Posted by Brent Wilson on 11/10/2017 to FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Though most people think of Eucalyptus as a tropical to subtropical tree that only grows in warmer climates, after decades of research, development and trials since the 1980's we are very happy to introduce the amazing Southern Eucs™, a collection of fast growing cold hardy Eucalyptus trees.
Development of the Southern Eucs began in 1997 when our friend, English botanist Angus Paxton Heeps of McDonough Georgia, realized that there was little winter temperature difference between the colder regions of the United States and native locations of many Eucalyptus species he had collected in his explorations. Through his development of these selections, over the years Angus continued to isolate the most cold hardy strains through test trials. The team at Southern Eucs carries on this legacy today with expanded explorations to find and test-trial all the varieties of eucalyptus trees that will thrive in colder regions of the United States. Needless to say, Angus would be very proud to see what has become of his years of patient dedication and work with Eucalyptus.
Meet the fine selections in the Southern Euc Collection...
USDA Zones: 6b-11
Named after Angus Heeps himself, Eucalyptus nicholii "Angus" is a more cold hardy selection of the Willow Leaf Peppermint Eucalyptus producing a large, rather broad-spreading, gracefully weeping, fine-leafed evergreen tree. The narrow elongated leaves are similar in appearance to those of the weeping willow tree, providing a very soft look. Juvenile foliage is hints of red maturing to blue-green. The leaves have a fresh peppermint scent and are a stand out in any arrangement. The attractive bark of the tree is fibrous brown with orange highlights. All grown up, Angus should reach about 30-50 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide, depending on local climate and pruning. Size is easy to control and this tree responds well to pruning. 'Angus' handles dry soil, is highly disease resistant, has formidably heat and drought tolerance, and has also proven to be more cold hardy than the species in our trials.
In Atlanta, GA Trials, eight Angus Eucalytpus trees reached 50' in height in ten years. In Western, NC, 10 mos. old trees that froze to the ground at -10 degrees F are growing vigorously from their base. Mature trees can suffer partial defoliation at 6 degrees. Most will respond within two years.
USDA Zones: 6b-11 Find Your Zone
Eucalyptus neglecta 'Big O' is quickly becoming one of the most popular eucalyptus in the United States. It was named "Big O" for its unique, large, rounded leaves. Juvenile foliage is vivid blue with red highlights, fragrant, and a stand out in any floral or dried flower arrangement. The juvenile leaves are large and round and on square stems, and usually persist for 7-15 years before any adult leaves are seen, which are elongated. In a cool, moist climate the foliage assumes a fabulous purplish hue. The bark is rough, fibrous and grey on the trunk, turning smooth grey and green above. Big O is highly rated for its cold hardiness. All grown up Big O could reach 20' in height with an equal spread.
Because of its seed provenance, 'Big O' can handle temperatures down to -10 F. In Atlanta, Georgia, 10 month old trees had minimal leaf damage and looked great after a brutal winter (2013/14) where temps reached 6 degrees. In Western, NC, 10 month old trees - that froze to the ground at -10 degrees - are growing vigorously from their base.
USDA Zones: 8a-11 (7?) Find Your Zone
Named for its vibrant blue foliage that is the choice for use in dried floral arrangements, the ‘Bluey’ Cold Hardy Eucalyptus is a smaller growing variety that has has demonstrated excellent cold hardiness in our Georgia USDA Zone 8a gardens, and hardiness improves with age. The fragrant, elliptic to oval shaped blue leaves, which turn more silver with age, are packed along the branches. The trunk and branches are silver-grey with olive, gold, and russet hues. A profuse bloomer with small white flowers. A standout small specimen tree or large shrub to 15 feet tall, Bluey fits in smaller garden spaces where larger growing Eucalyptus species won't fit. Left to grow natural, Bluey will add up to 24 inches in height. Responds well to pruning so can be kept to a smaller size for use in pots, planters and other containers that can be situated as a conversation piece on patios, decks and around other outdoor living spaces..
Note: In hot and humid climates, the Bluey Eucalyptus will appreciate some afternoon shade or filtered sun. In less humid climates full sun is fine.
In our trials thus far in McDonough, GA (Zone 8A), 2 year old Eucalyptus trees had minimal leaf damage and looked great following winters where temps reached 13 degrees.
USDA Zones: 6a-11 Find Your Zone
Named for the complexity and smoothness, Eucalyptus rubida 'Cab Sav' is an attractive large ornamental evergreen tree that is widely distributed throughout Australia's high country. It has smooth white peeling bark, often with some pinkish or salmon patches, especially in cool moist climates. Its small clusters of white flowers are highly sought after by honey bees. Abundant, juvenile foliage is a distinctive soft blue, spade shaped, fragrant and excellent in any floral or dried flower arrangement. It's bark is smooth throughout and white to burgundy to red-brown.
In McDonough, Georgia, a 10 month old tree had minimal leaf damage after a brutal winter (2013/2014) where temps reached 6 degrees. In Atlanta, Georgia a 10 month old tree froze to the ground in 5 degrees but has recovered nicely growing 5-7' in that same year.
USDA Zones: 7a-11
Monkeys would have a blast swinging from the branches that twist and turn on the ‘Funky Monkey’ Eucalyptus. The branch structure of older trees takes on an exotic looking growth habit with strikingly beautiful peeling bark. The trunks are smooth grey, green and brown with peeling bark that reveals pink patches of underbark. The small, attractive, fragrant dark grey-green juvenile leaves change over to small, narrow semi-pendulous as they mature, lining the semi-weeping branches. This is a great one for cutting and use in foliage or flower arrangements.
What we learned in Southern Euc Trials In McDonough, GA (zone 8A): 15 year old Eucalyptus trees had minimal leaf damage and looked great following winters where temps twice reached 6 degrees F. In Westerville, NC, where temperatures reached -10, this one is thriving as large shrubs and small, full trees.
USDA Zones: 7a-11
'Grace' is a cold hardy Eucalyptus named such for her graceful habit. More cold tolerant than the species, this beauty is one of the fastest growing in cultivation. Here in the Atlanta, Georgia area there is a specimen that has reached 20 feet in height from seed in two years! 'Grace' is disease resistant, long-lived, and highly rated for her cold hardiness. Size is easy to control and she responds well to pruning. All grown up she could reach 40 feet in height.
'Grace' produces round, stem-clasping, bluish-green juvenile leaves that mature to broad, lanceolate adult leaves. Elongated leaves and stems take on burgundy and purples in fall and winter. The attractive bark is a striking smooth powdery-white that sheds to reveal colorful yellow, grey, and orange patches. The bark is used by the Aborigines for face paint. It is often classified as its own species, E. elliptica. This species is native of New South Wales (Tomalla area) and Queensland..
In Atlanta, Georgia, 10 month old trees had minimal leaf damage and looked great after a brutal winter (2013/14) where temps reached 6 degrees. In Western, NC, 10 month old trees that froze to the ground at -10 degrees are growing vigorously from their base.
USDA Zones: 8a-11 (7?)
Having demonstrated excellent cold hardiness here in Georgia's USDA Zone 8a, we're excited to introduce the newest member to the Southern Euc Cold Hardy Eucalyptus family. Meet 'Jersey Girl': a stately beauty growing up to 60 feet tall and 30 feet or more wide with a straight trunk and an oak-like crown. After planting she'll grow rapidly to provide you cool shelter from the blazing hot sun in the heat of summer. If you don't want her as a large shade tree, she responds very well to pruning and can be cut back to the ground annually regrowing as a large shrub. Her cute, heart-shaped juvenile leaves, which become more elongated with age, are a soft green, and she produces clusters of attractive, white fuzzy flowers in summer. Her thick and fibrous bark is a grey-brown color and persistent on the trunk and the base of larger branches. On the upper branches and stems the bark is smooth and sheds in short ribbons. Highly adaptive, Jersey Girl grows well in most any type of soil, even fertile one's, which is uncommon with Eucalyptus.
In our growing trials in McDonough, GA (Zone 8A), five-year old trees have had no damage after being planted from small, 4 inch container. All five of the ‘Jersey Girls’ are over 12’ tall and thriving. Extended trials in other regions are showing even more cold hardiness.
USDA Zones: 7a-8b
Named for the Goddess of the Moon, 'Luna' is a cold hardy Eucalyptus that is hardy in USDA Zones 7 and 8, widely reported to handle temperatures below 0 F. That said, it is not the best selection for hot and humid climates below zone 8, much preferring a cooler and drier environment. Instead, Luna is the perfect selection for the Mid-Atlantic and Northern States. Perhaps the most attractive feature are the elliptical to oval shaped silvery-green fragrant leaves that completely encircle the stem, which appear as though the stem passes right through the center of the leaf! The leaves take on lavender and blue shades at times. Fuzzy, creamy white flowers appear in summer in clusters of three. The bark of this tree shred in ribbons to exposing a dull white to light grey surface accented by brown and green patches. All grown up, Luna will reach about 25 feet tall and 15 or so feet wide. That said, she responds well to and can be kept smaller with pruning. 'Luna' is real conversation starter in a pot, on a patio, or porch.
What we learned in Southern Euc Trials In McDonough, GA (Zone 8A), three year old Eucalyptus trees had minimal leaf damage and looked great following winters where temps twice reached the teens.
USDA Zones: 7a-11
Named for its lazy, weeping habit, 'Maggie' Eucalyptus is very easy to grow and will continuously reward you with its interesting bark, foliage and weeping habit. Its fragrant young leaves are vivid blue turning soft reds to purple in winter. Maggie's bark is a stunning deeply furrowed black. She will thrive in USDA Zones 7a through 11 and may survive colder zones with some protection, and is one of the most vigorous re-growers if frozen to the ground. A great choice for areas prone to wide swings in temperatures. Maggie could reach 30 to 40 feet tall, however is easy to maintain at much lower heights as she takes very well to pruning.
What we've learned in growing trials in McDonough, GA (zone 8A), our 3 year old Eucalyptus trees had minimal leaf damage and looked great following winters where temps twice reached 6°. In Westerville, NC trees, trees that had die back at -10; have regrown from their base to form large shrubs and small trees.
USDA Zones: 7a-11
'Mappa Tassie', named so for its leaf that's shaped like Tasmania, is esteemed as one of if not the most cold hardy of all Eucalyptus snow gum species. It is a patient growing, small to medium size tree that should be a featured ornamental in your landscape. The blue-green juvenile leaves are oval in shape and born on semi-pendulous stems that take on distinctive burgundy highlights. The large adult leaves - almost the size of the palm of your hand - are a glossy olive green. Small, white dandelion type flowers appear in late spring to early summer. The trunk is artistically contorted; its bark is smooth with patterned white, cream, green and grey patches, which sheds in ribbons from the stems and branches. At maturity, Mappa Tassie can achieve a height of around 20 to 30 feet (maybe 40 feet?), depending on local climate. Responds well to pruning so size is easy to control. "Mappa Tassie" is a Snow Gum that grows all over the alpine regions of Eastern Australia and is highly rated for its cold hardiness. Can be grown in a pot but might not be as cold hardy. The tree adapts well to any soil condition, is salt tolerant, and is disease resistant and long-lived.
In McDonough, Georgia, a 10 month old tree had minimal leaf damage after a brutal winter (2013/2014) when temperatures reached 6 degrees F. In Atlanta, GA a 10 month old tree froze to the ground in 5 degrees but has recovered nicely growing 5 to 7 feet in height in the same year.
USDA Zones: 7a-11
'Sheila' Eucalyptus is all girl with excellent cold hardiness (USDA Zone 7a) and an elegant beauty with some of the most attractive leaves, bark, flowers and form of all Eucalyptus. Her new shoots are crimson in color and leaves are heart shaped and lime green to sage green in color suffused with pink. Mature leaves become more an elongated spade shape, are deeper green, and have a fruity pineapple and balsam fragrance, which makes them excellent for use in floral arrangements. Profuse clusters of up to 15 buds open to very pretty, fuzzy, star shaped white flowers. Her slate grey bark overlaid with lime, moss and olive greens, with a hint of coffee and white patches is absolutely beautiful, peeling on the upper trunk and branches.
Growing up to 45 feet tall and 20 to 30 feet wide with a straight trunk and a dense, vase shape, oak-like crown, Sheila will provide shade during the hot summer. Sheila looks like a willow tree and also behaves like one, thriving in boggy lowlands in her native habitat, but will also tolerate somewhat drier conditions. She has a slower growth rate when young but after a few years will start to add 4 to 6 feet in height per year. That said, she responds very well to branch tip pruning so can be maintained as a smaller tree for use in smaller garden spaces and in pots that can be situated on the patio or around other outdoor living spaces. One of the few Eucalyptus that does well in part shade.
In Georgia USDA Zone 7B, 10 month old trees had minimal leaf damage and looked great after a winter where temps reached 5°F. In Western, NC (zone 6B) 10 month old trees that froze to the ground at minus 10°F regrew vigorously from the base.
Growing Eucalyptus In Containers
If you're in a USDA Zone where low winter temperatures drop below the low temperature threshold a specific variety will tolerate, Eucalyptus can be overwintered in an interior space when temperatures drop low.
Hope this information was helpful. Don't hesitate to contact us if you need more details or have any questions.
Plant Long & Prosper!
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