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Growing Native Plants - Information about Australa's Flora
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Eucalypts for Cold Climates

Northern Hemisphere Cultivation

There are some 800 species of Eucalyptus. The majority of these occur naturally in Australia with only a few species extending naturally into parts of Melanesia and the Philippines. Eucalyptus grow right across the Australian continent, from the arid to the cold sub-alpine regions. Today eucalypts are to be found growing in many parts of the world for their timber and horticultural appeal. This page lists some of those species suitable for growing in the colder regions of the world outside Australia and gives some discussion of their requirements. (The genus Eucalyptus is here interpreted in the broad sense, recognising that there is a move by some botanists to split this genus into several smaller genera.)

Whilst eucalypts are a generally adaptable group of plants there are a few points to note.

  • The coldest parts of Australia do not get as cold as some of the inhabited parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • One factor affecting eucalypt survival is temperature. Sudden severe frosts pose a great threat to survival.
  • Eucalypts require a period of hardening if they are to survive very low temperatures.
  • Whilst temperatures as low as -23°C have been withstood by eucalypts, this depends upon a number of factors including the species concerned, its provenance, duration of the hardening period and the age and general health of the tree.
  • Eucalypts need to planted in an open, sunny area if they are not to develop a lean as they seek the light.
  • Australian soils are generally low in nutrients. As such, heavy fertilising should be avoided.
  • Given the above, you need to be prepared for disappointment!

Here are a list of frost-hardy species that either have or may prove suitable for growing in some of the colder regions of Europe and North America. The descriptions detail how the plant would grow in Australia in its natural environment.

References in brackets after the plant name refer to sources and sometimes the minimum temperatures (°C) quoted in those sources.

Eucalyptus archeri Maiden & Blakely (R&I 110 - danger zone -12° to <-23°) (FoA 367)
Grows as a mallee or straggly tree to c. 9m high. Bark is usually smooth throughout and is white, grey or grey-green in colour. Adult leaves are lanceolate in shape and 5 - 8cm long and 1 - 2cm wide. It occurs on the central plateau of Tasmania among rock outcrops on high plateaus and mountain-tops. Commonly known as Alpine Cider Gum.

Eucalyptus camphora R.T. Baker (H 113)
Tree to 22m high. Bark smooth throughout, often with shed bark accumulating at the base of the trunk, grey to grey-brown to almost black. Adult leaves ovate to broadly lanceolate, 6 - 13cm long and 3.5 - 5cm wide. It occurs from near Wallangarra, Queensland to near Glen Innes, New South Wales, from Rylstone to the Megalong Valley, New South Wales and from the southern highlands of new South Wales to southern Victoria where it grows in valleys and swamps of mountainous regions in forest. Commonly known as Mountain Swamp Gum.

Eucalyptus coccifera Hook. f. (H 113) (R&I - 111 - danger zone -14° to -19°) (See EE pg.65)
Shrub or tree to 10m high. Bark is smooth throughout, white-grey, or yellow or pink. Adult leaves elliptic or lanceolate, 5 - 10cm long and 1 - 2cm wide. It occurs in the central plateau area of Tasmania where it grows on exposed mountain summits and rocky sites in alpine woodland. Commonly known as Tasmanian Snow Gum.

Eucalyptus dalrympleana Maiden subsp. dalrympleana (H 113) (R&T - 112 - danger zone -12° to -16°)
Tree to 40m high. Bark is smooth throughout and blotched white and grey to yellow-white, and sometimes with pink and green to olive. There is often an accumulation of shed bark at the base of the trunk. Adult leaves are narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate, 10 - 20cm long and 1.5 - 2.5cm wide. It occurs southwards from the central tablelands of New South Wales through the southern tablelands (including the Australian Alps) then westwards to The Grampians in Victoria as well as occurring in eastern Tasmania where it grows on upper slopes in mountain forests. Commonly known as Mountain Gum.

Eucalyptus delegatensis R.T.Baker subsp. delegatensis (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Tree to 40m usually although sometimes to 90m high. Bark fibrous, grey to brown on lower half of trunk, smooth and grey-white above, usually with insect scribbles. Adult leaves narrowly to broadly lanceolate, 10 - 22cm long and 1.5 - 4cm wide. It occurs from the Brindabella Range in the Australian Capital Territory southwards through New South Wales to near Melbourne in Victoria where it grows on the steeper slopes of the ranges. Commonly known as Alpine Ash.

Eucalyptus delegatensis subsp. tasmaniensis Boland
Tree to 40m usually although sometimes to 90m high. Bark fibrous, grey to brown on lower half of trunk, smooth and grey-white above, usually with insect scribbles. Adult leaves narrowly to broadly lanceolate, 5 - 17cm long and 1 - 3.5cm wide. It occurs in Tasmania in the central subalpine areas and on Maria Island on plateau edges. Commonly known as Alpine Ash.

Eucalyptus glaucescens Maiden & Blakely (R&I 117 - danger zone -12° to -19°) (FoA 366)
Grows as a tree to 45m high or as a mallee to 12m high. Bark is rough and fibrous and dark grey on the lower trunk of bigger trees and then smooth and green-grey above, or basically smooth all over on smaller trees and mallees. Adult leaves lanceolate in shape and 6 - 13cm long and 1 - 2cm wide. It occurs in south-eastern New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria on higher mountains and ranges. Commonly known as Tingiringi Gum.

Eucalyptus globulus Labill. subsp. globulus (R&I 118 - danger zone -6° to -10°)
Tree to 70m high. Bark is usually smooth, white to cream, yellow or grey with shed bark accumulating at the base of the trunk. Adult leaves narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate, 12 - 25cm long and 1.5 - 2cm wide. It occurs at Cape Otway and Wilsons Promontory in Victoria and widely in Tasmania where it grows on undulating country and in valleys in woodland, open forest and forest. Commonly known as Tasmanian Blue Gum.

Eucalyptus gregsoniana L.A.S. Johnson and Blaxell (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Mallee to 5m high. Bark smooth, white to light grey throughout. Adult leaves lanceolate, 7 - 11cm long and 1.5 - 2.5cm wide. Occurs in the Blue Mountains, Budawang Range and south of Braidwood in New South Wales where it grows on mountain tops in mallee and shrubland vegetation. Commonly known as Mallee Snow Gum.

Eucalyptus gunnii Hook. f. (H 114) (R&I 120 danger zone -12° to -23°) (See EE pg.65) (FoA 366)
Grows as a tree to 25m high. Bark is smooth all over (although there may sometimes be a c. 1m high 'stocking' of persistent flaky bark at the base of the trunk) and is white, grey or grey-green in colour. Adult leaves are elliptic or obovate to broadly lanceolate and 5 - 8cm long and 1 - 3cm wide. It occurs on the central plateau and near Hobart in Tasmania where it grows on poorly drained flats, valleys and plateaus. Commonly known as Cider Gum.

Eucalyptus kybeanensis Maiden & Cambage (R&I 121 - danger zone -10° to -16°)
Grows as a mallee to 4m high or more rarely as a tree to 20m high. Bark is smooth all over and is white, grey or grey-green in colour. Adult leaves are lanceolate and are 5 - 9cm long by 0.5 - 1.5cm wide. It occurs from southern New South Wales southwards to north-eastern Victoria where it grows on exposed high mountains and plateaus. Commonly known as Kybean Mallee Ash.

Eucalyptus lacrimans L.A.S.Johnson & K.D.Hill (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Grows as a tree to 15m high. Bark is smooth and white or grey in colour. Adult leaves are lanceolate and are 7 - 15cm long and 0.7 - 2cm wide. It occurs around Adaminaby in the south-eastern part of New South Wales where it grows on flat areas in grassy subalpine woodland. No common name recorded.

Eucalyptus mitchelliana Cambage (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Grows as a tree to 15m high. Bark is smooth and white to grey in colour. Adult leaves are lanceolate to narrowly-lanceolate and 7.5 - 13cm long by 0.5 - 1.5cm wide. It occurs only on the Mount Buffalo plateau in Victoria where it grows amongst granite outcrops. Commonly known as Mount Buffalo Sallee.

Eucalyptus moorei Maiden & Cambage (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Grows as a tree or more usually a mallee to 8m high. Bark is white or grey in colour. Adult leaves are narrowly lanceolate or lanceolate and 4 - 7cm long by 0.5 - 1cm wide. It occurs in the Gibraltar Range, the Blue Mountains and on the southern tablelands (particularly the Budawang Range) in New South Wales where it grows on exposed sandstone plateaus. No common name.

Eucalyptus neglecta Maiden (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Grows as a tree to 6m high. Bark is rough, fibrous and grey on the trunk and then smooth and grey or grey-green above. Adult leaves are lanceolate and 7 - 15cm long and 2.5 - 4cm wide. It occurs from Omeo to south of Bright in Victoria where it grows as an understorey tree along creeks at higher altitudes. Commonly known as Omeo Gum.

Eucalyptus nitens (Deane & Maiden) Maiden (H 114) (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Grows as a tree to 70m high usually although sometimes to 90m high. Bark is smooth all over and yellow-white or grey in colour although there may occasionally be some rough bark at the base of the trunk. Adult leaves are lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate and are 13 - 24cm long and 1.5 - 2.5cm wide. It occurs in New South Wales in areas around Dorrigo, Barrington tops and southwards from Tallaganda National Park to the central highlands of Victoria where it grows on slopes and mountain tops in tall open forest. Commonly known as Shining Gum.

Eucalyptus parvula L.A.S.Johnson & K.D.Hill (H 114 as parvifolia) (R&T 125 - danger zone -12° to -19°)
Grows as a tree to 15m high. Bark smooth grey, grey-green or sometimes with pinkish patches. Adult leaves lanceolate and 5 - 7cm long and 0.5 - 1cm wide. It occurs in the Countegany to Kybean area of south-eastern New South Wales where it grows in grassy woodland in damp areas. Commonly known as Small-leaved Gum.

Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. debeuzevillei (Maiden) L.A.S.Johnson & Blaxell (R&I 126 - danger zone -16° to <-23°)
Multi-stemmed shrub or a crooked tree to 9m high although sometimes to 18m high. Adult leaves lanceolate, 7.5 - 15cm long, 1.5 - 4.5cm wide. Occurs in a small area in the Brindabella Range, Australian Capital Territory, Jounama Peaks, New South Wales and at Falls Creek, Victoria where it grows on steep slopes, ridges and mountain tops. Commonly known as Jounama Snow Gum.

Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila (Maiden & Blakely) L.A.S.Johnson & Blaxell (H 114)
Grows as a tree or a mallee, usually to c. 5m high but occasionally reaching to 10m high. Bark is smooth and white, grey or red in colour. Adult leaves 5 - 8cm long and 1 - 2cm wide. Occurs in New South Wales and Victoria to the tree-line on high plateaus and mountain tops. Commonly known as Snow Gum.

Eucalyptus pauciflora Sieber ex Spreng. subsp pauciflora (H 114) (See EE pg.65)
Grows as a tree to 20m high. Bark is smooth and white to grey-white and usually with insect 'scribbles'. Adult leaves 7 - 16cm long and 1 - 3.5cm wide. Occurs in Queensland from just north of the border southwards through New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria to Mount Gambier in South Australia where it grows on the highest and coldest mountains and tablelands in woodland and forest. Commonly known as Snow Gum.

Eucalyptus perriniana F.Muell. ex Rodway (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Grows as a mallee to 6m high or as an untidy tree to 9m high. Bark is smooth and is bronze, grey or white-green in colour. Adult leaves are lanceolate and 8 - 13cm long and 1 - 2.5cm wide. It occurs south from the Tinderry Range in south-eastern New South Wales, an isolated occurrence in the Australian Capital Territory into the Dargo High Plains of Victoria as well as in central and eastern Tasmania where it grows subalpine woodland on plateaus and slopes. Commonly known as Spinning Gum.

Eucalyptus rodwayi R.T.Baker & H.G.Sm. (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Grows as a tree to 25m high. Bark is rough and fibrous, grey on trunk and larger branches, then smooth and white above. Adult leaves are lanceolate and 5 - 12cm long and 1 - 1.5cm wide. It occurs in Tasmania where it grows on the central plateau and eastwards to the coast in swampy areas in valleys. Commonly known as Swamp Peppermint.

Eucalyptus rubida H.Deane & Maiden (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Grows as a tree to 40m high. Bark is smooth throughout and is white to red or red-brown. Adult leaves are lanceolate to narrowly-lanceolate and are 9 - 15cm long and 1 - 2.5cm wide. It occurs from the northern tablelands of New South Wales southwards to eastern Victoria and also in eastern Tasmania and in and around the Mount Lofty Range in South Australia where it grows on tablelands, hills and slopes in woodland and open forest. Commonly known as Candlebark.

Eucalyptus stellulata Sieber ex DC. (See 'Hardy Eucs' website)
Tree to 15m high. Bark dark grey, grey-black or olive green in colour. Adult leaves elliptic to broadly lanceolate, 5 - 9cm long and 1.5 - 2.5cm wide. It occurs from near Wallangarra, New South Wales, through the Australian Capital Territory to near Melbourne, Victoria where it usually grows in open flat areas of the tablelands and mountains. Commonly known as Black Sallee.

Eucalyptus subcrenulata Maiden and Blakely (H114 as johnstonii)
Tree to 18m high. Bark smooth, grey to white or yellow-green in colour. Adult leaves lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, 6 - 10cm long and 1.5 - 2.5cm wide. It occurs in western and central Tasmania where it grows in mountainous areas on exposed ridges, plateaus and slopes in subalpine woodland. Commonly known as Tasmanian Alpine Yellow Gum.

Eucalyptus urnigera Hook. f. (H 114) (See EE pg.65)
Tree to 12m high. Bark smooth, white grey, grey-yellow or yellow brown. Adult leaves lanceolate or broadly lanceolate, 5 - 9cm long and 1.5 - 2.5cm wide. It occurs in south-eastern Tasmania where it grows on high mountains and plateaus in woodland. Commonly known as Urn Gum.

Eucalyptus vernicosa Hook. f. (H 114) (See EE pg.65)
A dwarf shrub to 1m high or a mallee to 3.5m high. Bark smooth and grey in colour. Adult leaves elliptic to ovate, 1.5 - 2.5cm long and 1 - 1.5cm wide. Occurs in the mountains of western Tasmania where it grows on steep exposed slopes and plateaus in low-growing shrub communities. Commonly known as Varnished Gum.

Eucalyptus viminalis Labill. subsp. viminalis (See EE pg.65)
Tree to 50m. Bark smooth throughout, white or yellow-white with shed bark at the base of the trunk or with rough bark on most of the trunk. Adult leaves 12 - 20cm long and 1 - 2cm wide. Occurs widely in the south-eastern mainland from south-eastern Queensland to Adelaide, South Australia and throughout Tasmania where it grows in a variety of situations from the coast through to the mountains in tall open forest. Commonly known as Manna Gum.

References

Hardy Eucs - Barclay, Ian - The Hardy Eucalyptus Page - website: http://www.angelfire.com/bc/eucalyptus/ seen in July 2003.

FTA - Boland, D.J., Brooker, M.I.H. et al (1984) Forest Trees of Australia 4th Ed, Thomas Nelson, Melbourne 687pp.

FoA - Chippendale, G.M. (1988). Eucalyptus, Angophora (Myrtaceae). Flora of Australia Vol. 19. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. 543pp.

H - Hilliers' Manual of Trees & Shrubs. Fourth edition. (1974). Hillier and Sons, Winchester, England. 576 pp.

R&I - Ross, T. and Irons, J. (1997). Australian Plants: A Guide to their Cultivation in Europe. 307pp.

EE - Zacharin, R.F. (1978). Emigrant Eucalypts: Gum Trees as Exotics. Melbourne University Press, Australia. 137pp.

Final Point

It should be noted that the Australian National Botanic Gardens have no experience with growing eucalypts in very cold parts of the world. Here in Canberra we rarely get below about -5°C. The information presented here has been sourced from the various references listed and our own personal experience of seeing the plants growing in their natural habitats. As such, if you would like to contribute any of your own experience or knowledge with growing eucalypts in very cold climates, we would be happy to hear from you!

 

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