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Eucalyptus glaucescens (Tingiringi Gum)

Gum trees (Eucalyptus) march to a different drum. There are dozens of different species from all over Australia and we have distilled this list (there are probably 50 that would grow in Britain) into three. 1. Tall, broad, green and delicate leafed (Eucalyptus aggregata). 2. Tall, straight, narrow and silvery/blue leafed (this one) and 3. Smaller, multistemmed, sparse with beautiful bark and blue foliage (Eucalyptus debeuzevillei). They are famous for the speed of their growth but this is ONLY the case if they have plenty of space and no competition when they’re young and getting established. This, the Donald Trump of trees, when young, has enormous trouble competing with a bit of grass. Have you ever noticed how travelling by train is a great chance to see into thousands of back gardens? I once lost count of the number of thin miserable constipated Gum trees in back gardens between Horsham and Victoria. The symptoms are instantly recognisable and are easily cured by removing all other plants within a metre of the trunk. This is true with all plants – but particularly so with Gums. The other non-conformist trait is that you can’t grow it from cuttings – only seed. Normally, if we find a particularly fine example of any plant, we’d want to clone it – to produce lots more exactly the same. Occasionally this happens with Gum trees and the desire to clone it will be irresistible. We’ve tried and tried – even by micropropagation in our laboratory but to no avail. However, these come pretty true from seed and we always try to get seed from Australia that’s been gathered on the same trees in a particular area. This helps. They’re light sensitive and tend to grow away from other trees so the key is to either grow them on their own or surrounded by an equal amount of other trees in each direction. If possible. Sometimes they grow so fast that staking will not be enough – we’ve sometimes had to put guy wires up to support them for a few years. They’ll stand up on their own eventually. All gums will grow by the sea but you’ve got to give them time. The salt wind will take the top out and it will eventually be low and wide and dense – just as if you’d been up on a ladder and kept giving it a haircut.

Eucalyptus glaucescens grows straight, tall and narrow to about 60ft after 20 years. They’re the only Gum tree we do that has distinct juvenile and mature foliage. The mature is bluey-grey, hanging down and sickle shaped but the juvenile growth is round and silvery and is often used in flower arranging. In order to maintain an endless supply of juvenile (silvery) leaves, the tree needs to be stooled (or coppiced) every few years. They lend themselves to be grown in a grove – quite close together. A magnificent sight.

Drought resistance in plants (except in Cacti) is because the plant is so vigorous, it has the ability to find water where others may not. When first planted water like mad! It may need less water than others plants but its also a vigorous and therefore a thirsty plant. And remember to water the rootball, not just the surrounding soil. In a windy coastal garden, plant small, stake well and the plant will grow a short, fat trunk with stocky growth rather than a long leggy one. Any other questions, phone us for advice.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

Hardiness traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.