When they hear the words “evergreen tree” many gardeners think of conifers, or perhaps trees like Holly with broad, dark-green leaves. Eucalyptus, or Gum-trees as they are known in their native Australia, is a third group which are evergreen, but usually have long, narrow leaves that hang down in a very characteristic way. These are fast-growing trees with large, strong trunks and are usually upright and cast a light shade because of the hanging leaves.
If you live in warm regions and are looking for a dramatic, colorful and unusual evergreen shade tree or ornamental tree, the Rainbow Eucalyptus is one that you should consider growing. This tree will easily grow 5 feet in a season or even more, so you will have a large tree in a very few years. It will reach 100 feet tall in time and up to 60 feet across, although it can be kept smaller by regular pruning.
Growing Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
Since the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree’s main feature is the bark, it should be grown as a specimen in the open or at the edge of other trees so that it can be seen and admired right to the ground. It is an excellent choice for planting beside a stream or pond as it will get all the water it needs and grow luxuriantly as well as reflecting its stunning trunk in the water to be enjoyed twice over.
Even if you do not live in a warm zone you can still grow this amazing tree and enjoy its special appearance. It can be grown in a pot and kept outdoors from zones 4-11 if you have a sheltered place to keep it during freezing weather. For a brief period this could be a garage or shed, but if you need to keep it indoors for longer periods it should be in a sunny, well-lit location in the house or in a greenhouse. It can be pruned as needed to keep it from growing too tall for its indoor location and it can also be grown as a large bonsai and a thick trunk developed, so as it show-off its bark features.
The Rainbow Eucalyptus grows at least 5 feet a year or even more if well-fertilized and watered. It needs regular watering to do well and although it will survive an overnight frost it should not be exposed to an extended freeze. A brief frost may damage young leaves but the tree will be fine. It is not drought tolerant, but it will grow well in wet areas that other trees cannot tolerate. It is generally not bothered by serious pests or diseases.
The trunk is thick and the bark is constantly shedding in large strips, revealing new color patterns of green, blue, grey, purple and shades of red. The leaves are 6 inches long, spear-shaped and greyish green in color. The flowers are small, white and in clusters. Flowering occurs at different times depending on the age of the tree and the local climate. The tree is attractive when in flower, covered with white fluffy clouds of bloom.
Choose a sunny location with plenty of room for your tree to develop. The soil should be rich and if possible in a damp spot. Dig a hole three times the width of the pot and add some organic material to the soil in the bottom of the hole and also to the soil you have removed. Place you tree in the center of the hole at the same depth as it was in the pot and replace most of the soil, firming it around the roots. Fill the hole with water and when it has drained away replace the rest of the soil. Always keep your Rainbow Eucalyptus well-watered. Well-established trees can withstand some dryness for short periods, but regular watering is important to keep your tree healthy and growing well.
To grow the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree in a container, use a standard potting soil. Choose a large pot and water well after planting. Feed regularly with liquid fertilizer and prune for size as necessary. Never allow your tree to become dry. Keep it indoors during periods of freezing temperatures.
History and Origins of the Rainbow Eucalyptus
The Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) is a native of the Island of Mindanao in the Phillipines and other islands southwards towards New Guinea. It has been introduced to Central America and also, in 1929, to Hawaii, where it is often seen for the first time by vacationers. It is unique in the Eucalyptus group for naturally growing outside Australia. Although the leaves do smell when crushed, the tree does not release the typical ‘eucalyptus’ smell into the air around it.
Rainbow Eucalyptus is a tall tree that can reach 250 feet in the tropics, but probably no more than 100 feet in subtropical areas. It can be grown in zones 10 and 11, so it will grow well in southern Florida, southern Texas and southern coastal California as well as in Hawaii and Puerto Rica. Even if you don’t live in such warm areas it can be grown in a pot and enjoyed anywhere.
Buying Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees at The Tree Center
The Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree is such a special plant that only the exact plant will have the right bark color and growth rate. So it must be produced directly from trees absolutely known to be right. Our trees are grown the correct way, from seeds carefully selected from these special trees. Not all seedlings are sturdy and only the strongest are chosen to grow into full-sized plants. However, these take longer to produce, so avoid cheaper trees that will only be a disappointment.
We sell only trees that are true to the original form and we have a wide range of sizes to give you the best plant for your purpose. However we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this tree may be limited. To avoid disappointment order now.