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Eucalyptus Companion Plants: 13 Planting Ideas for Success

Eucalyptus Companion Plants: 13 Planting Ideas for Success

There are only a few trees on Earth that can rival the visually stunning and varied eucalyptus species in terms of beauty.

Ranging from towering giants over 200 feet tall and 400 years old to small, elegant dwarf shrubs, all parts of the eucalyptus tree are sensational — twisting or straight trunks with carved lines; leaves with hues of turquoise, baby blue, green, or yellow; and the most delicate and exceptional flowers in brilliant reds, yellows, and whites.

While these trees are showpieces by themselves, many gardeners choose to plant companions to compliment different heights, textures, and colors in landscaping.

There are, however, a few important things to keep in mind when choosing companion plants for these trees.

The most important consideration should be that eucalyptus trees are ferocious feeders.

Most commonly found in Australia, these trees have adapted to harsh conditions and will take in as much water and as many nutrients as possible while expanding root systems to limit competition.

The toxicity of eucalyptus leaves dropped onto surrounding ground matters far less to companion plants than this.

The solution? Planting shallow-rooted plants and those that come from similar environments that will also thrive on little water or nutrients.

Simultaneous planting also helps to give each plant a chance to grow strong without excessive competition.

The list below will give you a great starting point in choosing suitable partners for your eucalyptus and have been selected for their qualities of color, texture, and varying height levels.

Because eucalyptus trees are evergreen and will provide a pleasing look to gardens year round, they can easily be paired with deciduous trees or annual plants.

1. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) 

Tender, new sprigs of rosemary growing on a healthy plant.

Rosemary is almost always an excellent contender for gardens facing water and nutrient shortages and is a classic look that requires virtually no maintenance.

Rosemary is also a valuable culinary and therapeutic herb.

  • Mature Size: Depending on variety, usually between 1 and 5 feet
  • Flowering: Spring or summer
  • Key Features: Bushy look with vertical, upright growth and fragrant leaves
  • Popular Varieties: Arp, Roman Beauty, common

2. Banksia (Banksia)

Various stages of flowers on the banksia plant of Australia.

This is native to the Australian landscape and naturally grows beneath eucalyptus trees, so it is an excellent choice for a companion plant.

The banksia is widely used for landscaping and boasts large, nectar flowers that are magnets for wildlife.

  • Mature Size: Usually around 7 feet 
  • Flowering: Autumn or winter
  • Key Features: Beautiful, large, golden conical flowers that turn into dense, woody seed pods
  • Popular Varieties: Hairpin, silver, coast banksia

3. Grevillea (Grevillea)

A bright-pink flower of the Grevillea plant.

These shrubs are great all-rounders. They exhibit architectural foliage; produce vibrant flowers ranging in yellows, oranges, and reds; are naturally suited to eucalyptus companion planting; and are excellent attractors for birds, bees, and beneficial insects.

Indigenous Australians even used the flowers to produce a sweet, fermented drink!

  • Mature Size: Usually around 4 to 7 feet tall
  • Flowering: Spring to summer
  • Key Features: Unusual, thick-pronged flowers
  • Popular Varieties: Canberra gem, Wilson’s, Victoria, woolly

4. Correa (Correa)

A pretty row of correa flowers dangling from the tree.

Another native of the Australian continent, this small shrub is well-suited to coastal areas and comes in flower colors varying from soft reds to ivory. Correas may be used for low hedging or garden borders.

  • Mature Size: Around 3 to 4 feet tall
  • Flowering: Late winter to spring
  • Key Features: Bronze-trimmed foliage with small, bell-like flowers
  • Popular Varieties: Salmon, dusky bells, ivory bells

5. Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla)

Flowers of the purple sage plant in full bloom.

This variety of salvia shares the same color palette as eucalyptus and tolerates the same conditions, therefore making for an aesthetic and logical pairing. 

  • Mature Size: 3 ½ to 5 feet tall
  • Flowering: Mid-spring to early summer
  • Key Features: Gray-green foliage with delicate, light-purple flowers
  • Popular Varieties: San Luis purple sage, purple sage, gray sage

6. Bottlebrush (Callistemon)

The striking red flowers on a large bottlebrush tree.

A well-known and prized landscaping plant, the bottlebrush ranges from small shrubs to medium-height trees, and all varieties exhibit wonderful red flowers that perfume the air with scents of honey. 

  • Mature Size: Between 4 to 20 feet tall
  • Flowering: Spring and early summer, some bottlebrush varieties may bloom twice a year
  • Key Features: Red, segmented flowers that resemble bottle brushes
  • Popular Varieties: White, green, Jeffers, Little John

7. Ice Plant (Delosperma)

Mounds of purple ice plants in full bloom growing on a hillside with large rocks.

These flowers belong to the succulent plant group and are well suited to the meager growing conditions that exist beneath eucalypt trees.

With 170 different varieties, there are many options available for flower shape, size, and color.

  • Mature Size: Around 1 foot high, plant spreads out over ground
  • Flowering: Summer through fall
  • Key Features: Thick, low foliage and an abundance of large, vibrant flowers
  • Popular Varieties: Fire Spinner, Orange Wonder

8. Bamboo (Bambusoideae)

Green-and-gold variegated dwarf bamboo.

Having long been used in landscaping and gardens of all sizes and types, bamboo lends itself exceptionally well to being grown beneath and around eucalyptus trees due to their hardiness and aesthetic versatility.

We have selected a handful of small to medium-sized varieties that are well-suited to grow around eucalyptus trees.

Just be careful when making your selection at a local nursery as many bamboo species can become invasive if not routinely maintained.

  • Mature Size: Ranging from 4 to 25 feet in height
  • Flowering: Does not usually flower
  • Key Features: Sleek, attractive upright stems that grow in clusters
  • Popular Varieties: Chinese Dwarf, Goldstripe, Fernleaf

9. Daylily (Hemerocallis)

A patch of yellow and orange daylilies with other flowers in background.

These are very popular and charming ornamental flowers and are great for gardeners who are seeking a more traditional look.

Daylilies are perennial and will come back year after year to bring color to gardens.

  • Mature Size: 8 inches to 5 feet high
  • Flowering: June and July
  • Key Features: Classic flower heads growing out of lush, green bushes
  • Popular Varieties: Common orange, Amur, Pardon Me, Black Friar, Stella D’Oro

10. Coast Tea Tree (Leptospermum)

Delicate, pretty white flowers of Leptospermum.

A great contender for gardens exposed to wind or for coastal sites, the coast tea tree is hardy and displays clusters of delicate white flowers that can be pruned without damage to plants.

The flowers are superb for dried displays.

  • Mature Size: Depending on site, between 4 and 8 feet tall
  • Flowering: Early spring
  • Key Features: Long branches covered in petite, white flowers
  • Popular Varieties: Horizontalis, slender tea tree

11. California Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia)

A close look at the foliage and blooms of California live oak.

If you are looking for a companion tree that grows to similar sizes and thrives in the same conditions as eucalyptus, then the California live oak is a good bet.

Heavy pruning can yield some smaller specimens and pleasing results.

  • Mature Size: 30 to 80 feet high
  • Flowering: Early to mid-spring
  • Key Features: A multitude of branches with small, dark-green, glossy foliage
  • Popular Varieties: Quercus agrifolia

12. Juniper (Juniperus)

Juniper communis with berries.

This is an unusual candidate, being native to the Northern Hemisphere and far removed from the natural habitat of most eucalyptus.

However, the juniper is so well suited as a companion to eucalyptus that we couldn’t resist!

The small varieties we have chosen have excellent drought-resistant properties and make for a beautiful textural contrast with their dark, evergreen needle leaves next to the slender, almond-shaped leaves of most eucalyptus.

  • Mature Size: 5 to 30 feet tall
  • Flowering: Spring with purple or blue berries forming during the summer
  • Key Features: Winding, twisting, and bending branches, trunks, and stems
  • Popular Varieties: Juniperus communis, Juniperus macrocarpa, Juniperus arizonica

13. Creeping Boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium)

Myoporum parvifolium with small white flowers.

Creeping Boobialla is a favorite when it comes to ground covers, and a single plant can spread over 10 feet in diameter.

This hardy coastal plant thrives in harsh conditions and will have no trouble making its home beneath the canopy of a eucalyptus tree of any variety.

  • Mature Size: Around 1 foot high, 10 feet in diameter
  • Flowering: Flowering usually takes place during late winter and early spring
  • Key Features: Dense, green matting that spreads vigorously
  • Popular Varieties: Coarse Pink, Fine Leaf Pink, Creeping Boobialla

Conclusion 

Because there are so many eucalyptus varieties, gardeners may have their work cut out for them, deciding on what textures, colors, shapes, and sizes they prefer in their garden with their exact eucalyptus.

The good news is that because the plants in this list all share suitable growing conditions as well as complimentary colors, there is no wrong combination you can make!