The genus Eucalyptus is large and diverse, with over 700 species. Many species never exhibit any of the problematic characteristics so commonly, and incorrectly, attributed to the entire genus. Drought-tolerant eucalypts from desert and mediterranean climates of Western Australia rarely grow larger than small trees or large shrubs, shed little, if any, bark, and seldom reproduce in cultivation; they do, however, offer large, brilliantly colored flowers and attractive foliage. These species are the focus of this article—those whose planting should be considered as appropriate as that of Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Protea, and Grevillea; they deserve an opportunity to enhance the gardens, parks, and public landscapes of the Western United States…
Recommended Smaller Eucalyptus
This non-comprehensive list of smaller Eucalyptus suitable for planting in Western gardens has been divided into distinct horticultural characteristics, although many of the species exhibit multiple characters. Those flagged with an asterisk (*) are featured in Matt Ritter’s article in the April 09 issue of Pacific Horticulture. Temperatures are provided to suggest the approximate hardiness range for those listed in the latest edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book.
Distinctly silver or otherwise interesting foliage:
silver-leafed mountain gum [15°-21°F]
Large, brightly colored flowers:
*Eucalyptus caesia subsp. magna
red-cap gum [23°-26°F]
red-flowering gum [25°-30°F]
coral gum [17°-22°F]
Ornate bark, fruit, or floral buds:
Faulconbridge mallee ash
tall sand mallee
gimlet gum [20°-25°F]
Salt River mallee [22°F]
Brenzel, Kathleen Norris. Sunset Western Garden Book. Menlo Park, CA: Sunset Publishing Corporation, 2007.
Brooker, Ian, and David Kleinig. Eucalyptus: An Illustrated Guide to Identification. Port Melbourne, Vic, Australia: Reed, 1996.
Citron, Joan, editor. Selected Plants for Southern California Gardens. Los Angeles: Southern California Horticultural Society, 2000.
Elliott, Gwen, and Rodger Elliott. The Kuranga Handbook of Australian Plants. Port Melbourne, Vic, Australia: Lothian Publishing Company Pty, Ltd, 1996.
Elliott, W Rodger. “Gems in the Genus Eucalyptus.” Pacific Horticulture 49, no 1 (Spring 1988): 20-26.
Elliott, W Rodger, and David L Jones. Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants, Volume 4. Port Melbourne, Vic, Australia: Lothian Publishing Company Pty, Ltd, 1992.
Gardner, Charles A. Eucalypts of Western Australia. Perth, WA, Australia: Western Australian Department of Agriculture, 1979
Holliday, Ivan. A Gardener’s Guide to Eucalypts. New York: Rigby, 1980
Molyneux, Bill, and Sue Forrester. The Austraflora Book of Australian Plants. South Yarra, Vic, Australia: Viking O’Neil, 1988.
Muller, Robert N, and J Robert Haller. Trees of Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 2005.
Sources of Seed and Plants
Australian Native Plants Nursery
Casitas Springs, CA 93001
Walk-in and mail order (plant list online)
Cal Poly Plant Conservatory
San Luis Obispo, CA
Haley Farms Nursery
10224 Mill Creek Road SE
Aumsille, OR 97325
Walk-in and mail order
Nindethana Seed Service
PO Box 2121
Albany, WA 6331
Mail order (plant list online)
UC Santa Cruz Arboretum
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Windmill Outback Nursery
4583 E Old Mountain Road
Louisa, VA 23093-2420
Mail order (plant list online)
Seeds and plants