Eucalyptus pulverulenta 'Baby Blue'
Beautiful blue foliage most widely used in floral art. Striking smaller, multi-branched evergreen tree. Good species for the smaller garden plot or grow in an air-pot on your terrace. One of our absolute favourite species - very versatile and with fabulous foliage:
- Small tree or bush for the smaller garden
- Very prunable, so can be kept under control easily
- Excellent for flower arranging, fresh cut and preserving in glycerine
Call us on 0751 526 1511 for assistance in choosing your Eucalyptus.
- Eucalyptus 'Baby Blue'
- MYRTACEÆ; Myrtle Family
- Common Name: Baby Blue, Silver-leaved Mountain Gum, Silver Gum, Powdered Gum (New South Wales)
- Status: Evergreen Tree
- Origin: An interesting history hailing from California, USA – see bottom of page for further details.
Nursery notes 2020: Spring/early Summer
- young 3 litre stock ready again now - bushing out nicely
- mature 3 litre pollards now 3 years stock and quite chunky. Ready again now. Ideal for anyone looking to get cut foliage end of 2020. Grown on for an extra year, pollarded in Spring 2020 and will be grown out again so that the trunk is fat with plenty of collateral.
- 12 litre standard stock - nice fat trunks. New stock available again late Summer 2020. Currently sold out
- 1 litre available in our cut foliage collections
Name: Eucalyptus pulvetulenta 'Baby Blue' is a selection of the standard E. pulverulenta.
It is sometimes called 'Little Boy Blue' or (even worse!) as a E. gunnii 'Little Boy Blue'. (See our blog post on the naming of names)
Description, habit, uses and attributes:
Very widely grown in Southern California, Mexico, Europe and Australasia, E ‘Baby Blue’ has long been a favourite of the cut-foliage industry with the stems being highly sought-after as freshly picked or dried for floral art. It is a naturally dwarf species, rarely exceeding 3m and can be grown as a clipped shrub.
With careful pruning, this can be trained into a nicely shaped bush; left to its own devices it can be described as having an ‘interesting architecture’.
This is a good variety for the smaller garden plot and could be grown in an air-pot on your terrace, but you need to follow the rules on growing Eucs. in pots.
Lignotuber: it has one, which is a good thing! E. ‘Baby Blue’ will regenerate off the lignotuber if cut down by man, beast or nature. It also produces many shoots from epicormic buds lying dormant beneath the bark higher up the tree; so E. ‘Baby Blue’ will respond extremely well to both coppicing and pollarding practices.
How to use in the landscape and/or garden:
How to grow or train it to get the best out of it:Growing shrub-onna-stick clipped standard for the smaller garden or courtyard: this is an opportunity to grow a Eucalyptus in a confined space and control its overall size. You can produce a small tree on a 1m – 1.2m tall trunk with a clean stem and a head of around 1.0-1.2m across, with an overall tree height of around 2m. This requires an annual pruning regime on March 18th (National Eucalyptus Day) and nipping out of newly produced stems. Growing a multi-stemmed bush or tree. E. ‘Baby Blue’ responds well to coppicing/pollarding and readily produces a multi-stemmed specimen.
Why would you want to do this? To create: - a tree with more body or ‘mass’ of branches and foliage for cutting Once grown back up to its full potential, it will now have several main trunks- an attractive multi-stemmed architectural tree, especially if it has exceptional bark Floral Art: E. ‘Baby Blue’ is one of the top three for floral art producing excellent cut foliage for Flower Farmers and floral art
Bees: All Eucalyptus produce flowers with nectar and pollen, but this species has particularly spectacular flowers making it a real draw for honey bees looking for winter foraging.
Chickens: The shredded foliage of E. ‘Baby Blue’ is excellent at keeping Chicken nest boxes and hen houses free of red mites, which detest the presence of Eucalyptol. I used to line our Chicken boxes with shredded leaves, strew the floor and pile up the spindly branches for the chickens to make nests. It was all great till the foxes moved into the next field!
Growing on the Coast: We have no experience of growing E. ‘Baby Blue’ in a coastal environment. I suspect it may do well when grown as a bushy shrub in milder coastal districts, when grown a mile or two inland of the sea, but this needs trialling. Do get in touch if you are giving this a go and let us know how you get on.
Tolerant of poor stony soils once established E. ‘Baby Blue’ does not require a rich soil and can survive in a free-draining environment. However, if growing for cut foliage under these conditions, adequate fertiliser and irrigation will be essential for a successful outcome. It is also important that your Euc. is given lots of water during its establishment phase, before you abandon it to its fate. The tree needs to establish a good root system before it can survive in these challenging conditions. No grass, no weeds and a thick bark chip mulch, to a depth of 150 mm (6 inches) are essential to assist with good establishment.
Pot Culture outdoors:
E. ‘Baby Blue’ can be successfully grown as a multi-stemmed shrub or as a standard in a container provided you are prepared to grow it permanently in an air-pot container, to pot on at the recommended intervals and to supply it with sufficient food and water during the growing season. If not watered enough, it becomes thin and spindly, dropping its lower leaves and then stop growing.
As a Houseplant in a Conservatory:
E. ‘Baby Blue’ can be grown in a conservatory with plenty of light and low humidity. If the air is too moist, it will suffer from oedema – swelling of the leaves.
Shoots ‘n Leaves: Very ornamental foliage. Young shoots are a soft violet with a white bloomJuvenile foliage - intense silvery blue. The young rounded leaves appear to ‘grasp’ the stem Adult foliage - indistinguishable from the juvenile foliage. Smaller than straight wild type species E. pulverulenta. Rounded glaucous/blue aromatic leaves crowded on stems
Bark: Blue when young. Smooth silvery grey, sometimes with olive, gold and russet tones.
Flowers: White fluffy flowers in profusion arranged in whorls around the stems, whilst still quite a young tree in mid Winter through to early Spring.
Leaf Aroma: Very strong typical fresh menthol Eucalyptus aroma
Rate of Growth: Slow growing at less than 1m per year
Height in maturity: If trained as a standard tree to grow upwards, it could reach approx. 3-4 m. Responds well to regular annual pruning to keep it small either as a bushy shrub or shrub-onna-stick. If maintained as a coppiced/pollarded specimen, it will take on the size and shape of a Pittosporum Forsythia shrub or coppiced Hazel tree.
Hardiness: Tolerating down to around -10 °C to -14 °C mark, once mature. Hardiness in Eucalyptus is governed by provenance of seed, how it is grown (i.e. high nitrogen levels reduces cold tolerance), age of the tree - the older your tree, the hardier it will be. Younger Eucs are more susceptible to frost damage.
Planting position and soil preference
Free draining soil in an open sunny aspect, surrounded by other shrubs to give it a little shelter. It enjoys a sheltered position – not that keen on exposed locations.Preferred Soil type any normal garden soil. Grows well for us on our alkaline boggy yellow clay at Grafton Nursery.To encourage deep rooting and therefore good stability, prepare a deep planting pit as per our instructions. If planting a large number for firewood or cut foliage, subsoiling may be a good practice to follow, especially if pastureland has previously been used by livestock.
For the best results, follow our planting and aftercare watering instructions; issued with every order.
Make life easier for you and your new tree: Plant with the mycorrhizal fungi product Rootgrow. Eucalyptus in particular have a special, lifelong relationship with their root fungi, which actively transport food and water directly into the tree roots, helping your new Euc establish faster and more efficiently, particularly in challenging types of soil.
Interesting notes: Seed of E. pulverulenta was recorded as being taken from Australia to the USA at around 1914. Sometime during the 1960’s the foliage grower Rod McLellan made the selection of ‘Baby Blue’ from a stand of dwarf form, wild strain E. pulverulenta and had it Trade Marked. By the 1990’s, some 400 hectares of ‘Baby Blue’ was being grown in Southern California alone. Since then ‘Baby Blue’ has spread from the USA to Mexico, Europe and back to Australasia. See www.taisucoamerica.com for Baby Blue on a massive scale.
Meaning of the name: ‘Baby Blue’ given as a name, I suspect, by its selector, because of it small neat blue foliage.