Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a genus of over seven hundred species of flowering trees, shrubs or mallees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Along with several other genera in the tribe Eucalypteae, including Corymbia, they are commonly known as eucalypts.



Most species of Eucalyptus are native to Australia, and every state and territory has representative species. About three-quarters of Australian forests are eucalypt forests. Wildfire is a feature of the Australian landscape and many eucalypt species are adapted to fire, and resprout after fire or have seeds which survive fire. A few species are native to islands north of Australia and a smaller number are only found outside the continent.


Table of Contents


Height(Avg)

50-180 ft.(45.7-54.9 m)


Width-Circumference (Avg)

1.6-2.2 in.(4-5.5 cm)


Approximate pH

5.1–8.9


Types of Eucalyptus


The three main types of eucalyptus plants are mallee eucalyptus, marlock or moort eucalyptus and mallet types of eucalyptus.


Mallee Eucalyptus Tree Types


Eucalyptus shrubs have a recognizable growth habit called mallee. This type of eucalyptus shrub usually has multiple stems that grow from ground level. Usually, eucalyptus mallee grow up to 33 ft. (10 m) tall. Another identifying feature of mallee is their lignotuber—a swollen root visible just above the ground. This lignotuber protects the trees from fire and allows it to regrow quickly. The distinctive mallee growth of many eucalypt species is due to their regrowth after bush fires.


Marlock Eucalyptus Tree Varieties


It can be identify marlock eucalyptus trees by their oval, lime-colored leaves. Marlock trees have a small, single trunk with dense foliage that often reaches the ground. Marlock eucalyptus plants are small trees or large shrubs. The round-leaved moort (Eucalyptus platypus) is an example of a marlock eucalyptus.


Mallet Types of Eucalyptus Trees


Identify mallet eucalyptus trees by their single thin trunk and angled upward growing branches. These trees have a crown that spreads wide and leaves that grow in thickets. Examples of mallet eucalyptus trees are the red-spotted gum tree (Eucalyptus mannifera) and the sugar gum tree (Eucalyptus cladocalyx).


The most common varieties of eucalyptus trees:

  • Eucalyptus Rainbow (Eucalyptus deglupta)

  • Eucalyptus Baby Blue (Eucalyptus pulverulenta)

  • Eucalyptus Silver Drop (Eucalyptus gunnii)

  • Silver Princess Gum Tree (Eucalyptus caesia)

  • Lemon Eucalyptus Tree (Eucalyptus citriodora syn. Corymbia citriodora)

  • Silver Dollar Eucalyptus Tree (Eucalyptus cinerea)

  • Sugar Gum Tree (Eucalyptus cladocalyx)

  • Red Spotted Gum Tree (Eucalyptus mannifera)

  • Round Leaved Moort (Eucalyptus platypus)

  • Mountain Gum (Eucalyptus dalrympleana)

  • Snow Gum Tree (Eucalyptus pauciflora)

  • Tasmanian Snow Gum (Eucalyptus coccifera)

  • Spinning Gum Tree (Eucalyptus perriniana)


Planting Eucalyptus


When to Plant

When growing eucalyptus from seeds, start them indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the area’s projected last frost date in the spring. If have a nursery plant, transplant it into the garden in the spring after the danger of frost has passed.


Selecting a Planting Site

Choose a planting site that gets lots of sun and has soil with sharp drainage. Also, ensure that there is enough space to accommodate the tree’s full height and spread. Make sure no nearby trees or shrubs will block sunlight from a young eucalyptus plant. This plant also can be grown in containers as well as indoors when given enough light.


Spacing, Depth, and Support

If planting multiple eucalyptus trees, space them at least 8 feet apart. Plant them at the same depth they were in their nursery pot. These trees generally do not need any staking or other support structure on which to grow.


Eucalyptus Plant Care


Light

Eucalyptus likes a lot of light, so settle your plant somewhere in your landscape that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Likewise, eucalyptus plants grown indoors should be kept near a bright window, preferably one that faces south.


Soil

Eucalyptus can tolerate most soil types, but it needs soil with good drainage. For container plants, use a well-draining potting mix. A slightly acidic to neutral soil pH is best.


Water

Eucalyptus is somewhat drought-tolerant once it's established. However, it really doesn't like to be left dry for long periods, and doing so might cause it to drop leaves or branches. A good rule of thumb is to water when you can stick your finger into the soil and feel dryness at your fingertip. This often will amount to watering weekly if you haven't had rainfall, especially for container plants.


Temperature and Humidity

Eucalyptus prefers warm temperatures between roughly 65 and 75 degrees, and it likes a moderate humidity level. It cannot survive prolonged exposure to temperatures below 50 degrees. So if you're growing your plant in a container, bring it indoors if you expect chilly temperatures.


Fertilizer

If growing your plant in the ground, it typically won't need fertilizer. However, container plants will deplete their nutrients more quickly. So fertilize them with a low-nitrogen houseplant fertilizer throughout the growing season, following label instructions.


Common Pests


Eucalyptus is fairly free of any major pest or disease issues. But you might occasionally spot eucalyptus long-horned borers, especially on stressed plants. Holes in the bark, oozing sap, and foliage discoloration are signs of an infestation. Remove the infested area of the plant immediately, as insecticides are not effective against borers.

It is susceptible to diverse fungi causing damping-off, collar rot and leaf diseases. Attention to nursery hygiene and care not to over-water are preferable to chemical controls.


Benefits of Eucalyptus


  • Stuffy nose: A clinical study reported that inhaling eucalyptus oil for five minutes results in a cooling sensation and increased nasal airflow in people with upper respiratory tract infection.

  • Therapy for a reduced sense of smell: Eucalyptus oil plays a role in smell training. It helps in the speedy recovery of the sense of smell in people with dyssomnia. Taking a deep sniff of eucalyptus for 10 seconds twice daily for 12 weeks helps in about 30 percent of cases.

  • Role in insect bites: Eucalyptus oil can be applied to various spots on the body. This reduces the instances of bites due to mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. This, in turn, prevents the spread of malaria, tick-borne typhus and Lyme disease.

  • Arthritis pain: Eucalyptus is a major ingredient in Brazilian folk medicine. The available data suggest that essential oils from eucalyptus exerts pain-relieving effects through modifying brain action and blocking the pain-causing chemicals in the nerves. However, further investigation is needed. Eucalyptus is the main ingredient in some topical analgesic ointment. It soothes the painful joints and relieves the pain when applied directly. It is available in many forms, such as sprays, ointments or salves.

  • After surgery: A clinical study revealed that people who breathed in eucalyptus oil after a knee replacement surgery complained less of postoperative pain. 1,8-cineole in this has a numbing effect on nerves. Therefore, when you smell the oil, it lowers your blood pressure.

  • Relax and calming effect before surgery: Eucalyptus oil may soothe, calm and relax a person before their surgery. Studies have been conducted to measure the effect of essential oils (including eucalyptus) on anxious people who were about to undergo surgery. Before the surgery, these people smelled different essential oils for five minutes. The 1,8-cineole in eucalyptus oil appeared to be effective and useful for the entire procedure.

  • Dental and oral health: A study was conducted to compare a natural toothpaste containing eucalyptus with the standard toothpaste. Eucalyptus seemed to work well to lessen problems such as gingivitis (mild gum inflammation, swelling, and redness) and plaque (sticky, unhygienic coat on the teeth) buildup. Some chewing gums contain eucalyptus. Chewing these gums will keep dental plaque, gingivitis and dental bleeding away. Moreover, chewing sugar-free gum may stimulate your salivary glands to keep your mouth moist.

  • Cold sores treatment: Eucalyptus oil exerts beneficial effects against herpes simplex viral infection that causes cold sores in the mouth. Eucalyptus has superior antiviral properties than standard medication, such as acyclovir, as per a laboratory study. It locks down virus particles and may block them from entering the body cells. It can control viral spread by more than 96 percent.


Other Uses


Household Uses

  • Soaps and cleansers – Commonly found in household cleaners, eucalyptus offers a healthy aroma and strong cleansing abilities. It is often used in spas and saunas for both refreshment and cleansing purposes.

  • Spot and stain remover – There are companies that sell the oil for such purposes, claiming that it doesn’t leave a stain and removes tough stains such as gum and ink.

  • Carpet cleaner – In a less concentrated form than the spot remover, eucalyptus spray can be used as a natural carpet cleaner without drenching the carpet.

  • Doing laundry – Adding a teaspoon of oil to heavily soiled loads may clean and refresh them.

  • Garden spray – You can use this spray directly on the base of plants to keep pets away.


For Building


In Australia, eucalyptus trees are often used as timber for building. They are ideal as a building material because they grow very quickly and use does not result in deforestation. In countries where the tree is not a part of the natural habitat, growing eucalyptus has not been as successful. It can have a negative affect on the native flowers and plants, and doesn’t appear to grow near as well out of its own habitat. Californiadoes have a form of eucalyptus that is now also marketed for medicinal and household use.




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