Eucalyptus can appear grey, green, silver or azure in your garden depending on how the light falls and you can enjoy those colours all year long.
Eucalyptus leaves come in all shapes and sizes, but the best-known are those on which the round or oval leaves grow completely symmetrically around the stem. Those leaves spread a strong fresh scent which keeps insects away. The blue-grey film is produced by a layer of wax which reflects the light in a special way, making the leaves look silvery. The plant flowers after about four or five years with cream-coloured flowers; there are also varieties that flower red, but they’re not hardy. It is the unusual light colour of the leaves that make this a fantastic garden plant. Eucalyptus usually reaches a height of 1 to 3m, although some species can carry on up to 5m.
Evergreen with many faces
Eucalyptus is a member of the myrtle family and is native to Australia, where more than 600 different species grow making it the most common deciduous tree. The plant has been increasingly grown in Europe since midway through the 19th century. Eucalyptus does well here, particularly in areas where it does not freeze very hard, although there are also hardy species. If you place it on your balcony or terrace you should give the plant a large pot or container straightaway: Eucalyptus grows very quickly and needs the space.
The shrub’s slightly transparent crown is particularly beautiful: the wind can play with it, the light hits it differently all the time and you can partly see through it, which makes this plant very suitable for a garden which features partial concealment.
The name Eucalyptus comes from the Greek words ‘eu’ (beautiful) and ‘kalyptos’ (hat). It refers to the flowers, which consist of stamens and pistils which together resemble a hat.
Eucalyptus is a koala’s favourite food - they can munch on it all day.
In Australia the plant is known as ‘mythical, magical wood’ and is used for oil, gum, firewood, medicines and fuel.
You can pick leaves that no longer look good and pour hot water over them: instant aromatherapy.