A medium sized flowering tree belonging to the family Myrtaceae, Eucalyptus is native to Australia, Tasmania and nearby Islands. They are a fast-growing source of wood and the oil from the tree is used medicinally and as a natural insecticide. One of the varieties of Eucalyptus is the tallest flowering plant on earth.
You can grow it in a large container but since they grow quite fast, it's better to grow them in a garden. They do not require much attention after being established.
Eucalyptus can be grown in full sun or partial shade. However being a tropical tree, it'll grow best in full sun conditions. Plant it where it'll receive at least 6 to 7 hours of direct sun every day.
The plant has evergreen, lanceolate, glossy green leaves. Flowers can be white, cream or yellowish and have numerous stamens which give them a unique look. Fruits are small, cone-shaped, woody capsules. They are yellowish-brown in color. Flowering season is in mid-spring or mid-summer.
Eucalyptus will grow best in moderately moist soils. So water the plant at least once a week although the tree is fairly drought tolerant. After a few years of growth, the tree does not require frequent watering.
The tree can grow in a wide variety of soils including alluvial, sandy and gravelly soils. Soil pH should be acidic or neutral. Unlike most plants, Eucalyptus can tolerate saline soils too. Make the soil rich by adding in a lot of organic content like manure and compost. Also, add a layer of mulch to help maintain soil moisture.
The tree can grow up to 20m to 50m in height and about 2m in diameter.
Fertilize the plant is the growing season around mid-summer or mid-spring with a liquid fertilizer high in phosphorus and low in nitrogen content.
Sometimes beetles and other insects can infest the tree. Remove them manually as soon as you see them. You can also spray them off with water and follow up with organic insecticides.
The plant has medicinal benefits. Oil extracted from the leaves of the plant is used in relieving joint pain and muscle pain. It can be used directly or mixed with gels or balms. Steam of the oil relieves nasal congestion. The exudate of the plant is mixed with water and used to treat dysentery and irritable bowel syndrome.