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Eucalyptus gunnii or Cider Gum Eucalyptus
The cider gum eucalyptus tree is a very popular garden and landscape plant in UK gardens. Its architectural foliage gives year-round interest, and it has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit AGM. Native to Tasmania, eucalyptus gunnii is a quick-growing evergreen tree which will add an exotic air to your garden. When young, the tree puts out distinctive, rounded, silver-blue leaves. While it does have clusters of creamy white flowers in summer, it is most prized for its attractive juvenile leaves, both in the garden and in flower arrangements.
As the tree matures, the leaves will change to an elongated sickle shape with a bluish-green colour. The mature tree’s outer cream bark peels back, revealing a brown layer underneath, adding visual interest.
Reliably winter-hardy throughout most of the UK, eucalyptus gunnii can grow to a height of more than 12 meters and a spread of more than 8 metres in less than 20 years. This large and quick-growing evergreen needs a spacious spot to accommodate its mature size, but the preferred alternative for many gardeners is to coppice it to maintain continued growth of the juvenile foliage. In March or April, the trunk can be cut back to 15 to 45 cm in height, with all side branches removed, and by the end of the summer the new growth will be around a metre in height. If pollarded at a height of 1 to 2.5 metres, eucalyptus gunnii will grow into a dense canopy with mature foliage.
Tolerant of any soil type with a neutral or acid ph, eucalyptus gunnii will grow even in poorly-drained conditions. It should be placed in full sun, in a sheltered position. The cider gum eucalyptus tree has an extremely vigorous root system, which should be taken into account when planning a spot for it in your garden. It is best to plant a tree that you want to grow to its mature size away from walls, buildings and drains.
Placed in the middle of a lawn, a cider gum eucalyptus tree will create a striking focal point with its height and evergreen foliage. On a larger property eucalyptus gunnii is excellent as part of a windbreak, and can even be used as a source of firewood because of its quick growth rate.
A coppiced eucalyptus gunnii makes an excellent year-round screen for a patio or garden without growing to an unmanageable size. Specimens can also be confined to pots or containers and pruned regularly.