November 21, 2022
Searles Gardening Team
Once they were all known as gum trees, now it is divided into Corymbia, Eucalyptus and Angophoras. The Corymbia family are mainly the ghost gums and bloodwood, one of the most popular gums in the garden. There are still many gum trees with Eucalyptus being part of their Latin name and some still refer to all gum trees as eucalyptus.
The beautiful flowering gum which is most prevalent for home gardens are the Corymbia hybrids and comes in a range of colours from vivid red to brilliant orange and soft pinks. These flowering gums are a smaller growing variety and range mainly from three metres to five metres. When a plant label gives a height, it is an average height, and the individual tree may grow smaller or larger than the label predicts. In the right conditions they will grow larger, but generally these flowering gums are still small enough for the average backyard.
The bird life and bees that the flowering gums attract makes the plant a worthy addition to your garden, but the flowers are truly magnificent and that is what initially draws people to plant them. Even the gumnuts are adorable and can be used for decoration or crafts, but note these are non-edible.
All gum trees do not tolerate having their roots disturbed and cannot be transplanted around the garden easily. When planting a potted specimen from a garden retailer do not tease the roots, as this can end them quickly. Make sure you buy a plant that is not root bound, with the roots wrapped around themselves in a pot, in a tight ball. A good specimen plant can be removed from the pot and planted straight into the garden using Searles Native Specialty Mix. Always plant them in a sunny, well drained position, giving them plenty of room to spread. Corymbias like a low phosphorus soil and fertiliser, so Searles Native Food will give your flowering gum the nutrients it needs without the phosphorus and is organic based.
The hybridized flowering gums are often grafted, like citrus trees you buy at the garden centre. The root stock or lower part of the tree is from a Corymbia that is hardy and suitable to the region, while the top part is called the scion. The scion is the part that flowers and dictates the colour of the flower and overall height of the plant. It is not possible to grow these plants by seed as it is not guaranteed to be the same as the scion. The grafted plants are always far more expensive as it is two plants grafted together, and grafting is a specialised talent.
Enjoy your dazzling flowering gum, remembering to water, and feed it regularly. Just because it is a native tree it still needs your love and attention to flourish. The adage that you don’t have to water or care for a native tree is not true and the effort you put into the selection, planting and maintenance of the tree will determine the quality of the tree later in life.