Eucalyptus Plant: Care, Growing Guide and Uses of the Leaves

Growing Eucalyptus Plant Indoors

Eucalyptus is a genus of ornamental plants with attractive aromatic leaves. Although eucalyptus trees are enormous, many eucalyptus plants can grow in pots and make stunning indoor houseplants. The round or lance-shaped eucalyptus leaves are useful for drying to create dried eucalyptus bunches to enhance your interior décor.

In this article, you’ll find out how to grow potted eucalyptus plants indoors and outdoors. Depending on your zone, you can also plant eucalyptus shrubs and trees in a sunny location. At the end of the article, you will learn about excellent ways to use eucalyptus leaves at home.

About Eucalyptus Plants

Eucalyptus plants are evergreen trees and shrubs in the genus Eucalyptus and family Myrtaceae. There are about 700 species of eucalyptus, many of which are also called gum trees. The distinctive citrusy aroma that the crushed eucalyptus leaves give off generally identifies eucalyptus plants. The leaf shape and bark type of eucalyptus plants vary from species to species.

Eucalyptus leaves contain large amounts of essential oils. The intense spicy scents and cooling effect are reasons why crushed eucalyptus leaves and eucalyptus oil are popular in aromatherapy.

The reason eucalyptus leaves are popular for interior design is their rounded, coin-like shape and blueish-gray color. Young eucalyptus plants generally have oval-shaped leaves. As eucalyptus plants grow, their aromatic leaves gradually become lanceolate-shaped. Eucalyptus leaves from young plants become crispy when dried.

Can Eucalyptus Grow Indoors?

Eucalyptus plants grow well indoors if they get plenty of sunlight. Potted eucalyptus plants are ideal for growing in containers as perennials or annuals. But it’s good to remember that eucalyptus plants are fast-growing trees, and some species can grow at a rate of up to 8 ft. (2 m) in one season.

Possibly after a year or two, the indoor eucalyptus tree will outgrow the room. You can then either remove the leafy branches to dry the leaves. Or you can grow a new indoor eucalyptus plant from a cutting or seedling.

How to Grow Eucalyptus Plants

Eucalyptus trees and shrubs grow in the ground, and they also grow in large pots or containers outdoors or indoors.

If you live in USDA zones 8 through 11, you can grow eucalyptus shrubs and trees in the ground or pots outdoors. The ideal temperature range for growing eucalyptus is 65°F to 71°F (18°C – 22°C). All you need to grow outdoor eucalyptus plants is to choose a sunny location.

If you live in colder climates, you can easily grow potted eucalyptus plants indoors. Take the pots outdoors in the summer. Then bring them back inside in the fall to protect the plant from the cold.

How to Grow Eucalyptus Plants Outdoors

To grow eucalyptus plants outdoors, choose a suitable pot and sunny location in your backyard. One vital growth aspect to keep in mind is how eucalyptus plants root systems develop. This factor can affect whether you should grow eucalyptus in the ground or pots.

How to grow eucalyptus plants in the ground

If you want to grow a perennial evergreen eucalyptus plant in the ground, it’s best to avoid growing it in a pot first. Choose a small juvenile plant, no more than 3 ft. (1 m) tall. Plant the eucalyptus tree or shrub in a sunny location, in well-draining soil, and shelter from the wind.

Growing a eucalyptus in your garden this way encourages strong root growth and a sturdy, healthy shrub or tree.

Growing eucalyptus plants outside in pots

Eucalyptus is an ideal container plant for gardens, patios, decks, or paved yards. To grow potted eucalyptus, choose a large round container to allow room for the eucalyptus roots to grow. Fill the container with a light, fertile well-draining potting mix that has two parts potting compost and one part perlite.

It is crucial to remember that after a few years, the eucalyptus plant will outgrow its container. Due to the way the roots grow in pots, it’s impossible to transplant a pot-bound eucalyptus to the ground. The roots will continue to grow spirally and won’t provide stability for a large tree.

Generally, you’ll need to discard the plant when it outgrows its space. However, you can harvest the ornamental branches and leaves to use for décor around your home.

How to Grow Eucalyptus Indoors

You can grow potted eucalyptus plants indoors but their rapid growth means the plants quickly outgrow rooms in a few seasons. However, during that time, you get to enjoy their beautiful aromatic leaves and foliage.

There are two options to grow an indoor eucalyptus plant:

  • Grow eucalyptus indoors in a regular, round container and discard the plant after a year or two.
  • Grow eucalyptus indoors in a cone-shaped Air-Pot to allow the roots to develop so that the potted plant can be replanted in the ground.

Here are some helpful tips on how to care for eucalyptus growing indoors.

Growing Potted Eucalyptus Indoors – Light

Eucalyptus plants growing indoors need plenty of light. Eucalyptus plants growing indoors require at least six hours of sunshine daily. Place a potted eucalyptus in the brightest, sunniest location in your home. A south- or west-facing window is ideal as the plant will receive the midday and evening sun.

It’s vital to make sure that the indoor temperature doesn’t get too hot. Although eucalyptus plants can survive temperatures over 90°F (over 30°C), optimal indoor growth is between 65°F and 71°F (18°C – 22°C).

Growing Eucalyptus Plant Indoors – Water

Water an indoor eucalyptus plant regularly during the growing season. The best way to water your plant is to wait until the top third of the potting mix is dry. Thoroughly drench the soil until water drains from the bottom. Only water eucalyptus plants as often as the top layer of soil dries.

Growing Eucalyptus Plant Indoors – Soil

Eucalyptus plants grow best indoors when grown in a rich, fertile, loose potting soil with excellent drainage. Make a soil mix for eucalyptus by mixing one part houseplant soil, one part peat moss, and one part perlite or coarse horticultural sand. This type of eucalyptus soil doesn’t retain too much moisture and has plenty of nutrients.

Peat moss is loose and airy and contains essential nutrients for healthy plant growth. Perlite is an excellent soil amendment to improve drainage and allow plenty of oxygen in the soil.

Other Care Requirements for Growing Eucalyptus Indoors

Apart from the three essential care factors for healthy eucalyptus plants—light, soil, and water—there are a few other things to keep in mind.

Here are some more handy tips for growing eucalyptus plants indoors:

Eucalyptus temperature and humidity

To keep eucalyptus plants thriving indoors, keep the indoor temperature warm—around 68°F to 71°F (20° – 22°C) is ideal. Eucalyptus plants have average humidity needs, so there’s no need to mist the leaves.

Eucalyptus fertilizer

Fertilize your potted eucalyptus plant weekly during the growing season – use a low nitrogen houseplant fertilizer. Extra “feeding” provides plenty of nutrients for the fast-growing eucalyptus houseplant. Look for a fertilizer that is high in potassium and low in nitrogen and phosphorus.

Remember to hold off fertilizing eucalyptus plants during the fall and winter.

Eucalyptus plant pruning

Indoor eucalyptus plant growth benefits from annual pruning. To encourage bushy growth, prune eucalyptus stems in the spring to thin out the foliage. You can also trim off taller stems to control the plant’s height. An established eucalyptus tree can withstand heavy pruning.

Repotting eucalyptus houseplants

Repot a eucalyptus plant every two or three years. To encourage more growth, transfer the eucalyptus plant to a pot one or two sizes larger than its current one. If you want to maintain its growth size, remove the eucalyptus plant from its pot and change the potting mix to refresh it.

What are The Best Eucalyptus Plants to Grow Indoors?

The best types of eucalyptus plants to grow indoors are the shrub or mallee eucalyptus plants. These plants don’t grow too tall, and it’s easier to prune them to control their growth rate, height, and shape.

Here are some of the best eucalyptus plants to grow indoors.

Silver Dollar Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus cinerea) Indoor Plant

Eucalyptus cinerea leaves flowers fruit

Eucalyptus cinerea leaves, flowers and fruit

Silver Dollar eucalyptus are ideal plants for growing indoors due to their attractive, decorative foliage. Silver Dollar eucalyptus has round or egg-shaped silvery leaves that grow on pairs on the stems. When crushed, the aromatic leaves give off a spicy, fresh aroma, characteristic of eucalyptus plants.

Silver Dollar eucalyptus plants are a popular variety to dry and used in dried floral arrangements.

Cedar Gum (Eucalyptus gunnii

Eucalyptus gunnii young and mature leaves

Eucalyptus gunnii young leaves are rounded (left) and become longer as they mature (right)

Cedar gum is a variety of eucalyptus tree that has attractive rounded silvery-blue leaves. The appealing leaves contrast nicely with the plant’s red stems. As with all species of eucalyptus, the leaves are incredibly fragrant. Cedar gum leaves are popular for drying and using in flower arrangements.

Lemon-Scented Gum (Eucalyptus citriodora or Corymbia citriodora)

Corymbia citriodora leaves and fruit

Eucalyptus citriodora mature leaves and fruit

The lemon-scented gum tree is a tall eucalyptus tree that also grows well in pots as a houseplant. This ornamental plant has egg-shaped leaves that are glossy green. As the plant grows, the leaves become lanceolate shaped. As its name suggests, this eucalyptus plant’s leaves give off a distinct lemony aroma when crushed.

What to Do with Eucalyptus Leaves

What to Do with Eucalyptus Leaves

Eucalyptus leaves can be used for flower arrangements to decorate your home

Eucalyptus is an attractive indoor plant that is prized for its unusual foliage. Because eucalyptus is a fast-growing plant that requires regular pruning, you’ll have plenty of branches and leaves to use.

What can you do with eucalyptus leaves? Here are a few ideas for using eucalyptus leaves:

Eucalyptus in the shower

Hang bunches of dried eucalyptus branches in your shower. Eucalyptus leaves are famous for their intense aromas thanks to the abundance of essential oils. Steam from your shower activates the eucalyptus oils, filling your bathroom with fresh eucalyptus scents.

Use dried eucalyptus stems in floral arrangements

Dry bunches of eucalyptus stems and place the leafy branches in vases for decoration.

Eucalyptus leaves for wedding décor

Attractive, aromatic eucalyptus leaves are ideal for non-floral wedding displays. The silvery-gray or bluish-green dried leaves complement contemporary designs and traditional wedding colors.

decorate your home with Eucalyptus leaves

How to Harvest Eucalyptus Leaves

Harvesting eucalyptus branches to use the stems and leaves for floral arrangements is easy. All you need to do is cut the eucalyptus branches to the required height. You can then dry the eucalyptus stems and use them for decoration, or trim off the leaves when they are dried.

Alternatively, you can pinch off leaves from the eucalyptus plant and leave them out to dry on paper towels. Some people use eucalyptus leaves for their scent in potpourri to perfume rooms. Others crush the dried leaves to use as a natural bug repellent.

How to Dry Eucalyptus Leaves

Drying eucalyptus leaves uses the same techniques to dry any type of plant. After harvesting the branches from the eucalyptus tree or shrub, make a small bunch of branches. Hang the eucalyptus branches upside down in a dry environment where there is plenty of air circulation for 2-3 weeks. Also, protect drying eucalyptus leaves from direct sunlight.

How to Preserve Eucalyptus Leaves

You can preserve eucalyptus leaves to use them in craft work. For this, you’ll need glycerin, a large jar, and boiling water. Mix one part glycerin with two parts boiling water. When the liquid has cooled, pour into a large glass jar. Stand the leafy eucalyptus branches in the liquid.

After two to six weeks, the leaves will change color and be ready for craft work.

Preserving eucalyptus leaves with the glycerin method makes them last for many months.

How Long Does Eucalyptus Cut Stem Last?

Eucalyptus stem cuttings last for a few days to a few weeks. You can place the cut branches in a vase of water to make the attractive aromatic foliage last longer. The best cuttings—and the ones that last the longest—are from young eucalyptus trees.

Where Can You Buy an Indoor Eucalyptus Plant?

Many garden stores sell small eucalyptus plants that are ready for planting in the ground or pots. Many online retailers sell small, rooted eucalyptus plants for growing indoors.

Alternatively, you can buy eucalyptus seeds to grow at home. However, growing eucalyptus plants from seed or cuttings can be tricky.

Discover the most beautiful types of eucalyptus trees and shrubs.

Related articles: