El eucalyptus It must be, by far, the most hated tree: it has very invasive roots, it does not let anything grow underneath or around it, it is capable of impoverishing soils, ... well, with these qualities, no one considers putting one in their garden.
But the reality is that it has an unjustified bad reputation, caused by the lack of knowledge of humans who decided to plant specimens replacing the native flora, without thinking about the consequences. Also, do not forget that it has medicinal uses. Here is your file.
Table of Contents
- 1 Origin and characteristics of eucalyptus
- 2 What uses does it have?
- 3 Eucalyptus as an ornamental plant
Origin and characteristics of eucalyptus
Eucalyptus trees are evergreen trees or shrubs mainly from Australia and Ceuta. They belong to the genus Eucalyptus, which comprises about 700 species, which grow to heights of up to 150 meters, although the normal thing is that they stay in "only" 30 meters. The trunk is straight, with a light brown bark that comes off easily.
The leaves are of two types: the young ones are oval, but the mature ones are elongated. Both are grayish-green. The flowers are grouped in inflorescences, and are usually whitish.
- eucalyptus camaldulensis: known as red eucalyptus. It is native and the icon of Australia, especially of its hot deserts. It grows up to 60 meters in height, with a thick and spongy bark, of reddish, gray, greenish and whitish tones.
- Eucalyptus deglupta: known as rainbow eucalyptus, it is undoubtedly one of the species - if not the most - that attracts attention. It is native to New Britain, New Guinea, Seram, Sulawesi, and Mindanao. It grows to a height of 75m, with a multi-colored bark. See file.
- Eucalyptus gunniiKnown as Gunn's eucalyptus, gunni or cider eucalyptus, it is an endemic tree in Tasmania that reaches about 37m.
- Eucalyptus globulus: it is the common eucalyptus, white eucalyptus, or blue eucalyptus. Native to southeastern Australia and Tasmania, it is a tree that reaches 40 meters. See file.
What uses does it have?
Normally, in the blog's plant files we talk first about their care and then about their uses, but this time we will make an exception because it is eucalyptus, a plant that is usually looked at with bad eyes.
Medicinal uses of eucalyptus
What is of interest is the essential oil, which is extracted from the leaves. Is used as nasal decongestant, as well as for fight colds and similar illnesses. Today, it is easy to find pills, candies, syrups, etc. of these trees even in pharmacies.
In addition, it is also effective as a mosquito repellent.
Wood and paper industry
Being fast growing trees they are used a lot to make small furniture as well as paper.
Is it used to reforest?
Well, in my opinion… no. You have to think that, for example, in Spain they have been planting eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus in Galicia and the Cantabrian coast; and eucalyptus camaldulensis in the southwest of the peninsula) since the XNUMXth century. As we said at the beginning, These are plants that not only grow very fast, but also prevent others from growing alongside them. And that's not to mention that, if the conditions are right, the seeds germinate easily.
Apart from this, intensive plantations harm native flora and fauna, since it is known that in a monoculture there are a very low number of pollinators. Likewise, there are several studies, such as one published in Serralheiro & Madeira in 1994, which says that the soil is also affected, as it runs out of nutrients.
As if that were not enough, as the bark comes off in strips, in case of fire the fire spreads much faster.
Eucalyptus as an ornamental plant
Does everything we've said so far mean that eucalyptus should be banned or, at the very least, concentrated in small areas? Of course not. But you have to use common sense, especially if we would like to have one in the garden.
If that is your case, then we will tell you what your care is:
It has to be placed outside, in full sun. Keep in mind that its roots are very invasive, so plant it at a minimum distance of ten meters from walls, pipes, floors, etc.
- the garden: grows in all types of soils, except those that are permanently wet.
- Flower pot: it is not a plant to have in a pot, not forever. Anyway, if you want to grow it there for a while, you can use universal growing medium.
Water 3-4 times in summer, and every 4 or 5 days the rest of the year.
It is not necessary.
Remove dry, diseased, weak, or broken branches in late winter.
It multiplies by seeds in spring.
Most species of eucalyptus resist frosts between -3 and -5ºC, but there are some, like the E. pauciflora, E.globulus, E. gunnii y E. subcrenulata, which resist up to -10ºC and even up to -20ºC.
The most beautiful, in my opinion, the rainbow eucalyptus, can only be grown in warm climates, without frost.
What did you think of this tree? 🙂