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Eucalyptus ficifolia, Red-flowered Gum

Eucalyptus ficifolia is native to Australia as are most other gum trees. It grows best on the western coast of the U.S. but would probably grow in other areas if provided with good soil drainage. It can be tried as a container plant in the North, wintered indoors. Foliage of Eucalyptus is aromatic, with frequent distinguishing differences between juvenile and mature leaves. Few plants grow well under Eucalyptus trees due to the high content of phenolic acid in the leaves. The leaves are extremely toxic to other plants. The acid literally drips from some leaves while they are still on the tree. Pollen is sticky and mixed with nectar so there is not as much allergy problems with this gum as with others because it does not get airborne easily.

These plants are currently used in western landscapes, not in Florida. It would be fun try this relatively small eucalyptus in Florida. Flowers can be red, pink, white or salmon when grown from seed. Choose a cultivar with desired flower color or purchase plants that have already flowered so you know the flower color. Prune only in winter or early spring to minimize longhorned beetle infestation. Eucalyptus are among those susceptible to summer branch drop according to surveys in California. Summer branch drop is a phenomena resulting in failure and breakage of large diameter branches typically on calm summer days.

Trees that are over irrigated can develop chlorosis. Treating the soil under the canopy with an iron chelate can help green the new foliage, but will not turn existing yellow foliage green.

Gum Photos

Red-flowered Gum Flowers

Red-flowered Gum in Flower

Red-flowered Gum Leaves

Red-flowered Gum Bark

Red-flowered Gum in Flower

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