Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. niphophila - Alpine Snow Gum

Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. niphophila - Alpine Snow Gum


Eucalyptus pauciflora subspecies niphophila - Snow Gum

One of our most popular evergreen trees.  A slower growing Eucalyptus, very hardy and with the most beautiful bark detail. A splendid ornamental tree for high altitude or costal exposed locations and ordinary gardens. See also its sister tree E. pauci. niph. Mt Bogong

Call us on 0751 526 1511 for help in choosing your Eucalyptus.      


Why we like this variety:-

  • One of the most popular, easy and reliable Eucalyptus - exceptionally hardy
  • Excellent small Eucalyptus tree of open habit
  • Can be grown as a beautiful multi-stemmed tree
  • Fantastic white bark - excellent feature for your winter garden
  • Useful screening plant which tolerates cold, exposed and salty conditions


Botanical Name: Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila

Common Name:  Snow Gum, Gum-topped Bloodwood

Status: Evergreen Tree    MYRTACEÆ; Myrtle Family

Origin: Snowy ridge tops and Alpine Meadows of Australia

'niphophila' means 'snow lover'

The photograph of the large tree trunk is of a E. pauci. subsp. niphophila taken at the Cotswold Wildlife Park thriving in their carpark on Cotswold stony alkaline (limey) soil.


Nursery Notes 2020:  12 litre standards are fabulous with stout trunks and head forming nicely

Heavy duty, very sturdy 20 litre specimens with fat trunks available now

100 litre multi-stem bush available

Young 3 litre and 5 litre stock ready again Summer 2020

Description, habit,  uses and attributes:  E. pauciflora subsp. niphophila is the best known of the six 'pauciflora' sub-species; deemed to be one of the most hardy of all Eucalypts and moderately slow growing. After taking a  few years to establish, diligently putting down its roots, this snow gum will grow a little faster.  

Being highly ornamental with beautiful bark, it is a valuable addition to any winter garden plant grouping. Being tough and tolerant of difficult growing conditions it is useful as a large open evergreen screen (loose hedge) with attractive bark detail.   It can be planted out in farmland and used for wild life protection and game cover, where, for example, pine trees may be suffering from disease problems.  

Tolerant of exposed conditions and salty sea air, E. pauciflora subsp. niphophila is good for both high altitude planting and for windy and exposed locations.

I have read that 'in the wild it can be seen clinging to snowy ridgetops and in alpine meadows (and lining ski runs!)'. They are so hardy as to have even been introduced to Norway. We also know of someone growing them in Russia!

In their natural habitat, they grow in woodland settings, 1300-1800 m above sea level in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales; forming the altitudinal limit of the tree line. Very few of the lowland forms still remain, following land clearance.

The tree branches are flexible and bend under the loading of snow, which then shed rather than break.  If cut down by cold weather or fire, E. pauciflora subsp. niphophila regenerates from epicormic shoots growing out from beneath the bark. It also has a lignotuber (a woody doughnut like structure where the trunk meets the root plate), which will generate new growth if the tree is coppiced.

Shoots 'n Leaves: Young shoots shiny and bright gold, sometimes with scarlet bits; later becoming glaucous.   Juvenile foliage: french blue/grey, glaucous, ovate about 2.5-7.5cm long and 2-3.5cm wide.  Adult foliage: shades of french blue/grey to olive green, becoming glossy. Sickle shaped or elliptical, 5-10 cm long and 1.2-3 cm wide, thick texture with parallel veins


Bark: One of its best features - smooth striking bone white to cream; peeling bark in seal grey, foxy red, olive green, copper and cream, sheds in ribbons from main branches and the trunk.


Flowers: white and fluffy


Leaf Aroma: typical Eucalyptus


Rate of Growth: Slow for a Euc. at 1m or less per year


Height in maturity, if left unpruned:  The ultimate height of E. pauciflora subsp. niphophilacan vary. It depends upon the combination of the seed provenance (exactly where the seed came from)  and your garden's growing conditions.  It needs to be kept in mind that it is one of the slower growing species; producing a shorter tree when grown on a tough, exposed, free draining ridge as a screen.  This snow gum will be taller when cultivated in a warm, sheltered, well-irrigated garden with a free draining soil.  There are records that it can reach up to 10-12m as a single stemmed standard tree; shorter if coppiced and grown as a multi-stem.  Others have cited that it can grow between 10 - 15m and these trees may well have been grown from seeds of taller parental clones. Euclid (the most definitive work on Eucalyptus todate) states that E. pauciflora subsp. niphophila  will reach around 7m (about 20ft) in its harsh native environment.

Hardiness: Generally tolerating down to -18 to 20°C, exposed locations and salt laden winds, this is one of the hardiest of all Eucalyptus! Please note younger trees are less tolerant of frost and may suffer exposure damage in early years at low temperatures

Planting Position and Soil Preference: Anywhere in the UK with an open sunny location in free draining or stony ground. Irrigate well in its first two summers, if low rainfall, to ensure good establishment.  Tolerates windy exposed and also coastal conditions; being battered by salt-laden winds.  If planting directly on the coast, you may need to prune down a little for the first couple of years to establish a good, solid root system that won't rock in gales and thereafter you can let it grow freely.

Enjoys a moisture retentive soil, but does not insist upon it. Does not require high fertility, nor does it relish boggy conditions. E. pauciflora subsp. niphophila belongs to the blue-leaved ash group of Eucalypts (because of its botany!) and generally members of the 'ash' group do not like wet feet or rich soils.


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, the latter of which actively transport a 'soup' of food and water directly into the tree roots, helping your new Euc establish faster and more efficiently, particularly in challenging types of soil.


Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for offers and advice,

or subscribe to our YouTube Channel

  • Hardy Eucalyptus Facebook
  • Twitter Hardy Eucalyptus
  • YouTube Hardy Eucalyptus
  • Instagram


Grafton Nursery,


(not open to the public)

07307 413 052

Calls taken Mon-Sat 9am-5pm

©2020 by Grafton Nursery & Hardy Eucalyptus.