The focus of this page is on growing Eucalyptus as ornamental landscape plants, in areas whose climates are colder than those usually associated with Eucalyptus. This would include such places as Britain, the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and other regions rated to USDA zone 8 or lower.
It has been a challenge for me to anticipate who my audience for this page is going to be. To those of you beginning gardeners out there, I hope you will forgive me for assuming a level of knowledge that is usually characteristic of more experienced gardeners. I wouldn't want to bore the more serious Eucalyptus enthusiast, and admittedly I probably do bore the people who are more knowledgeable than I.
Since this page is focused towards Eucalyptus as ornamental landscape plants,you will find little information here about things like growing Eucalyptus for timber, water usage of Eucalyptus, and growing Eucalyptus in the tropics. I welcome discussion of these subjects on the Hardy Eucalyptus Board, but please bear in mind that this is not my area of expertise, and I will probably not be able to answer your questions about these subjects myself.
Throughout this page I will refer to Eucalyptus collectively as "eucs" - it's a nice easy abbreviation.
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My experience with eucs
I live in western Washington State, USA, north of Olympia to be precise; and I have been growing eucs here for relatively few years. It all started when my good friend Joel Peach wanted a Eucalyptus tree. I told him they would never grow here, because they only grow in Australia and other warm places like California. Well, that's what I thought anyways. . . .but he got me interested enough that I did some research and found that maybe some were hardy enough to do all right here. So I bought an E. gunnii and E. perriniana from a local nurseryman who said they were hardy to 5°F. Today, Joel Peach has six Eucalyptus trees and I have a couple hundred! (At least he knows when to stop.)
Since I started growing eucs, we have had quite a long string of relatively mild winters (no temperatures below 18°F) and it was not until December 1998 that my eucs, many of them still small, and other eucs in the region were put to the test. Temperatures dropped to 0 - 18°F throughout western Washington, and many eucs around the region suffered varying degrees of damage, while some were unscathed. Prior to this, my understanding of euc hardiness was admittedly rather limited; and I now feel much more qualified in making accurate judgements on just what their limits are. We also had several windstorms in November 1998 that annihilated quite a few of my eucs, especially the ones that I planted too large--mostly older ones (I have since learned to plant small ones). Still, it was sad to lose so many big eucs without being able to find out how hardy they would have been in the freeze that was soon to come.
Not having been to Australia since my interest in eucs developed puts me at a great disadvantage. I do what I can from up here in Washington, but being at such a distance from euc country, in a region puts limitations on just how much I can claim to know. This also accounts for my lack of pictures of mature Eucalyptus specimens. Nearly all of the eucs in western Washington froze to the ground in a very severe freeze in December 1990, probably because they were not of a very cold-hardy provenance.