Eucalyptus, of which there are nearly 800 species, is originally from Australia. Some species lend themselves well to cultivation in our country. We love its decorative bark and its aromatic foliage which gives off a fairly marked minty scent, but also its silver gray leaves which are adorned with a pretty metallic blue reflection. Spotlight on the planting and maintenance of an Eucalyptus or gum tree.
Plant an Eucalyptus
It is important to learn about the size that the tree will take in adulthood in order to choose thespecies in line with the land area and the place we want to give it.
Some Eucalyptus like humus, acidic or neutral, deep, well-draining and cool soils. Others are grown in dry soil and thrive in limestone soil. Likewise, they are more or less rustic. Some gum trees can be planted in poor soil, but such conditions are likely to affect their growth somewhat, which will be limited. It is therefore at the time of purchase that it is necessary to learn about the needs of the variety of Eucalyptus chosen in order to be able to offer it the best possible conditions.
Regarding its exposure, it must be very sunny, sheltered from drafts and cold winds.
here’s how to plant an Eucalyptus in the ground.
- Dig a square hole 50 cm sides and 50 to 60 cm deep,
- Place a layer of coarse sand or gravel about twenty centimeters thick to ensure good drainage,
- Position the young Eucalyptus in the center of the planting hole making sure that the collar is at ground level,
- Fill the hole with soil that meets the needs of the species,
- Press down with your foot,
- Water generously.
It is recommended to plant posts around the hole in order to maintain the trunk with flexible ties if it is a large-growing Eucalyptus. For other species, this precaution is not necessary.
If we choose to plant a potted Eucalyptus, you have to opt for a fairly wide and very deep tank (about 60 to 70 cm), with a pierced bottom, and fill it with a light and rich substrate. We do not forget of course to deposit a draining layer at the bottom of the tank such as for example gravel, pozzolana, coarse sand or expanded clay balls.
Growing an Eucalyptus
These trees are particularly well adapted to our Mediterranean regions, the Atlantic coast and Brittany. Is the spring that you can plant an Eucalyptus in the ground or in a pot, when the temperatures are mild. Planting in early autumn is possible but only in regions little affected by early and sometimes severe frosts.
Caring for a Eucalyptus
This fast-growing tree with a pretty silhouette does not no particular problem. It is even very easy to grow, able to withstand excessive rains such as great droughts, and can ultimately be satisfied with ordinary soil.
It is especially over the two summers after planting that the Eucalyptus should be watered regularly. Subsequently, nature will take care of its irrigation. In contrast, specimens grown in containers need more water. We water as soon as the substrate is dry but not before.
Only potted gum trees should benefit from a nutrient intake because their roots do not have the possibility of going to draw them in depth. In spring and autumn, it is therefore necessary to carry out a surfacing. This consists of removing 6 to 7 cm of soil which is replaced by compost.
The size of the Eucalyptus it’s not mandatory. However, it is recommended to remove only the twigs that have suffered from frost. It is enough to cut them off at the base, and even if all the twigs are affected, severe pruning can be done without fear. If care has been taken to keep a few young stems, the tree will grow back very quickly.
Note that after a few years, if a few large roots are a little too invasive, it is possible to cut them.
Eucalyptus in a pot must be sheltered before the onset of frost. It can be stored with the other shrubs in a container that is put back in a cold greenhouse. If you do not have this type of structure, a simple cool and bright room (frost free) is quite suitable.
Parasites and diseases
Eucalyptus is appreciated for its ease of cultivation but also for its great resistance to pests and diseases. At the most he can be the target of Ophelimus eucalypti, a small wasp that transmits the Eucalyptus gall. This disease causes yellowing of the foliage. The best way to get rid of it is to cut off all affected leaves and burn them.
It’s up to everyone to choose the species of Eucalyptus that best adapts to the size of their land. The smallest Eucalyptus in adulthood measure 4 to 5 m, while the tops of the largest can happily peak at 90 meters for a trunk of a good ten meters in circumference.