How to grow Eucalyptus gunnii

Commonly known as the 'Cider Gum', Eucalyptus gunnii is arguably the best known, most widely cultivated and hardiest of all species within the genus Eucalyptus. At least it is in the United Kingdom where was first entered cultivation in 1853. Like the Canadian maple it produces a sweet sap, which when fermented resembles apple cider, hence the common name 'Cider gum'.

How to grow Eucalyptus gunnii
Native to both the planes and slopes of Tasmania's central plateau, it is a medium to large sized, evergreen tree which under favourable conditions can easily reach up to at least 12 metres in height with an approximate width of over 8 metres.

The juvenile foliage is rounded and coloured a striking silver-blue. As the plant matures the leaves change to a sage-green, sickle-shape. Although Eucalyptus gunnii makes for a handsome specimen tree, for suburban gardens is is best maintained as an annually stooled shrub to make the most of its outstanding, ornamental juvenile foliage. The smooth bark is pale-green or cream in colour, turning grey to grey-brown with age. Like most other eucalyptus, the bark on mature species will peel in attractive ribbons. White blooms appear in clusters of three in July and August.

Young specimens of Eucalyptus gunnii will require a sheltered position in full sun. It will perform best on loamy, slightly acidic soils, but has proven to be tolerant of both sandy and chalky soils. In poor soils dig in plenty of rich organic compost. Be aware that it does not tolerate very wet sites or waterlogged sites. During periods of drought additional watering will be required to prevent damage from environmental stress.

Eucalyptus gunnii received the Award of Merit in 1953 from the Royal Horticultural Society and then Award of Garden Merit in 1984.

Main image - Dr. K. D. Zinnert CC by-nc-sa 3.0
Centre image - Wouter Hagens - public domain

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