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How to Take Care of a Eucalyptus Plant

Plant image by Platinum Pictures from

The eucalyptus plant comes with a long list of uses, to create wood products from its bark, as a medicinal source and in fragrant oil and candles. What it does not come with, however, is a long list of maintenance needs. The eucalyptus plant has more than 600 species. Some grow as a shrub others grow into substantial trees. Eucalyptus plants placed in the ground can maintain themselves without help other than routine pruning. Those planted in a container, however, will require a bit more attention. A home gardener can easily maintain shrubs and smaller eucalyptus plants, but large eucalyptus trees may benefit from the skill--and tools--of professional.

Use a fertilizer low in phosphorous to feed a eucalyptus planted in a container. Feed the plant in the spring and again in the fall, following the directions on the package.

Use a water hose or sprinkler to slowly and infrequently water the plant. Water again when the top 3 to 4 inches of the soil is dry to the touch. Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of a eucalyptus plan to help guard against water loss in excessively dry and hot climates. Protect the plant from drying out also in the winter, by continuing to water into the cold season.

Prune a eucalyptus plant annually in the summer. Use loopers or a pair of pruning shears to trim dead or diseased branches and limbs. Prune large limbs in three cuts with a chainsaw. Make the first cut partially through the bottom of the limb to avoid tearing the bark. Cut out farther with the second cut and remove the limb. Make the third cut to remove the stub.


When pruning, do not leave any stubs, as they can cause rot to the interior of the plant.

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