Pacific Northwest Gardening forum: eucalyptus (silver dollar)

Views: 625, Replies: 10 » Jump to the end
Name: Ali
Key Peninsula, western WA (Zone 8b)
lohrn4
Jul 21, 2015 9:38 PM CST
I bought a eucalyptus on a nostalgic whim... and probably shouldn't have. I considered taking it back to the nursery but didn't. From what I've read so far I'm pretty sure it will grow in my zone (8b). I've got it in a pot right now as I haven't decided where to plant it and I might even bring it in this winter. The problem, as I see it, is this; left to its own devices it will get huge, I think. And the reason I'm saying I think is because it doesn't have one stalk but many branches. I've tried resesrching to find out what to do with it, cut off all the branches but one? And which one? They all seem to splay out, none grow vertically. I'm hoping someone will tell me I can keep it pruned and it will remain a bush instead of the giant it would like to be. I also hope someone has grown this beautiful plant here in Washington with success.
Thumb of 2015-07-22/lohrn4/662799


Thumb of 2015-07-22/lohrn4/913e41

Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
Image
Pistil
Jul 22, 2015 12:36 PM CST
My Mom had a Eucalyptus that looked a lot like yours, in Bellingham. It would grow up, but never with a single straight trunk, then every several years a cold winter would kill the top, and it would then resprout from the roots. This meant it never took over. I suspect you could therefore cut it back every few years, so it would grow as a shrub. Hers always looked rather straggly, and did not cast much shade. She really liked it because she could cut branches for flower arranging.
Name: Ali
Key Peninsula, western WA (Zone 8b)
lohrn4
Jul 22, 2015 2:22 PM CST
Thank you, Pistil, for that story, it's encouraging. I didn't think about all the branches when I bought it but when I planted it, then it dawned on me and I'm no expert at pruning. I think I'll bring it inside this winter and see what it does then I'll plant it in the spring.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Aug 3, 2015 12:02 PM CST
I tried one last year, kept it in a protected pot outside over the winter, and it died. Trying again this year, plan to keep it in a pot, but bring into the basement for the winter. If it survives, I'll likely put it into a pretty large pot so I can continue to monitor/protect it until it gets some girth to it. I'd really love to be able to bring in sprigs now and again, and harvest for herbal tonics and such. So far, mine looks the same as Ali's, kind of a low sprawler. If it survives a winter, I'll build or buy some sort of trellis.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Kate
Kirkland, WA (Zone 7b)
Image
Maukahound
Aug 3, 2015 11:24 PM CST
Ali, I've not grown them here. But I have done so in Hawaii. Like any other shrub, you will need to direct its growth according to siting & space. Are you planning to grow it primarily for the foliage? If so, formative pruning is a must and will result in a fuller, more shrublike shape. Prune to an outfacing branchlet, or you can prune them hard, even coppicing (taking it down to the ground), which tends to keep it within bounds.
Since this isn't Hawaii or California, its growth rate will most likely be considerably slower. If you are keeping it in a container, plan on providing ample protection over the next few winters. Timing the pruning is key as well. (In Hawaii, anytime; in California, late winter.) Here, I might wait until spring. But then, with our weather being hot, I would probably do it now. They grow fast, so you could get away with pruning immediately, assuming there's enough time for it to push new growth prior to first frost. (Whoa - "First frost" seems light years away!)
This timing business really depends on how much of a risk-taker you are.
I hope this helps!
Kate
Name: Ali
Key Peninsula, western WA (Zone 8b)
lohrn4
Aug 4, 2015 12:59 PM CST
Hi Kate! Thank you for your info. I am almost absolutely certain I would prefer it for its foliage rather than for its shade producing potential. I felt very sad cutting down an old cedar in my yard to get some much needed sun (with resulting wood, enough to last two decades, I think!). While the majority of my living quarters seem to have dungeon-like qualities, I do have a dedicated room for plants which includes lighting, a fan and humidifier. The phrase "formative pruning" intimidates me a bit as I suppose I would consider myself a clueless hacker, so when you say, prune to an outfacing branchlet, I don't really know what that means. Maybe prune the outer branches?

I thought I would keep it in a container, at least for this season, so I could bring it in this winter. I do have a rather uninteresting plastic pot that might be about 15 gallons that I could transfer it to sometime next year if need be. Or, if I finally figure out just the right spot for it in my yard, I'll put it out, in ground, so it can terrorize me!

That sounds about right, doncha think? Let it get its bearings? Looking at the picture though I'm pretty sure it has shrub potential but it'll never be a tree, right? I just don't "see" a branch that would grow upright even if I cut all the branches off but one. And it's OK with me if it is a shrub or bush, I'm just much more familiar with colossal trees having come from SoCal myself.
Name: Kate
Kirkland, WA (Zone 7b)
Image
Maukahound
Aug 4, 2015 4:39 PM CST
Ali,
Formative pruning is a term that is meant to describe pruning done on a plant in a juvenile state, so as to shape the plant. "Formative", because it provides you the opportunity to form the plant to a general shape you wish to achieve. Most folks grow these for the new foliage, so that's why I included coppicing as a method of pruning. However, mild pruning (heading each branch back to an outfacing "node" - away from the center of the plant), will cause it to sprout new growth in that direction. Conversely, you could just tip prune all of the branches by a few inches & observe its habit. If you want a full look, prune harder, but I'd wait until next spring. If you don't prune it, it will be more lax & lanky in habit.
Containerizing is a great idea, but perhaps only for the first 2-3 years. Understand that if it's outdoors in a container during winter, you will need to provide extra insulation as it will be above ground. Bringing the container into the house or garage, works well, though. It will eventually outgrow its container, so if you can figure out a great spot, plant it outside. It's a young one right now, so I would wait on planting outside.
Name: Ali
Key Peninsula, western WA (Zone 8b)
lohrn4
Aug 5, 2015 12:08 AM CST
Thank you, Kate, that is all good information and thank you for clarifying the pruning. That makes sense now. I will definitely bring the little guy in this winter (I wonder how old it really is?) and try to find him a good home next spring. Perhaps I'll figure out when to prune based on its growth. Thanks again!
Name: Kate
Kirkland, WA (Zone 7b)
Image
Maukahound
Aug 5, 2015 12:21 PM CST
Ali, I took another look at the photo you posted, I had thought your Euc was larger. Pruning: minimal, cutting all the branches to approximately the same length in early spring, perhaps mid-March 2016. At this point, you can go down to about 3-4 leaf sets above the base or higher. This will stimulate more growth. I posted the picture to demonstrate the branching habit.
Eucalyptus gunnii is hardier here, but not reliable. That said, it may only top-kill; new growth coinciding with the soil warming.

All this has made me decide to grow one to see how it performs. Sort of my own personal science experiment! I think yours will do well, in ground or container; I'm looking forward to seeing further pictures as it matures. Best regards!
Thumb of 2015-08-05/Maukahound/a37ebe

Name: Ali
Key Peninsula, western WA (Zone 8b)
lohrn4
Aug 10, 2015 8:44 PM CST
Thank you, Kate, that is all good information and thank you for clarifying the pruning. That makes sense now. I will definitely bring the little guy in this winter (I wonder how old it really is?) and try to find him a good home next spring. Perhaps I'll figure out when to prune based on its growth. Thanks again!
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Nov 8, 2015 6:57 PM CST
I pulled mine inside about a month ago and it is not doing well. All kind of crispy and dry, even though I watered it thoroughly when making the transition. My thought is it may be too warm in the house, or it might have been too drastic a change, or who knows what. I'll see if it perks up, but foresee getting another seedling next spring and trying yet again. Maybe it just needs to be protected (like in the barn) rather than coddled. The problem is I never remember about potted plants in the barn, and they end up as brown crispies by spring.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Pacific Northwest Gardening forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Paul2032 and is called "French Marigold"