Eucalyptus is native to Australia and is a food source for koalas, but this plant has many varieties that can be successfully grown in North America.
Some varieties can be housed outside in Zones 8-11 and others do well as indoor plants. However, they do have some specific care requirements that make them prone to issues.
Why is my eucalyptus plant dying? The most common reasons your eucalyptus plant is dying are due to incorrect care. Inappropriate water levels, lighting, humidity, soil, temperature, and container can all kill a eucalyptus plant. In addition, the plants also need to be routinely monitored for pests and diseases.
The nice thing about eucalyptus is that they can look pretty rough, losing leaves and wilting, but still be alive.
You can check to see if your eucalyptus plant can be saved by gently bending a branch. Pliable branches that have green under the top layer of bark are still alive and the plant can be revived.
10 Reasons Your Eucalyptus Plant is Dying (& Solutions)
While numerous pests and diseases can affect the health of your eucalyptus plant, issues more commonly occur due to incorrect care.
These are the top reasons your plant is dying and solutions for how to bring your eucalyptus plant back to health.
Eucalyptus plants are drought tolerant and native to arid landscapes. However, they still need sufficient water, especially when housed in a pot.
The soil in a pot loses moisture faster than soil in the ground. One sign of insufficient water is losing leaves at the tips of the branches.
Water regularly. You should water your eucalyptus plant when the top two inches of soil are dry.
Depending on the location and environment of your plant, this could be as frequently as every couple of days in the summer.
In their natural environment, eucalyptus plants go through a cycle of wet and dry due to the heat and the rain.
Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues. One sign of overwatering is yellowing leaves.
House your eucalyptus plant in a pot that has drainage holes and well-draining soil.
You should only water your plant when the top two inches of soil are dry, and always allow all the excess water to drain from the pot.
When planted in the ground, eucalyptus plants should receive full sun. Due to potted eucalyptus drying out quicker, an outdoor potted plant should receive some shade during the harshest part of the day.
Indoors, a eucalyptus plant should receive as much bright, indirect light as possible (or direct sunlight when available). Losing leaves near the base of the branches is a sign of too little light.
Move your eucalyptus to a location where it receives adequate lighting.
If your home’s lighting conditions aren’t ideal, use a grow light, like this fully adjustable full-spectrum lamp with 1,000 LED bulbs.
Since eucalyptus plants come from a drier environment, they usually do not need additional humidity.
However, excessively dry locations may need added humidity to keep the leaves from drying out. The leaves on your eucalyptus plant may turn yellow if it is receiving too much humidity.
If housed indoors, move your plant to a less humid location. Kitchens and bathrooms should be avoided because they have naturally higher humidity.
Outside, move your potted eucalyptus plant away from other plants and any water features.
The most important feature of soil for a eucalyptus plant is that it is drains well to prevent excess water from sitting around the plant’s roots.
Additions such as clay or perlite can help increase the drainage and give the roots plenty of space to grow.
Use the correct potting mixture for your eucalyptus plant. It should be quick to drain and not densely packed.
Lack of Nutrients
Some varieties of eucalyptus are extremely heavy feeders. They require lots of nutrients for their extensive roots and plentiful foliage.
During the growing season, a balanced fertilizer should be applied at least once a month. Depending on your eucalyptus plant, this may need to be increased to every two weeks.
Fertilizer is not necessary during the winter when growth slows or stops.
Wrong Container Size
Compared to the size of the plant, the eucalyptus has large roots. These roots are designed support the height of tall trees that grow in the wild.
As a houseplant or an outdoor potted plant, this means that eucalyptus plants typically need larger pots than expected.
Repot your eucalyptus plant as often as necessary, which can be up to two times per year. You need to regularly check to see if the plant has become rootbound.
Exposure to Cold Temperatures
Outdoors, different varieties of eucalyptus plants can be grown in Zones 8-11 (hardy to 10℉). However, most eucalyptus varieties cannot handle any freezing temperatures.
Bring outdoor potted plants indoors during the winter. Most varieties can handle a frost but should be moved or protected during a freeze.
Be advised that a frost can cause a eucalyptus plant to drop its leaves, but they should grow back in the spring.
While the eucalyptus essential oil holds some abilities to deter pests, the plants still attract some unwanted insects occasionally.
These pests, such as beetle borers, beetles, whiteflies, and wasps, can cause damage to the foliage. In some cases, the damage is extensive enough to kill the plant.
When you first spot an infestation, treat your eucalyptus plant with neem oil (I use this certified organic neem) or wash it off with mild dish soap.
If the pests persist, use an insecticide treatment to kill the remaining pests.
The most common diseases for eucalyptus are fungal and bacterial rots, especially root rot. You will notice brown spots forming on the leaves or stems of the plant.
Root rot can be harder to diagnose because the initial damage happens below the surface of the soil.
Treat leaf or stem spot with a topical fungicide, like this ready-to-use spray with copper. It can be beneficial to remove any infected parts of the plant.
For root rot, remove the affected roots and repot the plant with fresh soil and a new pot. A fungicide can be applied to the remaining roots to prevent reinfection.
3 Key Tips for Growing Healthy Eucalyptus Plants
1. Provide the Right Environment
Your eucalyptus plant needs to receive plenty of sunlight, especially if it is housed indoors. The pot should be large enough for the large root ball, but not too large that it holds excess water in the soil.
2. Fast-Draining Soil
Overwatering is one of the most common causes of disease and death in eucalyptus plants.
In addition to an appropriate watering schedule, well-draining soil that drains properly will prevent the roots of the plant from sitting in water.
3. Appropriate Watering Schedule
It is more important to check the eucalyptus plant for watering than to follow a set schedule. Water when the top two inches of soil are dry.
Don’t miss out on my Complete Guide To Growing Eucalyptus Indoors! You’ll learn all the tips and care requirements needed as well as discover the best varieties for keeping indoors.
Why Are My Eucalyptus Leaves Curling?
Dryness due to underwatering is the reason your eucalyptus leaves are curling. However, too little humidity or transplant shock can also cause the plant to be too dry.
After repotting, the roots usually need time to adjust to the new soil. This delay causes the plant to not absorb enough water. Usually, transplant shock resolves itself within a couple of weeks.
Why Do Eucalyptus Trees Drop Leaves?
If housed outdoors, eucalyptus trees will drop their leaves after a hard frost. This will not kill the plant, and the leaves should regrow in the spring.
If your eucalyptus tree is dropping leaves in the summer, it is a sign of an advanced issue. Check your watering amount and light conditions, and see if the plant needs to be repotted.