How to Care for Eucalyptus Plants

Overview

Eucalyptus trees are beautiful, low-maintenance trees native to Australia. Best known as the primary source of food for koala bears, these trees also have many medicinal properties, including the ability to reduce fevers. Oil from the tree is also used as an insect repellent. Most of the more than 500 species of the eucalyptus tree have a pleasing fragrance and can grow in any subtropical or tropical climate. Many are also grown in containers, where they can be moved inside when the weather gets cooler. Regardless of the species, the general care of eucalyptus plants is the same.

Step 1

Provide large amounts of sunlight for your eucalyptus plant. These trees need full sun exposure to thrive--a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day. Whether in a container or in your garden, make sure your eucalyptus is in a sunny location.

Step 2

Water your eucalyptus plant when the top layer of soil is dry. Established trees can survive short periods of drought. Eucalyptus plants in containers need more frequent watering; enough so that the soil does not dry down further than an inch below the surface. Note that newly planted trees should be watered more frequently throughout the first growing season so that even the top layer of soil is continually moist.

Step 3

Add a 3-inch layer of mulch around your tree in the spring. This will help the soil retain water and prevent weeds from establishing themselves. Mulch can also be added to container plants as well. The mulch should extend 2 feet out from the trunk of the eucalyptus.

Step 4

Prune eucalyptus trees in the summer to control height and remove excess branches. These trees can become top-heavy and should be thinned to maintain their neat, rounded shape. Remove any dead, diseased or weakened branches as well. Do not prune too vigorously. Most growth occurs in the first decade of the eucalyptus tree's life. After that, pruned ares of the tree will be slow to regrow, if they even do regrow.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never transplant a eucalyptus tree. Their roots, once established, do not transplant well, and in most cases the tree will die.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering tool
  • Mulch
  • Pruning tools
  • Chicken wire

References

  • Angelfire.com: How to Grow a Eucalyptus
  • Cornell University: Eucalyptus spp.

Who Can Help

  • University of Maryland: Eucalyptus
Keywords: how to care for, growing plants, Eucalyptus spp. tree

About this Author

April Sanders has been a writer and educator for 11 years. She is a published curriculum writer and has provided academic content for several subscription databases. Sanders holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social psychology and a Master's degree in information sciences and technology.