Eucalyptus Plant Care Guide

Eucalyptus is loved by many, not just for the refreshing scent of the essential oil derived from the plant, or for its silvery coin-like foliage often appearing in bouquets, but also because it makes a great focal point in your home or garden.

It’s a fast-growing plant, which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how much room you have and how much you actually like the plant.

Exactly how easy Eucalyptus is to grow depends on both the growing conditions (including whether that’s outdoors or indoors) and what variety you choose.

Interested in growing your Eucalyptus plant but unsure how to go about it? Here’s everything you need to know, including where to grow it, types to grow, how to prune it, and how to propagate it.

At A Glance: What You Should Know About Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus trees are beautiful plants that can also be sold under Argyle Apple, and Silver Dollar Tree.

Some species of Eucalyptus can reach up to 40 feet tall outdoors, and at maturity, depending on the growing conditions indoors, they can reach as tall as 10 feet!

If you have less space and keep on top of the plant’s growth by trimming it back, you can maintain the plant at around 4 feet or fewer.

There are more than 700 different species within the myrtle family, most of which hail from Australia, but it’s worth being picky about the variety you choose, as some will grow as shrubs, and others will be trees.

It’s worth noting that in some countries, Eucalyptus is not commonly grown as it is a fire hazard. They are very flammable plants, and will cause forest fires in the wrong conditions!

These plants are not suitable for low-light areas, indoors or outdoors. 

Does Eucalyptus Make A Good Houseplant?

Yes, and no. The biggest requirement of Eucalyptus plants is that they need lots of light, as they are used to sunny conditions in their native Australia.

They also grow incredibly quickly, which means they need a lot of maintenance. 

These plants are also susceptible to oedema, so you need to make sure that the plant is always in a spot with good air circulation and ventilation.

Not only this but drafts or dramatic temperature changes can kill Eucalyptus plants, especially those tender species.

Which Eucalyptus Varieties Can You Grow Indoors?

Do not choose Eucalyptus gunnii

Many places will tell you it’s the best one, and it is if you’re wanting to grow a Eucalyptus from seed, but it will grow more than 2 meters a year and needs lots of light, making it a nightmare to care for indoors.

You’re better off with the likes of Eucalyptus ficifolia, Eucalyptus citriodora, or Eucalyptus deglupta. These grow slower and are generally more shade-tolerant.

What Pot Do You Need For Eucalyptus?

It’s worth knowing that Eucalyptus plants do not do well in conventional pots. They need what’s known as Airpots to keep the root system healthy.

These quirky plants will decline in normal pots, as the roots aren’t stimulated, and leaves that grow may not form well, if at all.

How To Care For Eucalyptus

Light And Position

Large, South-facing windows are the only real option, besides skylights, or full-length windows with about six hours of direct sunlight.

Lower light levels simply won’t cut it with these plants, even outdoors. Full sun, or nothing.

Keep temperatures between 60°F and 75°F, avoiding drafts and sources of heat, and try and keep humidity levels above 50%.

Pick The Right Soil For Eucalyptus

All-purpose compost, with a good amount of perlite mixed in, will give Eucalyptus plants what they need to thrive.

When To Water Eucalyptus

Allow the top inch or two of the compost to dry out in between watering, keeping the soil damp, using rainwater where you can. 

Do not let your Eucalyptus plant dry out completely, as this will damage it.

If you’re growing Eucalyptus outdoors, mulch around the base to help lock in some moisture.

Do You Need To Feed Eucalyptus?

Outdoors, no. indoors, give your Eucalyptus plant a good quality houseplant feed every fourth watering or so during spring.

Pruning And Propagating Eucalyptus

If you’re chopping the plant back hard (which it will need once a year), do so in either late winter or early spring, just before the plant ‘wakes’ from dormancy.

Other Things To Consider When Growing Eucalyptus

Can You Grow Eucalyptus In Colder Climates?

Eucalyptus plants, depending on the species, are hardy in USDA zones 8-11, and in these areas, you can leave them outside all year round, but make sure they are in a sheltered position.

Is Eucalyptus Safe For Pets?

Keep this plant well out of reach of pets, and children, too. It’s highly toxic!

Final Thoughts

Eucalyptus plants are beautiful, but you need to be very careful about what variety you choose, and where you put it, matching the right conditions to the suitable species, otherwise it is practically impossible to grow indoors!

Light is not something you can overlook with Eucalyptus plants, so make sure you have a window that’s a sun trap, and the plant is as close to the window as possible.

Choose a slow-growing species to help keep on top of the plant’s growth, too.

Never let your plant dry out completely, and ensure it’s well away from pets or children, as it can be highly dangerous if ingested.

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