Eucalyptus can grow in a large variety of climatic conditions. Still, it shows the best growth in tropical to temperate climatic areas, which are sunny and dry as they cannot sustain cold weather. If the region has well-drained soil with sunny and dry weather, eucalyptus can grow very well over there. The countries where this plant species grows the best are Australia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and tropical parts of India.
Eucalyptus is a group of more than 700 species of plants that belongs to the Myrtaceae family. Eucalyptus plants are rapid-growing shrubs and evergreen trees native to Australia, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
Eucalyptus trees can grow to the height of 300 feet in their natural Australian environment, but they only grow up to 6-10 feet in home gardens.
Depending on the species, the color and shape of the eucalyptus leaves can vary. The tree bark of this species is smooth to touch and easy to peel. Apart from often being termed as ‘gum trees’ due to the excretion of sap when the bark breaks, it is also called the ‘koala’s food house.’
This article covers everything you need to know about how to grow eucalyptus indoors and outdoors.
Let’s get started!
When growing eucalyptus, the most common leaves will be oval-shaped and narrow to a point with glossy green color.If you grow eucalyptus with less matured varieties, you will end up having rounder leaves with dusty green color.
Most people grow eucalyptus to extract its menthol-like fragrance from the leaves when bruised.
If you’re planning to grow eucalyptus trees, nothing can be better than springtime.
How to grow eucalyptus outside
If you plan to grow eucalyptus outside, follow the below-mentioned steps.
1. Choose an area with well-draining soil and a sunny climate
Eucalyptus plants are adapted to grow in specific areas where they can receive a minimum of eight to ten hours of sunlight.
When growing outdoors, ensure to plant the seed in a south-facing spot without obstructions like trees or shrubs blocking the sunlight. Also, make sure the area has well-draining and nutritionally-enriched soil for your eucalyptus to grow quickly and efficiently.
Good drainage is essential as the soil will remove the excess moisture and let the plant grow adequately at its usual pace.
2. Water your eucalyptus plant regularly until it grows a few feet tall
Eucalyptus plants need to stay moderately drought-tolerant once they are established in the growing process.
You need to water your new plants every day to prevent the leaves from drooping and falling off their branches.
In addition, you can also place a mulching layer around the base of the plant. Mulching will help your plant to retain moisture whenever it needs it the most.
To summarize, your plant should never run out of moisture, nor should it be exposed to excess moisture.
3. Prune the plant regularly
Eucalyptus plants grow quickly. So, you need to prune them regularly to keep their growth in control and check. You can use any gardening tool for pruning the plant.
Pruning will keep them in good shape and health.
When growing outside, you will find the eucalyptus plants to grow up to 60 feet with their crescent-shaped leaves fluttering in the breeze. These tall and aromatic evergreen trees grow incredibly outside.
However, eucalyptus grows marvelously indoors too.
How to grow eucalyptus indoors
You can consider the potted eucalyptus trees as container perennials that grow until a certain height, after which you can transplant them to your backyard or donate them to some park.
Due to their rapid-growing pace, eucalyptus houseplants can be grown as annuals.
The seeds are mostly planted in the spring and grow up to 8 feet high in a single season.
Here’s how to grow eucalyptus indoors.
1. Cut a small stem from a eucalyptus tree
The easiest trick to growing a eucalyptus plant is by cutting. You have to look for someone who has a eucalyptus plant or look for any park with this tree.
Ask your friend or park personnel to cut off a 5-inch long stem with about eight leaves. The plant should be 2 to 12 months old. Soak the cut-off branch in a vase filled with water and growth hormones for about 4 weeks to grow some roots.
If you want to grow eucalyptus apart from the cutting technique, you can choose to grow it from its seed. You can either choose to take help from your fellow eucalyptus gardener or try your hand.
Start by planting the seed into the pot. Most seeds in the eucalyptus family are small, so plant them less than an inch under the soil.
While planting the seed, ensure to keep the soil moist but never too dry, saturated, or flooded.
2. Plant into a huge pot
Place your eucalyptus plant into a pot that you can put in the soil directly. If your plant grows a couple of inches tall, you need to plant the entire seedling into a large, long-term pot.
A huge pot is exactly the kind of pot you would pick to grow the eucalyptus plant from a cutting branch.
Pick a pot that will look well-conditioned even after ten years and where your plant can grow into. Ensure to pick a pot with drainage holes as the roots mustn’t sit in water.
In addition, get a plant stand with wheels to make the pot portable.
3. Caring for your eucalyptus plants
You need to keep your pot with eucalyptus plants in a south-facing window where they will be exposed to plentiful sunlight. You can also keep your pot outside the house, preferably in the garden when it’s sunny for a few months. However, keep an eye on the pot and bring it in before any threat of frost.
Eucalyptus are prone to hot, sunny, tropical environments. It enables them to withstand drought with wilting, but not watering them for a long time can be risky.
They are evergreen plants and trees, so any sign of leaf drop needs you to adjust your watering schedule. Also, if you keep the eucalyptus indoors for a prolonged period and don’t take it outside for a month or two, it won’t flower.
The trick to growing eucalyptus indoors is keeping them restricted to stay small. Prune or remove old growth and shape the tree according to your preferred size.
When growing outdoor eucalyptus trees or plants, it will barely need any additional fertilizer. However, indoor eucalyptus plants need some fertilizer. You can add liquid fertilizers periodically (after a few weeks).
4. Harvesting your eucalyptus plants
The tips of the eucalyptus foliage tend to wilt when you harvest them too young. Before a hard frost, you need to wait until as late during the growing season as you can.
If the stems and leaves start to feel leathery and firm instead of soft and tender, you need to snip the long branches. During the cool part of the day, harvest the plant and place it in water.
You can try several techniques for drying, but the best one is hanging them upside down in a dark, cool area.
You can also choose to leave them upright in a bucket too. After that, your work is done.
Can eucalyptus grow in Malaysia?
Yes, the Eucalyptus plant can be planted in Malaysia. They are known for their ability to grow quickly on often difficult sites and under conditions that might differ from those identified in their natural habitat. Due to this natural resilience, the Malaysian government has supported the commercial planting of Eucalyptus plants in Malaysia.
Several species of Eucalyptus have been planted all across Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah-Sarawak. The Eucalyptus plant has the greatest potential to provide laminated timber, pulp and paper as finished products for the Malaysian economy.
Whether you want to grow eucalyptus for its medicinal properties or make candles scented with its oil, the steps to proceed with the growth are simple and easy. If you are eager to know how to grow eucalyptus indoors or outdoors, simply follow the steps mentioned above.
For indoor growth, you have to pay more attention to the watering schedule, fertilizer requirement, and sunlight exposure. Outdoor eucalyptus hardly needs any maintenance.
So, get a cut-off branch or a seed to start planting your eucalyptus from today.