THERE are over 700 species of gum trees (Eucalypts and Corymbias) in Australia.
Many are tall, stately trees, suited to large spaces and public parks.
And there are also many beautiful little gum trees just right for the home garden. Australia’s nursery industry has come of age. No longer are Australian plants considered suitable only for ‘ the bush’.
Plant breeders have developed many pint-sized delights.
There are great choices of little gum trees with interesting bark and foliage, tidy growth habits with a “wow” factor. They look great in a native or mixed-species garden. Have you thought of growing a gum tree as an annual, a pot plant or a hedge?
They are a surprisingly common sight in Europe and North America.
Eucalyptus cinerea, planted at 1m centres, makes a lovely silvery hedge.
Eucalyptus caesia ssp. magna ( Silver Princess) is an established garden favourite, and its little sister, E.
caesia ssp. caesia has mini-ritchie bark and delicate pink blossoms.
A smaller version of Corymbia ficifolia (red flowering gum), now is available. It is grafted onto dwarf rootstock. It bears huge clusters of bright red or orange flowers around Christmastime.
E. torquata in a tub makes an attractive living Christmas tree.
For a pleasing, natural effect, mimic the differing heights of plants in the Australian landscape.
Cover the ground with tinies and tufties such as grasses and strappy-leaved plants and scramblers. This will discourage weeds and texturize the soil. A middle layer of shrubs could include croweas, callistemons, westringeas and correas.
To complete the natural look, and for height and dappled shade, plant one or more little gum trees.
Some of my favourites are Eucalyptus preissiana (yellow flowers), E. albopurpurea (spreading, multi-trunked, pink/purple blossom), E. rhodantha (silver foliage and bark, rose-pink blossom), E. websteriana (grey heartshaped leaves, clusters of creamy yellow blossom) and E. macrocarpa (a fascinating shrub, striking silver-grey foliage and enormous flowers and gumnuts).