What Is Eucalyptus Pauciflora – How To Grow A Snow Gum Eucalyptus
By: Liz Baessler
A beautiful, showy tree native to Australia, the Snow Gum eucalyptus is a tough, easy-to-grow tree that produces lovely white flowers and grows in a wide variety of conditions. Keep reading to learn about Snow Gum eucalyptus care and how to grow a Snow Gum eucalyptus tree in the garden.
Eucalyptus Pauciflora Information
What is Eucalyptus pauciflora? The name pauciflora, which means “few flowers,” is actually a misnomer that can be traced back to some questionable botany in the 19th century. Pauciflora Snow Gum trees actually produce an abundance of attractive white flowers in the spring and early summer (October to January in their native Australia).
The trees are evergreen and hardy down to USDA zone 7. The leaves are long, glossy, and dark green. They contain oil glands that make them glisten in the sunlight in a very distinctive way. The bark is smooth in shades of white, gray, and occasionally red. The bark sheds, giving it an attractive mottled appearance in various colors.
Snow Gum eucalyptus trees vary in size, sometimes growing as tall as 20 feet (6 m.), but sometimes staying small and shrub-like at a mere 4 feet (1 m.).
How to Grow a Snow Gum Eucalyptus Tree
Growing Snow Gum eucalyptus is relatively easy. The trees grow well from seeds that come in the form of gum nuts.
They will tolerate a huge range of soils, performing well in clay, loam, and sand. They do prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. Like many eucalyptus trees, they are very drought tolerant and can recover well from fire damage.
Snow Gum eucalyptus do best in full sun, and in a spot that is somewhat sheltered from the wind. Because of the oil in them, the leaves have a very pleasant fragrance. They are, however, toxic, and should never be eaten.
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The true form of the species Eucalyptus pauciflora, some attest that Pauciflora Alpine Snow Gum is hardier than the various subspecies that are often grown throughout the Northwest. Trees grow rapidly when young and require full sun in well drained soils. Bark becomes an amazing mottled collage of grays, tans and olive green and is one of the most beautiful characteristics of this tree. Young trees may grow a bit horizontally for the first couple months to a year but it is best to not stake them up as this can lead to a weaker trunk later on. Cold hardiness increases with age and gargantuan specimens can be found throughout Portland. Looks great when planted with Ceanothus beneath it!
And check out what Oregon Live has to say about this gorgeous tree!
Latin Name: Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. pauciflora
Site and Soil: Pauciflora Alpine Snow Gum likes full sun and well-drained soil. Very drought tolerant once established and will need little to no supplemental watering during the summer season.
Rootstock Description: Self-rooted
Hardiness: Alpine Snow Gum is hardy to approx. 0º F.
Size at Maturity: 30 ft. in height by 15 ft. width
Bloom Time: Winter
Pests & Diseases: Eucalypts are not bothered by pests or diseases.
USDA Zone: 7
Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila (Snow gum) will reach a height of 8m and a spread of 4m after 25 years.
Architectural, Hedging/Screens, Low Maintenance, Specimen tree
Plant in neutral to slightly acidic soil with full sun and shelter when young. Ideal to plant the youngest available specimens in conditions as specified.
Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy (will tolerate most soil types)
Well-drained, Moist but well-drained
UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.
Pruning eucalyptus trees
Eucalyptus trees should be pruned in late winter or early spring. To create a multi-stemmed shrub with lots of big silvery young leaves, cut back all stems to 5cm (2in) above ground level, or to the previous year’s stubs. This is called coppicing and works best on young plants.
If you’re not trying to keep your eucalyptus tree small, simply remove any side shoots and dead or crossing branches. Large trees can be pollarded to stop them getting too big, but this is a job best left to professional tree surgeons.
Pay us a visit and choose the tree that’s right for you. Our friendly staff will be happy to help!