The Q&A Archives: Eucalyptus

Question: I have a three year old Eucalyptus tree, and would like to know hints for caring for this tree in the Charlotte climate - fertilizers, pruning, etc.

Answer: Eucalyptus is a large genera of many species including E. neglecta, E. nova-angelica, E. camphora, E. citriodora, and E. camaldulensis. Native to southeast Asia and Australia, these plants love full sun and a porous, well-drained soil.

Their hardiness would be a limiting factor for their use as a landscape plant in your area. They are marginally hardy to zone 8, and even in zone 8 they will suffer considerable winter damage in some years.

Eucalyptus grown as a houseplant require cool to mildly warm temperatures. Shoot for a range of 45-55F in the winter. They like bright light, some direct sun is beneficial. Water sparingly in the winter. From spring to fall try to not to let the soil dry out, but be careful not to overwater. Humidity is not important to this plant, you shouldn't need to mist it. Eucalyptus should be repotted in the spring every year. To keep growth in check, you can pinch out the new tip growth as needed. Outdoors, most eucalyptus are hardy to about 25-30 degrees F.

Eucalyptus doesn't generally need pruning or fertilizing. Pinch out the growing tips if you're trying to keep it small, but keep in mind that in its native habitat, a eucalyputs can grow upwards of 70' tall!

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