One of the best exports from Australia behind only Men at Work and Kylie, the eucalyptus tree is increasingly popular with gardening enthusiasts in this country. And it’s not surprising . The eucalyptus is instantly recognisable with its unique foliage but also by its stature and the tangy aroma of its leaves.
It's a wonderfully versatile tree which will grace any garden. And the big bonus is that if you happen to have a tame koala living with you it’ll love munching on your eucalyptus leaves. The odds are you don’t have an antipodean marsupial in the house but even so there are so many other reasons why you should consider growing a eucalyptus tree (or two) in your garden.
Why Grow a Eucalyptus Tree?
To be honest I can’t think of any reasons why you wouldn’t want to grow an eucalyptus tree. For starters it looks beautiful. And with their silvery leaves and characteristic peeling bark, they’ll add an exotic look to your garden. And you can bet the neighbour won’t have one.
If you’re looking for a centrepiece for a new planting scheme or a specimen tree for the garden you can’t go wrong with Eucalyptus. A great thing about them is that they have very fast growth patterns so will establish themselves in no time at all.
Of course, looks aren’t everything. And beyond their aesthetic appeal, your tree will be a magnet to wildlife and very popular with birds. And if you enjoy a little homoeopathic medicine eucalyptus oil has been used in traditional medicine and aromatherapy for ages.
Choosing a Eucalyptus Tree for Your Garden
There are several varieties of eucalyptus to choose from including some which are especially robust. Hardy varieties like eucalyptus gunnii and eucalyptus parvula are well-suited for the unpredictable UK climate. For those with smaller gardens, compact options like ‘Azura’ are ideal, offering beauty without overwhelming the space. But whichever type you choose you’ll be assured of a wonderful tree which will delight you for years.
Planting Your Tree
Most varieties will need a position which combines generous sunlight with well-draining soil. But some, such as guinea, will do just as well in semi-shade.
As with other types of ornamental tree, when planting it's essential to ensure the depth of the hole matches the pot the tree was delivered in. This will give the roots plenty of room to spread and establish themselves.
When first planted a eucalyptus tree will need regular watering to establish itself. However, as it matures, the typically damp UK climate should suffice, reducing the need for frequent watering.
Care and Maintenance
The good news is that eucalyptus trees are relatively low-maintenance. But of course they will appreciate a bit of TLC every now and again. Your tree will need regular pruning which will not only keep its growth in check but will also help keep the tree healthy and promote strong growth.
When winter approaches, although many varieties are hardy, adding a layer of mulch can provide the roots extra warmth and protection. And, like any plant, they're susceptible to pests, with aphids being a common problem.
Why You Need Eucalyptus in Your Garden
Eucalyptus trees look stunning but they are also great for the environment. They purify the air around them and once established the canopy will provide refreshing shade, creating a cool spot which is perfect on a hot summer day. They can also serve as effective windbreaks, sheltering more delicate plants from the wind.
There Can Be Drawbacks
Growing eucalyptus can present one or two challenges. IT will take a few years but their rapid growth can sometimes be overwhelming. They must be regularly pruned to keep them manageable. Their root systems will spread very quickly so it's crucial to plant them a safe distance from home foundations or other structures. Some varieties can suffer in the cold weather but by selecting hardy types and providing winter protection, you can help prevent frost damage.
Plant a Eucalyptus Today
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that you really do need a eucalyptus tree (or two) in your life. They will provide a great focal point in your garden and bring plenty of interest all year round. We always have eucalyptus in stock so why not take a look at all our ornamental trees and choose your new eucalyptus today?
In the meantime here are the answers to some questions we’ve been asked recently about eucalyptus trees.
Is it worthwhile to have a eucalyptus tree?
Beyond doubt! These trees bring so many benefits. They not only look great but they can also be very practical by providing shade and acting as windbreaks. They are also environmentally friendly and will attract a variety of wildlife.
Can eucalyptus survive a UK winter?
Yes, but there is a caveat. Some are not suitable for the UK climate so make sure you choose a handy variety. Their natural hardiness coupled with some winter care, can ensure they thrive even during even the chilliest months.
How far should a eucalyptus tree be from a house?
Because the roots can spread so quickly make sure you plant your tree 10-15 metres away from any structures.
Can I grow eucalyptus in my garden?
Absolutely! The key is choosing a variety that will be suitable for the size of your garden. But really there aren’t any reasons why you couldn’t grow a eucalyptus tree no matter the size of your plot or the location of your garden.
What are the disadvantages of eucalyptus trees?
As wonderful as they are, they can be a pain. Their rapid growth and vast root systems can sometimes be more bane than boon. However, they really aren’t difficult to keep in check.
Can eucalyptus trees be grown in pots?
Certainly they can! Especially when considering younger trees. The key is a spacious pot with efficient drainage to keep the tree healthy.
Do eucalyptus trees cause subsidence?
Their extensive root systems can pose a risk, particularly if planted near structures on shrinkable clay soils. Basically, as long as you don’t plant it outside the kitchen window you’ll be fine.