Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila ‘Mount Bogong’
Why we like this species:
- A very exciting subspecies being more dwarf and compact than the type
- Small tree of open habit
- Can be grown as a multi-stem or single trunk
- Fantastic bark - excellent feature for your winter garden
- Good in a large patio pot or terrace planter
- Excellent choice for coastal planting
- Makes a good evergreen screen for cold, exposed locations.....I could go on!
Nursery notes: 2019 Autumn/Winter
Mature stock of 3 litre and 5 litre trees available now, but they have been very popular this autumn and will run out soon
12 litre and 20 litre standards available
45 litre stock is potted and growing on nicely - should be ready in Spring 2020 - let me know if you want to be put on the early warning list
100 litre stock ready again summer 2020
Please note that the smallest size of E pauciflora subsp. niphophila ‘Mount Bogong’ is a 3 litre pot.
Description, habit, uses and attributes:
One of the most hardy of Eucalyptus. The Eucalyptus pauciflora subspecies niphophila ‘Mount Bogong’ selection from Mount Bogong is a strongly growing, chunky subspecies with nice upright habit, but is estimated to be a good 5-8m smaller than other selections.
If you have stamina and appetite - see further notes on Snow Gums at the bottom of this page.
Like other snow gums, Eucalyptus pauci. subsp. niph. ‘Mount Bogong’ exhibits the flexible branches (initially adapted to shed snow), but which also usefully flex in strong winds - so they don't snap. However, you need to keep an eye on the way it grows in its formative years, as this flexibility can lead to a wonky stem and ultimately a leaning tree - so if it develops an archetectural lean, it is well worth installing a remote stake with a very soft tree tie (hessian or similar) to train an upright habit for the first year or two - just to give it the message!
Lignotuber: It has one - which is a good thing. E niphophila will regenerate from epicormic buds which lie dormant beneath the bark. The closer you move towards the root system, the closer together the buds are found and in greater number. These buds are triggered into life, when the upper branches of the canopy are removed, either by a forest fire or you with loppers. The harder you prune, the more buds will shoot and develop. 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.
How to use in the landscape and/or garden:
Good specimen tree for the wider landscape/for the smaller garden: reputed to be slower growing that the type, Eucalyptus p. ssp. niphophila ‘Mount Bogong’ gives fantastic value with all year round benefit for the smaller garden or landscape setting, where a small to moderately sized evergreen tree is required. Good bark detail offers first rate winter garden interest.
Multi-stem or standard: We think both are equally beautiful.
1) For a standard tree: nip back the last ½ cm of the shoot tips on the lower branches and encourage the leader to grow strongly and vertically. It may be necessary to remote stake the lower trunk to ensure an upright habit for the first couple of years if you have a windy location.
2) For a small bushy standard, cut out the top of the leading shoot, when the desired height is reach and prune thereafter in the spring (March 21st) and again in August (if required) to keep the crown compact. Otherwise just allow the tree to continue to do its own thing (see also notes at the very bottom of this page).
3) For a compact multi-stemmed bushy affair: you could allow an already naturally bushy young tree to develop with free spirit and the chances are it will continue with bushy habit. If you wish to exercise more control: allow your Eucalyptus p. ssp. niphophila ‘Mount Bogong’ to develop a trunk of around 50 mm (2 inches) in diameter at the base, then pruned down to around 450 mm in spring, removing all foliage. Size matters: the minimum of 2 inches is critical as this correlates directly to root mass and if this is not large enough, you tree will struggle to regenerate. Nothing will happen for 6-8 weeks, other than you partner/spouse/friends will laugh at you; after which time many buds will begin to shoot from the main trunk. To continue with a compact bushy crown thereafter, cut back the shoots in spring, either annually or every other year, by up to 500 mm, all over the tree. In very exposed windy locations, you can prune again (but more lightly) in August, to reduce the weight of foliage before the winter. This may be advisable in very exposed locations, with very young stock (up to 4 years old), to help alleviate root rock during winter gales. Once a good firm root system is established this will no longer be necessary. (see also notes at the very bottom of this page).
Hedge-Screens Windbreaks: Eucalyptus p. ssp. niphophila ‘Mount Bogong’ can also can be planted in rows (single or staggered double row) to create a windbreak screen. This is especially good news for coastal districts; because of its waxy cuticle, this Euc can cope with dessicating salt laden winds. If required, prune to keep in shape in the spring, by cutting back the branches to a bud. New shoots develop from stem axils and dormant epicormic buds beneath the bark.
Rural/Agricultural: good for game cover on windy, free draining ground; plant in groups with a tree spacing of around 4-5m apart.
Ecology: large flower clusters make Eucalyptus p. ssp. niphophila ‘Mount Bogong’ a worthwhile visit for Honey bees (and other pollinating insects) to collect high quality pollen and nectar.
Environmental: worth trialling on free draining slopes with poor quality soils.
Patio Pot Culture: Eucalyptus p. ssp. niphophila ‘Mount Bogong’ is a smaller, slower growing evergreen tree that tolerates dry conditions, so definitely worth cultivating in a large patio pot or planter. You will still have to water it to keep it alive! See our notes on growing in patio pots and also notes above on pruning for a multi-stemmed tree. Growing in a pot will reduce the tree’s potential to reach maximum height unless you administer an intravenous soup of dilute plant food.
Shoots 'n Leaves: Young shoots glaucous (covered in wax) to protect them against the harsh weather conditions.
Juvenile foliage: matt, french blue to olive green, ovate, 2.5–7.5 cm long, 2–3.5 cm wide.
Adult foliage: typical long spear shaped to sickle shaped Eucalyptus leaf about 5-10 cm long and 1.2 - 3 cm wide, in matt olive green to a deep French blue colour.
Bark: Outstanding! One of its best features. Striking smooth bark in chalk white to clotted cream with applique of seal grey, foxy red, olive green and copper pink shades; gently peels in the summer to reveal stunning new white bark beneath.
Flowers: held in groups of 9-15 (can be less), white and smell of honey, buds covered in white wax. The total group of flowers grows to about the size of a golf ball.
Leaf Aroma: typical Eucalyptus aroma when crushed, not overly strong.
Rate of Growth: Slow at 1m or less per year.
Height in maturity, if left unpruned: predicted to be in the region of 5-8m. Can be tip pruned in spring and summer to control shoot extension growth and if coppiced it will take on the size and shape of a species rose or coppiced Hazel tree, but with a spreading canopy. Given a mild climate and perfect soil conditions, this subspecies may grow taller, so it may be worth pruning every few years to control its overall height. Drier soils will restrict growth and reduce the liklihood of this tree becoming very tall.
Hardiness: -12 to -20°C
Planting Position and Soil Preference:
Open, sunny location in free draining or stoney ground. Tolerates extremes of temperature and weather: aggressive winds of exposed locations, severe cold in winter and intense summer heat. If you grow in a very arid region, give your young Eucalyptus p. ssp. niphophila ‘Mount Bogong’ three gallons of water every week, during the summer months for the first year of two, to become established (like any new tree).
Excellent coastal plant, because it can cope with salt laden winds.
Does not require high fertility, nor does it enjoy boggy conditions.
There is a superb specimen of Eucalyptus pauci. subsp. niphophila in the carpark at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, where it is growing on alkaline cotswold brash in exposed conditions, but free draining.
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 food and water directly into the tree roots, helping your new Euc establish faster and more efficiently, particularly in challenging types of soil.
Meaning of the Name
pauciflora: botanical latin pauci meaning few and florus meaning flowered, which is crazy, because the flowers are held in large groups of 9-15 !
subspecies niphophila: from the Greek niphophilos meaning snow-loving and refers to the tree's alpine habitat.
Cabbage Gum: apparently refers to the inflorescence in some way, but I am not entirely sure why, save that this illustrates why common names can be a bad (confusing) thing!
Notes on The Snow Gums:
Apologies in advance for duplication of some information above, but one doesn't know which bit people read!
This most hardy group of Eucalyptus consists of six main subspecies and within each subspecies there are further selections (just to keep us all on our toes). Each subspecies has their own differing personalities and growing environment requirements and they are of varying habit, shape and form. They all live across the alpine and subalpine regions of eastern Australia and belong to the 'blue-leaved ash' group of eucalypts; which means that they share certain leaf characteristics (alternate, pendulous, broadly ovate with petioles and bluish to glaucous juvenile foliage). The 'Ash' group like free draining soils. They differ from other ashes in that their adult leaves have parallel side-veins and they are a glossy green/olive green colour with lots of oil glands (fragrant).
Eucalyptus pauci. subsp. niphophila - the high-altitude snow loving sub-group of Snow gums distinguishes itself from other members of this small family by having more delicate buds on short stalks and generally smaller leaves, which have a thick texture and are usually semi-pendulous. The bark of Eucalyptus pauci. subsp. niphophila is smooth and thick textured. All of which has evolved to give this tree a tool kit of survival traits for living in a tough, cold and windy environment.
Growth habit: as a young tree they produce chunky (almost fleshy) branches, which are very flexible - designed to shed a load of snow which would otherwise freeze their leaves and branchlets. However, you need to keep an eye on the way it grows in its formative years, as this flexibility can lead to a wonky stem and ultimately a leaning tree - so if it develops an archetectural lean, it is well worth installing a remote stake with a very soft tree tie (hessian or similar) to keep it upright for the first year or two - just to give it the message.
Snows gums are very 'considered' in their growth; they take a year or two longer getting their roots systems established before shooting away up top and some forms of snow gum are very slow growing indeed such as Eucalyptus pauci. subsp. niphophila Mt Hotham.
Slow growing is a good habit and in Eucalyptus terms translates into 'not growing into a giant tree'! However it does mean that when they are coppiced by man with saw, damaged by a severe prolonged frost or chobbled by a passing deer, they will take a little longer to bounce back into growth, so a little patience and understanding is required on your part.
On the plus side,
• their flexible habit allows them to cope with aggressively windy weather
• their thick leaf cuticle tolerates the dessicating salt laden winds of the coast and prevents excessive moisture being stripped from the foliage - so great for coastal planting schemes
• they tolerate extremes of temperature: severe cold in winter and intense summer heat. If you grow in a very arid region, a young tree will benefit from extra water over the summer months.