Also known as the blue gum tree, eucalyptus is an evergreen shrub that looks more like a tree. Eucalyptus produces pleasantly scented, blue-green foliage favorable to warm tropical to sub-tropical climates. In the U.S., eucalyptus is hardy to portions of zone 7. While zone 7b temperatures are suitable for eucalyptus, temperatures in zone 7a can drop to zero degrees Fahrenheit -- much too cold for the shrub to survive the winter.
Things You'll Need
- Tiller, spade or pitchfork
- Soil testing kit
- Agricultural lime/peat moss
- Soaker hose
Prepare a location for early spring or late fall planting -- just before the first or after the final winter frost. The first frost of zone 7 is usually between September 30 and October 30. The final frost of zone 7 winters falls between March 30 and April 30.
Work the soil to an 18 inch depth with a tiller, spade or pitchfork. Eucalyptus has a favored soil pH between 6.0 and 8.0. Since soil types vary throughout zone 7, you will need to test the soil to determine the pH.
Add a modifier to the soil if the pH is not within the desired range. The addition of agricultural lime will increase a soil pH below 6.0. Amending with peat moss will decrease a pH above 8.0. Add the required modifier to the broken soil according to the instructions printed on the manufacturer's label.
Plant a eucalyptus sapling in a hole that measures three times the diameter of its nursery container. The depth of the hole should match the height of the nursery container. Backfill the hole and pack the soil around the main branch of the eucalyptus sapling.
Wrap a soaker hose around the eucalyptus sapling and water heavily. Rain amounts vary depending on your zone 7 location. How much you will need to water the eucalyptus will depend on how often it rains. During the first growing season, the top 1 inch of soil should be moist at all times. After the first year, a more established root system will only require watering during droughts.
Tips & Warnings
- Pressing your finger into the soil will help to determine if its time to water. If the soil feels moist 1 inch down, the rain did its job and no supplemental watering is necessary.
- Little Rock, Arkansas, and Griffin, Georgia, lie within zone 7b, ideally located for growing eucalyptus.
- Eucalyptus roots suck up water from wherever they can get it. This heavy water consumption makes it nearly impossible to grow anything underneath the shrub's canopy. While this makes for weed-free soil, it also means that grass will not grow either. Spreading a layer of mulch around the main stem will make the planting area look less barren.
- Photo Credit Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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