are vital in the life of koalas, kookaburras, sugar gliders, and other animals. In fact, half of all mammals (and many of the birds) in the northern part of Australia make their homes in eucalyptus trees, according to PBS Nature. These trees grow easily if the conditions are right.
Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia, where they grow in every part of the continent. These trees have also been found growing in New Guinea, Timor and the Philippines, according to Purdue University. In the United States, eucalyptus trees grow primarily in California and Hawaii, but can also be found in parts of Texas, Florida, Arizona and Mississippi.
Eucalyptus trees enjoy warm, tropical or subtropical climates. They do best in coastal areas, according to the University of Florida, that lay within the boundaries of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 10 and 11. Some of the smaller, non-tree (shrub) species of eucalyptus can tolerate colder growing zones and freezing conditions.
Some of the tallest trees in the world are of the eucalyptus species, but these towering giants are only found in Australia. These can reach heights of over 150 feet tall. Most of the eucalyptus trees found in the United States are of the species E. ficifolia, or the red gum tree, and they are much smaller. Red gum trees grow to a height of between 30 and 40 feet, according to the University of Florida, with a spread of 20 feet.
Rate and Hardiness
Eucalyptus trees are fast-growing plants. They are also very hardy. These trees can grow even in poor soil conditions, according to Purdue University, including waterlogged, sandy, clay and acidic soils. Eucalyptus trees are known in part for their fire-hardiness and can also survive high winds, competition from weeds, insect pests, wilt diseases and extreme heat and drought.
Pests and Diseases
Eucalyptus trees can be bothered by many insect pests, but most of them rarely affect the growth of the tree save psyllids (jumping plant lice). These insect pests can disfigure the growth of new foliage and twigs on eucalyptus trees, according to the University of Florida. Eucalyptus trees are also susceptible to leaf spot and crown gall, which are both fungal diseases.