(since determined to be greatly exaggerated) told of a single specimen of E regnans that reached 480 feet tall. This would have eclipsed the now-acknowledged tallest tree, the California redwood, by more than 100 feet. Despite the exaggerations, E regnans, known as “mountain ash” in Australia, still retains the honor of being the world’s tallest hardwood, or broad-leaved deciduous tree.
Considering that most eucalyptus trees attain such incredibly lofty heights in their native homes, it comes as a surprise that they make great container plants, too. Virtually all species mature rapidly, with some reaching five to six feet in a single summer. A few will even grow up to 15 feet a year in their early development. You can grow most in pots if you cut them back annually (or at least every other year) in the spring. They’ll remain between four and eight feet high with pollarding, a pruning technique that involves cutting all growth on the main stem down to one or two feet. This will result in a bushy plant, retaining juvenile foliage. (You can also stool or coppice eucalypti, which means cutting the plants back to ground level each year, though pollarding is the preferred method.)
A Blue Gum to Call Your Own.
All eucalyptus trees grow readily from seed, and many make
fine additions to a garden or landscape. If you live in
a cold region, maintain your trees in a bushy form with
annual pruning, and provide winter mulch and additional
protection from wind. The most popular and widely planted
species of eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus or the Tasmanian
blue gum, is also one of the most hardy species (to about
zone 8, or even
6 Eucalyptus Choices for the Home
Known as “weeping Sally” in Australia, this lovely tree has a smooth, white bark decorated with scattered ribbons of gray-white. Quite hardy, it is heavily branched, fairly dense with foliage, and has a weeping habit. It grows 35- to 50-feet high.
E pauciflora, E niphophila, E debeuzevillei
Because they can survive temperatures as low as 20 degrees, these species are known as “snow gums.” All quite bushy, they only grow from 15 to 30 feet tall with dark-green leaves. Their bark sheds in irregular patches, leaving a smooth, mottled, white-and-light-gray surface.
Willow-leaved black peppermint eucalyptus has a weeping branch habit, a rounded crown, and a 30- to 40-foot height and width. The light-green foliage releases a delightful peppermint scent when crushed. This tree can survive to 25 degrees, and has a beautiful form.
Called “flaming gum” or “red flowering gum,” this type can attain heights to 25 feet, though the tree is only hardy to about 30 degrees. It has glossy, deep-green leaves that almost completely cover the tree’s branches. The main feature of this tree, the one-inch, pale- to deep-red flowers, will often appear even on larger container-grown plants. Both the flowers and the foliage work well in cut decorations.