How to grow Eucalyptus from seed

Article based on text from Reader's Digest Encyclopaedia of Plants and Flowers

Eucalyptus seed pods -
All Eucalyptus species can be grown from seed, however in the United Kingdom it is only worth considering propagating hardy strains that have already established in this country. Furthermore, and if it is possible, select seeds from parent plants growing in localities subject to similar or more severe frosts than are liable to occur at the proposed planting site.

Be aware that the small woody seed capsules will not mature until a year after flowering. With that in mind, collect one year old and older seed capsules at the normal flowering time and leave in a dry room to open. It will not be necessary to separate the seeds from the capsule.

Using deep 7-9 cm pots, sow the seeds in February onto a finely sieved compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Potting'. Press the seeds into the compost (do not bury) and cover with a thin layer of lime-free horticultural grit. Gently water in so as not to disturb the seeds then cover the pots under a sheet of glass or clear perspex. Cover with a single layer of newspaper to act as shading. Maintain a soil temperature of between 13-16 degrees Celsius if soil warming is available with a minimum air temperature of 4 degrees Celsius.

Eucalyptus seedlings -
The majority of Eucalyptus seeds will germinate within a couple of weeks, however Eucalyptus coccifera, niphophila and pauciflora will need to be subjected to cold stratification for between 6-8 weeds prior to immediate sowing.

Once the seedlings begin to emerge remove the coverings, soil heaters and move to a position of full light. Keep the compost moist at all times.

Once the seedlings have established their root systems they can be moved outside to a cold frame. Keep the lights open unless heavy or prolonged rain is forecasted. When the seedlings stems are strong enough a split cane should be place in the pot for support. Place the base of the cane 2-3 cm away from the stem to prevent damage to the root system. Sweet pea rings can be used for tying in to prevent damage to the stem.

Once the seedlings have reached approximately 30 cm tall they will be ready for planting out into their final position outside or repotting onto a large container using John Innes 'No 3 compost.
Main image - Toby Hudson licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

For related articles click onto the following links:

No comments: