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Planting eucalyptus, care, overwinter in the garden or in containers: everything you need to know about growing!

Eucalypts grow to a maximum height of about 9 m. The shape and color of the leaves vary greatly from species to species. The most common varieties have glossy green, oval leaves that taper to a point. Some less mature varieties have rounder leaves. Today, eucalyptus plants are grown around the world for their menthol-like fragrance and medicinal properties. Learn how to plant, care for, and overwinter eucalyptus from our article!

Planting eucalyptus in the garden or in a container

Planting eucalyptus, caring for it, overwintering it in the garden or in containers - Everything you need to know

Eucalyptus trees thrive in the garden, but some home gardeners prefer to plant them in containers or as potted plants indoors. Once planted properly, eucalyptus plants are relatively low maintenance. A word of warning: they shed their bark, and although they are evergreen, the leaves only last about a year and then fall off to form new leaves. The vegetation that is shed makes great mulch and does not need to be removed if it falls on your beds. Other than that, there are just a few simple things to keep in mind until your new tree is established, especially watering and weeding.

What kind of soil is suitable

Choose a sunny location for the plant with well-drained soil

Choose a sunny location with well-drained soil. Eucalyptus plants prefer locations that receive at least eight to 10 hours of full sun. If you plant your eucalyptus indoors, place it near a south-facing window so it gets plenty of sun. If you plant it in your garden, make sure the soil is well drained. If you plant the eucalyptus in a pot, use high-quality potting soil and a pot with drainage holes to allow excess moisture to drain away.

How often to water eucalyptus

Plants have limited drought tolerance once established

Eucalyptus plants have limited drought tolerance once they become established. Water your new plants regularly to prevent the leaves from drooping and falling off. If you are planting the eucalyptus outdoors, be sure to add a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to keep moisture where it is needed most.

You don’t want the eucalyptus to become dependent on you watering it every week, but you definitely don’t want a young eucalyptus to wilt. Wilted eucalypts will turn brown and crisp. All evergreens (i.e. shrubs, conifers, and trees) do not recover well if they wilt badly. Deciduous plants have the safety net of being able to shed their leaves and very often revive when water becomes available again.

So water your tree well when it needs it, especially during drought or when it is wilting. This may mean watering once a day to once a week on sandy soils. Give your new tree 1-2 quarts of water during prolonged dry spells. In any case, be vigilant about watering until your new tree is established and has grown several feet, which means its roots are well established in the surrounding soil.

Is fertilizer necessary

Outdoor eucalyptus trees rarely need fertilizer, but your indoor eucalyptus plants may benefit from some liquid fertilizer every few weeks in the spring.

Prune your eucalyptus plant

Planting eucalyptus - prune your plant as needed

Prune your plant as needed. These plants grow quickly. The best way to keep this growth in check and keep the plant healthy is to prune and shape it regularly.

How to overwinter eucalyptus

Live in a place where temperatures drop below freezing, winterize your eucalyptus

If you live in a place where temperatures do not fall below freezing in winter, you can keep your eucalyptus outdoors even in the colder months. Just make sure in this case that the plant has good drainage, gets as much light as it needs and that the soil is always kept dry. If you live in a place where temperatures drop below freezing, you will need to winterize your eucalyptus as follows:

  • Check the soil. Before moving your plant from its location, make sure the soil is dry to prevent mold.
  • Check for pests. When your eucalyptus is moved to a new location and enters the winter months, it may become somewhat weak. Its normal resistance to pests will be lower. Make sure your plant is healthy and pest free before moving it to its winter location.
  • Lower the temperature. Place your plant in a cool room. For example, in a garage, basement, attic, garden shed or cool stairwell if you live in an apartment.

You don't want the exotic shrub to become dependent on you watering it every week

  • Add supplemental light. Choose a full-spectrum bulb and place it 20-30 inches above the plant to avoid leaf burn. Leave the light on for 12-16 hours a day.
  • Reduce watering. During the winter, reducing watering is key to your eucalyptus’ survival. How much water it needs depends on the amount of light and the temperature it’s in. But in general, it’s better to water a little too little than too much. Drooping leaves, however, can be a sign that something is wrong with the watering: either too much or too little, in which case you should check the soil and adjust the amount accordingly.
  • Check your eucalyptus from time to time to prevent any infestation early . It is also important to know that it is not normal for eucalyptus to shed its leaves in winter. So if your eucalyptus starts dropping its leaves, something is going on! The most common causes are too much or too little water, too little light and too high temperatures. So check the soil and roots and make sure the light and temperature conditions are okay.