With many bonsai and conifers grown at home, the eucalyptus stands out for its rarity and valuable qualities. This plant is very much appreciated by florists for its unusual foliage and crown, as well as for its unique fragrance, which can completely change the atmosphere in the room. And we mean not only the ability of the plant, to emit phytoncides into the air. House eucalyptus can become a highlight of any interior. It has a very impressive appearance but is very demanding regarding care and keeping conditions.
Naturally eucalypts have a pyramidal crown shape with a light blue tint. Native to Australia, the plant is widely used to extract its valuable essential oil. In domestic culture, eucalyptus is not widely used. Not only is it expensive, but also demanding and capricious.
Eucalyptus is a slow growing plant, changing almost imperceptibly.
At home it can normally grow no taller than 100cm. It can be cultivated both as a tree and as a shrub. In a room culture this plant has graceful straight shoots which are decorated with silvery green leaf plates, which are shaped like a coin.
It may seem that the eucalyptus crown is loose, this is due to the unusual arrangement of the leaf plates, which are turned to the source of light by the edge. The leaflets are shiny and smooth, covered with a bluish-blue waxy patina, which has a distinctive silvery sheen.
The oval-round, soft leaf plates have a pungent aroma. After a while they become tougher and also slightly elongated and slightly pointed.
The tree also stands out for its unusual blooms. Small flowers are formed in the leaf axils, which may be short-petaled singly or gathered in not very large shield-shaped inflorescences. The petals of the flowers are fused, and they are decorated with numerous stamens.
The fluffy florets may be colored in yellowish, pale cream or pale pink. Pollinated flowers produce cone-shaped fruits.
Eucalyptus has a powerful phytoncidal property. Its wonderful fragrance also prevents colds and has a strong refreshing, toning and sedative effect. This plant is great for offices and work areas.
Growing Eucalyptus at Home - All Be Well - Issue 97 - 17.12.2012 - Everything Will Be Well
Home cultivation of eucalyptus is very demanding. A cool and well-lit place is good for it. Such conditions are extremely difficult to create in a living room, which is why the plant is so rarely seen in indoor cultivation.
It is most commonly cultivated in a greenhouse.
This plant needs constant very bright light, without being afraid of direct sunlight. Even if you put it on an east-facing window sill the shrub will feel uncomfortable. A southern window, or at least a southeastern or southwestern window is excellent for eucalyptus. During the colder seasons it needs extra light but needs to be exposed to direct sunlight for about 6 hours per day.
Giving the plant the right temperature conditions is the hard part. This tree reacts extremely negatively to high temperatures at any age. Even in the summertime, it needs to be cool - about 18 degrees. To ensure such a temperature regime, the room will have to be aired frequently.
In the winter months, the eucalypt should be moved to a colder place (7-15 degrees).
If the room is warmer than 16 degrees, the plant might just die, moreover if you take care of it incorrectly.
Fresh air must be provided if the plant is to develop properly. Even regular airing in the room will not be enough. In summer, for example, the window should be ajar all the time or the plant can be moved to the garden or the balcony. Warm drafts do not harm the eucalyptus, but from the cold - it must be protected.
Remember that in the home the plant can suffer greatly from any mistake. If the foliage fades, no new one will grow in its place. It will easily fall off, even due to minor care failures.
The plant should be watered abundantly in the summertime. Be sure to pour the water out of the tray some time afterwards.
Moisten the potting soil only after the top layer has dried out a little. In autumn, watering should be reduced and the surface of the substrate should dry out only a little more.
The tree reacts negatively to stagnant water in the soil mixture. However, an even greater danger to it is an over-drying of the ground ball even to the middle of the pot. This causes the upper branches to dry out and the leaves to fall off.
Moisten the soil mixture in the pot with melted or rainwater. The temperature should be near room temperature.
Home Eucalyptus is fine in any air humidity. Note that it can be harmed by both wiping the leaves and moistening them from a sprayer. To get rid of dust on the leaves, shower the plant.
Fertilizer for this crop is best used with special fertilizers for bonsai or eucalyptus. If you cannot find any, you can use general foliar fertilizer with a low nitrogen and phosphorus content. Feed the plant all year round: in spring and summer - 2 times a month, and in autumn and winter - once a month. The manufacturer's recommended dosage should be halved.
Since the plant is slow-growing, it does not require restraining pruning.
To get the best looking crown, the plant should not be pruned at all; it should develop on its own. If necessary, it can be shaped into the shape you want by systematic pruning, staking, shaping and stripping.
This plant is suitable for making a topiary, tripod or bonsai. The shrub is trimmed in spring and pruned in summer if necessary. The tree does not suffer from pruning and can tolerate ½ length of the shoots.
Potting only when absolutely necessary and when the root system becomes cramped in the pot. The roots should show out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. Repotting is done by the method of transplanting, keeping the lump of soil intact.
Pots of fancy shape, decorated with painting or decoupage, are ideal only as a room decoration. A tree, on the other hand, needs a sturdy pot made of natural material.
Perfectly suited not very large container. When transplanting, the new container should be only 10-20 mm larger in cross-section than the old one.
When planting a young bush, the volume of the container should exceed the size of the root ball by only a few centimeters. If the bush is growing very quickly, prune the root system and reduce the volume of the container. This will restrict the growth of the crown.
A universal soil mixture with loosening additives and peat is suitable for the eucalyptus. To make the substrate more friable, it is recommended to mix it with sphagnum moss, vermiculite, perlite or coarse sand. At the bottom of the pot be sure to make a thick layer of drainage.
After transplanting you need to be very careful with the tree. It is not recommended to water the transplanted bush for 4-5 days.
Resumption of watering should be slow and careful. The substrate is only lightly moistened until you notice signs of the bush fully adapting after transplanting.
Diseases and Pests
Eucalyptus is highly resistant to diseases and pests. However, spider mites or scab mites may move to the tree from neighboring shrubs. In this case, treat it as soon as possible with an insecticide.
Root rot can quickly appear on the roots if moisture stagnates in the soil. A clear sign of this problem is that the leaves have faded and begun to fall off en masse. If the leaves turn yellow before they fall off, watering with hard or cold water may be the cause.
Growing from seed
Eucalyptus seeds germinate well for a long time. Therefore, it is often propagated by seed.
Newly emerged seedlings are very capricious. Fill the container with universal substrate combined with sand (1:1). Seeds are sown superficially. Cover the top of the seeds with a film or glass. They are placed in a cool place (about 18 degrees), while making sure that the humidity of the soil mixture is always high (95-100 percent).
Seedlings can die from both overdrying and overwatering the substrate. They need coolness and systematic ventilation. When their height is 20 mm, perform picking. Seedlings should be taken up with a root ball without touching the roots.
How to grow eucalyptus at home
Raising eucalyptus from cuttings is not easy either.
The soil mixture must always be moist, and plenty of bright light is needed, but no direct sunlight. When the cuttings take roots, the light must become more intense and you only water after the surface of the soil has dried out a little.
Types of indoor eucalyptus
You can find four types of eucalyptus on sale, each with unusual foliage and a spectacular appearance.
Eucalyptus ash (Eucalyptus cinerea), or silver dollar
This unusual bright tree is decorated with matte, silvery egg-shaped foliage. As it grows, the shape of the leaves hardly changes.
Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus globulus)
The bush has many branches that are covered with rich green, elongated-lanceolate foliage. The bark in this species is pale yellow.
Eucalyptus gunnii (Eucalyptus gunnii)
The species has round, light blue leaf plates that have a faintly pronounced scent. The leaves only turn green when the plant is mature. There are several varieties with smaller leaves and either dark green or deep blue coloration.
The stubby, spreading tree is characterized by strong branching. Its branches are decorated with lanceolate leaf plates of deep green color.
Eucalyptus Lemon OZone autumn pruning and care