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Eucalyptus urnigera – The Urn Gum – 1 of 9 members of the glorious gunnii group


Eucalyptus urnigera is one of our personal favourites. In our opinion it is a more superior ornamental tree than the ubiquitous E. gunnii.  ‘Urni’s’ foliage and bark are more vibrant and it displays its tresses of foliage in a more attractive fashion.

Why we like this variety:

  • Fast growing into a handsome dense foliaged screening tree
  • Beautiful bark
  • Slimmer profile than its related species
  • Upright habit in formative years
  • Good hardy specimen tree


Sizes Quoted are the approximate height band of the tree above compost level, ie. the height of the tree once planted into the ground. Please note: Eucalyptus are living plants and can grow almost all year round, occasionally we may supply you with a plant that is slightly taller than your order. If this might cause you problems, please include a note with your order.

Click the dropdown below to view our different sizes & prices.



Eucalyptus urnigera – The Urn Gum – 1 of 9 members of the glorious gunnii group

Like its close relative Eucalyptus gunnii,  E. urnigera has both a blue/silver leaved form and a green leaved form; the silvery blue forms are considered to be more ornamental and are also possibly hardier.

Our trees are of the silvery blue form and have an elegant upright slender habit for the first 10 years or so, before producing a broadening canopy.

A rare subalpine species and a member of the large gunnii group, E. urnigera is of better form and rumoured to be less palatable to wildlife.

For more details on the benefits and attributes of this species – hop over to the next tab labelled ‘How to Use’.


Shoots ‘n Leaves: Young shoots are glaucous (covered in white wax), with a touch of purple bloom.

Juvenile Foliage: Beautiful silvery blue, rounded with pretty crinkley edges.

Adult Foliage: Oblong-ovate silvery blue and grey green in maturity, displayed in attractive tresses

Bark:  Silvery-white when young. Maturing to smooth, shredding mosaic of pearl grey, white, gold, salmon, olive & coffee.

Flowers: Very Pretty. White flowers with a pink flush held in groups of three or more, in April to May.

Leaf Aroma: Strong fruity menthol/Eucalyptus with a hint of Cinnamon – reminds me of Christmas.

Rate of Growth: Fast growing at 1.2-2m per year, depending on how much moisture is receives over the summer.

Height in maturity, if left unpruned:  a medium sized Eucalyptus – after many years (15-20 years) growing up to approximately 15m tall and approx. 7-10 m wide in the canopy, which can be controlled with sensible pruning on March 18th and again at the end of May.

Responds well to coppicing and pollarding, when done at the right time of year.  Unless you are growing for cut foliage, please refrain from voluntarily electing to prune your Eucalyptus from August through to February; it can kill it.

To receive monthly pruning and aftercare advice, sign up to our Gumnut Club – its free and you can unsubscribe at any time.  To subscribe – just call or ping us an email to [email protected]

Hardiness:  Generally very hardy, root-systems tolerating down to -14°C to -16°C when mature, on a good site.  Best not planted in a frost pocket.

Hardiness in Eucalyptus is governed by

  • Provenance of seed.  Our seed is sourced from frosty cold locations.
  • How it is grown. For example, high nitrogen levels reduces cold tolerance, whereas good potassium levels help improve cold tolerance.
  • Is the site sheltered or exposed?
  • The age of the tree – the older your tree, the hardier it will be.  Younger Eucs are more susceptible to frost damage.
  • How long it has been planted in the ground. The deeper you can encourage the rooting by digging a deep planting pit at the time of installation, the quicker your tree will establish and you will increase its ability to survive cold winters. See our planting notes for more details.

Additional information

Weight 4 kg
Dimensions 150 × 30 × 30 cm

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Planting Position and Soil

Eucalyptus urnigera – The Urn Gum


  • Sun: Enjoys full sun and open sky above. Avoid shade cast by other tall trees and buildings.
  • Soil type: Happy in a wide range of soils, but performs best on those which are acid to neutral and of average to good fertility. Will grow on free-draining soils and those of low fertility, but growth will be reduced.
  • Soil moisture levels: Tolerates intermittently poorly drained soil; grows well on our horrible yellow swampy wet clay soil at Grafton Nursery.
  • Environment: Good in exposed locations, once established


  • 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; they can also be found under the Help and Advice tab on this website.
  • Improve poor soils with our planting kit, at the time of planting.
  • To encourage deep rooting and therefore good stability, prepare a deep planting pit as per our instructions.
  • Ensure there is no competition from weeds or grass around the base of the young tree as this will seriously cramp its style and slow down establishment. Our research has found that grass around the trunks of newly planted Eucalypts can completely stop them from growing and may lead to failure
  • 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.

How to Use

Eucalyptus urnigera – The Urn Gum

How to use in the landscape and/or garden:

How to grow or train it to get the best out of it

Eucalyptus urnigera is a very handsome tree with a slim, elegant profile in its early and middle years, before the canopy broadens out in maturity.  Outstanding performance for growing both in large gardens and in parkland or pastures.

Fabulous Specimen Tree for the wider landscape, arboretum collection or avenue planting.

Growing a full-sized standard: planting the tree and running away is an option, but it won’t necessarily give you the best results.

We suggest you maintain a leading shoot and tip prune the lateral shoots to encourage bushiness.  Keep all the sides shoots as they are building up the strength of the main trunk.

  • To grow a large specimen, leave the tree to grow up naturally thereafter.
  • For a smaller tree, tip prune the leader when it reaches 1.2m, thereafter let the head develop. Then prune the tree every March 18th and end of May to keep your tree small and bushy.

For more, see our guidance notes for growing specimen Eucalyptus in our Help and Advice section.

For monthly emails on how and when to prune and care for your Eucalyptus, sign up to our Gumnut Club and we’ll send you the Bush Telegraph – it’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Growing shrub-on-a-stick clipped standard and also growing a multi-stemmed bush or tree: Eucalyptus urnigera is very apically dominant, making it different in habit to its E. gunnii cousins.  This means that ‘Urni’ is always very keen to establish a strong leading shoot and doesn’t really want to be grown or trained as a bushy shrub.

E urnigera will respond well to pollarding and coppicing, once it has attained a trunk of over 125mm.  When it grows back, it is very likely to produce only one or two shoots and unlikely to be bushy

REMEMBER: No grass, no weeds and a thick boring bark chip mulch, to a depth of 150 mm (6 inches) are essential to assist with good establishment. Our research trials have demonstrated that grass around the trunk of Eucalyptus prevent the trees from quickly establishing and can completely stop them from growing.

Growing in a container:  It is certainly possible to grow E urnigera in a container, but in our experience it doesnt want to produce a little blue bushy job for the patio, more a stately specimen to tower over your patio. This is fine provided you always grow it in an air-pot container for healthy, happy roots, and provide it with the necessary support to prevent it falling over in windy weather.

For information on how to successfully grow Eucs in pots, visit our Blog entitled ‘How to grow a Eucalyptus in a pot and keep it alive!’

Floral Art:  Eucalyptus urnigera is not on our regular ‘Cut foliage’ list, but we do have a couple of Flower Farmers trialling it for cutting, in their plantations, because they love the Christmassy aroma, and the look of the powdery blue foliage set against the white stems.

Firewood Production: Eucalyptus urnigera is good choice for growing biomass and firewood logs. Fast growing and robust, it coppices well and regrows with limited competing shoots.

Do give us a call on our nursery mobile 07307 413 052 if you would like to discuss growing firewood with one of our consultants


  • Good shade tree for livestock to stand under.   Eucalyptus provide a cool environment for horses, cattle, llamas, sheep to shelter from the sun on hot days, as the mass evaporation of water through the leaves creates a cool shady canopy beneath. Good choice for silvopasture.


  • Bees. All Eucalyptus produce flowers with nectar and pollen, but E. urnigera has particularly spectacular flowers in May time, making it a real draw for honey bees and other pollinators.
  • Habitat creation and Game Cover:  E. urnigera lends itself to providing good trouble-free habitat creation for taller wildlife and game cover, when planted in groups.  Birds enjoy roosting in Eucalyptus trees particularly in winter and Pheasants like rootling around underneath them.


  • Growing on the Coast There is a stand of urnigera  successfully growing close to the coast in Wadebridge, Cornwall. To make this work, we recommend that:
  1. you plant a smaller specimen (1 litre or 3 litre, around 1m-1.2m tall),
  2. encourage fast establishment in a deeply prepared planting pit (see our planting notes), to encourage deep rooting to grow an upright, stable tree.
  3. Staking will be required
  4. Newly planted trees will most likely require a wind break shelter for their first winter in the ground with you
  5. Zero grass or weeds during the period of establishment is non-negotiable!
  • Shelter Belts and Windbreaks – A Case Study urnigera can be grown to form a good evergreen windbreak when planted as a single species stand.  At Grafton Nursery, E urnigera is grown as an effective windbreak to provide shelter for our growing houses from up to 57 mph south-westerly gales.  It is planted in a double staggered row at 2m spacing. The trees are allowed to reach around 6-7m.  The tree rows are pollarded alternately in Spring every 4-5 years, to maintain continuity of shelter, and provide poles for rustic building projects and show stands! The logs also burn well.
  • Mixed Shelterbelts E urnigera can also be mixed in with other plant species provided care is taken to mitigate competition from other plants whilst the Eucalyptus is establishing, as they don’t compete well when young. We recommend that you establish the Eucalyptus for a year prior to planting additional species or in a mixed plant setting, you install an automatic irrigation system to ensure the Euc is receiving sufficient water.

We recommend:

  1. you plant a smaller specimen (less than 1.8m tall in a 1, 3 or 5 litre air-pot),
  2. encourage fast establishment in a deeply prepared planting pit (see our planting notes), to encourage deep rooting to grow an upright, stable tree
  3. Staking will be required
  4. In exposed locations, newly planted trees will very likely require a wind break shelter made from horticultural fleece, sailcloth or similar, for their first winter in the ground with you
  5. Zero grass or weeds during the period of establishment is non-negotiable!
  • Drying up wet soils E. urnigera  is not a swamp gum, but it is very at home in normal garden soils and also in moist soils, such as a draining clay, draining peaty/loamy soils and draining sandy loams. It must be remembered that Eucalyptus are not aquatic like a Mangrove, but several species tolerate flooding for up to 6 months of the year in their native lands.  This is a great species to help you regain the use of intermittently boggy ground.  Dry up wet ground that intermittently floods, gain remedial treatment for winter boggy ground or which suffers from outflow from a Septic tank system or unwanted intermittent seasonal ‘ponding’.  If you have un-usable winter-wet land, planting a group of swamp gums (see our swamp gum collection) will help towards draining an area of ground. The timber could possibly be harvested to yield a crop of firewood logs too, if coppiced every 6-8 years.
  • Please note: Timber harvested from areas suspected to be contaminated with sewage should never be burned, but could be used in rustic garden construction, bug hotel, bean poles, edging pathways & borders etc.
  • Sustainable Drainage Systems aka SUDS Needs trialling, but planted singly or in groups, urnigera  will most likely draw on drain water percolating into swales or similar. Coppice or pollard every few years if you need to control the overall height of the trees. Eucalyptus draw on ground water for twelve months of the year, unlike willows, which lie dormant for 5 months through the winter.
  • Case study E. urnigera  in our Grafton Nursery Windbreak is grown on a draining clay pH; soil depth 2.4m over alkaline mudstone, with a layer of glacial cobbles at around 1m. These trees successfully tolerate and process a considerable amount of rainwater draining down from the (often boggy) higher ground behind us and prevent the growing houses below from becoming waterlogged in periods of heavy rainfall.
  • Eucalypts grown on continually wet ground The overall height of Eucalypts, grown on continually wet soils in inhabited areas, needs to be considered (as with any tree species of great height), especially in areas subject to strong gales.  Selecting your tree with a radial root-system is vital and therefore only use Air-Pot grown or air-root-pruned stock.  Eucalypts grown in smooth-walled pots are a ticking-timebomb liability and we can speak from personal experience.  Encouraging deep rooting by following our planting recommendations is essential. In addition, it may be prudent to consider pollarding or coppicing after 8 years of growth, to control the height down to around 10m, to mitigate the risk of the trees being forced over in high winds. Once coppiced/pollarded, it is recommended to maintain overall height at 10m or less thereafter. This practice usually only needs carrying out once every 8 years or so.
  • Tolerant of cold and exposed growing environments inland urnigera will grow in open fields and pasture, once established.

We recommend

  1. you plant a smaller specimen (less than 1.8m tall in a 3 or 5 litre air-pot),
  2. encourage fast establishment in a deeply prepared planting pit (follow our planting advice), to encourage deep rooting to grow an upright, stable tree
  3. Staking will be required
  4. In exposed locations, newly planted trees will very likely require a wind break shelter made from horticultural fleece or sail cloth, for their first winter in the ground with you; this very much depends on the level of exposure
  5. Zero grass or weeds during the period of establishment is non-negotiable!
  • Tolerant of poor stony soils once established urnigera does not require a rich soil and can survive in poor, stony soils.   Tolerant of arid environments, poor stony dry soils once established. It is essential that your Euc. is given our recommended quantity of water for its first 2 growing seasons in your grounds, during its establishment phase before you abandon it to its fate.  The tree needs to establish a good, deep root system before it can survive in dry, challenging conditions (see our planting recommendations). 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. Growth on impoverished soils will always be reduced.

Nursery Notes and Trivia

Winter 2022 going into Spring 2023            

Good stocks of standard, single stemmed specimens in the following pot sizes

3 litre and 5 litre 2 year old stock

More mature and heavier stock in 9 litre (feathered) and 12 litre as standards

Older taller standards in 12 litre and 20 litre

Extra heavy-duty standards available in 30 litre


Botanical Name: Eucalyptus urnigera     MYRTACEÆ; Myrtle Family

Common Name: Urn Gum, Urn Pod Gum

Status: Evergreen Tree

Origin: the rocky slopes of south-eastern Tasmania

Lignotuber:  it has one, which is a good thing!  E. urnigera 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. urnigera will respond extremely well to both coppicing and pollarding practices, once large enough to tolerate it.

What is a lignotuber?  See our Blog post on the subject


Meaning of the name: from the latin Urna – water jar and  ger – bearing. Tree bearing urn shapes flower buds and fruits. Refers to the seed pods which look like little Greek urns – which is a defining characteristic of the species


Interesting Notes: It is also closely related to E. subcrenulata in habit and habitat, which means that they will both grow in similar conditions in the UK

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