Eucalyptus

Although widely planted in coastal areas of tropical and sub-tropical countries, there are a number of species of this large Australasian genus suitable for milder areas of Great Britain and countries with similar climates. The evergreen foliage often differs greatly even within a species — juvenile leaves on young specimens being quite distinct from the adult foliage found on older trees. In mild districts many species will make medium-sized or large trees and are frequently in danger of blowing over if exposed to strong winds. In such circumstances and indeed in small gardens generally, the gum trees are best grown as multi-stemmed bushy plants when their attractive foliage can be enjoyed at eye level. Such bushes also provide quantities of excellent and easily accessible foliage for floral arranging. Although less successful on chalk, most species will grow on a considerable range of soils. Spring planting of small pot-grown plants is to be recommended. Once established and growing vigorously, cut back to about 18 in. to strengthen anchorage. Then select the best newly formed stem to make a tree, or grow as a multi-stemmed bush if desired.

snow gum, E. niphophila

One of the hardiest species is Eucalyptus dalrympleana which makes a medium-sized tree with silvery-white patchwork trunk and branches; the adult foliage, 4 to 7 in. long, is scimitar shaped.

E. gunnii, the cider gum, a hardy Tasmanian species, is now much planted in the British Isles. The juvenile leaves are round, stem clasping and bright glaucous blue while adult foliage is sickle shaped and sage green. It is most striking if grown as a bush.

The snow gum, E. niphophila, is a remarkably hardy species from Australia’s Snowy Mountains. It is a small attractive tree which is very garden worthy with its grey and cream-coloured peeling trunk and branches and long, lance-shaped, blue-grey adult leaves. Young branches and twigs are covered with blue-white bloom and new leaves open mahogany red.

A very hardy species, E. parvifolia, makes a medium-sized tree and is successful on chalk soils. The juvenile leaves are usually dark green, ovate-lanceolate and pointed while adult foliage is narrower (linear-lanceolate), blue green, about 2-1- in. long.

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