How To Grow Eucalyptus Indoors - Backyard Boss
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How To Grow Eucalyptus Indoors

Best known for being a koalas favorite snack and most loved for its aromatic oil, eucalyptus is a member of the Myrtaceae family. There are more than 700 species known as gum trees. Blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus), or common eucalyptus, is the most widely planted in the world. But others, such as cider gum (Eucalyptus gunnii) and silver dollar tree (Eucalyptus cinerea) capture most of the Instagram and interior design moments.

Treated well, this houseplant can last for years. Just the scent is enough to make you want to try it. So, here is what you need to know to grow eucalyptus indoors and enjoy its health-boosting benefits anytime you like.

What You’ll Need

Eucalyptus plant. Preparing for repotting the plant
Image credits: ir_abella via Shutterstock

To grow eucalyptus indoors, you’ll need some materials first.

STEP 1: Choose the Right Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus Tree with Silver-green Leaves and Red Flowers
Image credit: Tatters via Openverse

First, choose a plant, not seeds; it’s quicker. Eucalyptus grows very quickly and some soar to 300 feet tall. At your garden center, choose a smaller variety as a houseplant because once planted, eucalyptus loathes being uprooted. (See Pro Tip.)

One of the best varieties to grow indoors is cider gum, also known as silver drop. As a potted plant, it grows just 12 to 18 inches annually, so it won’t take over your indoor space for years.

Other varieties to consider are silver dollar tree, yellow gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon), and the delightful varnished gum (Eucalyptus vernicosa).

STEP 2: Select Your Soil Mix

Handful of potting soil
Image credits: Alicia Christin Gerald via Unsplash

Eucalyptus plants can thrive in various soil mixes. But they do best in soil that is moderately to slightly acidic, about 5.0 to 6.5 pH. If you cannot find an acidic potting mix to buy, you can add sphagnum peat moss, sulfur, or iron sulfate to a regular potting soil mix.

STEP 3: Get Your Pot Ready

Pebbles Glossy Black and White
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Thoroughly clean the pot or planter that will house your eucalyptus plant. Fill it with a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water and let the pot sit for about 10 minutes. Empty the pot and rinse it. Scrub it with a mix of water and detergent, rinsing it thoroughly.

Now, add a layer of landscape fabric over the bottom. This will ensure that the drainage holes do not become clogged with soil.

Step 4: Repot the Eucalyptus

In the process of repotting Eucalyptus. Roots close up. Growing tropical plants indoor concept.
Image credits: Gheorghe Mindru via Shutterstock

Add enough soil to reach about 1/3 of the height of the pot. Remove the eucalyptus from its garden center pot and place it directly into the new pot. Be very careful not to disturb the roots.

The root crown should sit about 1 inch below the rim of the pot. Adjust the soil level accordingly. If possible, have someone else hold the plant for you or you hold it while someone else adds the soil. This will significantly reduce the risk of disturbing the roots.

Fill in with the remaining soil.

PRO TIP: If you live in zones 8 through 11 and intend to repot your eucalyptus outdoors in the future, use a biodegradable pot. This will prevent you from having to remove the pot from its container and disturbing its roots.

Step 5: Water the Eucalyptus

Water on Eucalyptus Leaf
Image credit: Manu_H via Pixabay

Using water, thoroughly water the plant until the water runs out of the drainage holes. Rainwater you have collected or spring water are the best options, but if you don’t have them, use room temperature water. If the soil settles too much, add more soil on top.

Step 6: Find the Right Spot

Sunny Window
Image credit: Max Vakhtbovych via Pexels

Place the pot with your eucalyptus plant in a location that gets between six and 10 hours of sunshine daily. In winter, a south-facing window is ideal. If the light is too low in the room, add some grow lights.

Step 7: Care for Your Eucalyptus Plant

Green Eucalyptus Leaves
Image credit: Stephanie Moody via Unsplash

You should water your eucalyptus once a week, allowing the top 1/3 of the soil to dry out between waterings. Feed the plant with a balanced, slow-release granular or liquid fertilizer about once a month in spring. Use half the recommended amount on the label.

To help maintain the plant’s shape, prune it frequently. Also, if you want a bushy plant instead of a tree, hard prune it down to just above the crown once a year. This practice, known as coppicing, should take place in summer, well after the last frost and before the next. Be sure to use sterilized shears.

After about two years, you will need to repot your eucalyptus tree.

Step 8: Protect Eucalyptus from Pests

Hand Holding Spray Bottle
Image credit: Squirrel_photos via Pixabay

Gum trees can be vulnerable to insects such as spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale. It can also succumb to diseases such as powdery mildew, leaf spot, botrytis, and root rot.

Watch for symptoms such as yellowing, wilting, deformed leaves, leaf drop, and poor growth. Use a horticultural spray specifically created to treat the infestation or disease that is affecting the plant. For instance, neem oil can help to eradicate spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs.

Also, one way to prevent diseases is to ensure you always use disinfected gardening tools when planting or pruning your eucalyptus plant.

Enjoy Eucalyptus Indoors, But Beware

Growing eucalyptus indoors can be very rewarding and, as these steps show, it’s super easy to get started. However, the plant is listed as toxic, so be careful about letting children and pets near it.

Have you tried growing eucalyptus indoors before? Share your experiences with us in the comments.