Growing Eucalyptus Indoors Successfully: Here’s How

Eucalyptus is a well-known plant native to Australia and Southeast Asia.

Most people think of essential oils, koalas, or floral arrangements when they think of eucalyptus.

There are actually hundreds of varieties of eucalyptus that have different scents, leaves, and sizes. 

Can you grow eucalyptus indoors? While this sun-loving plant does best when planted outdoors in Zones 8-11, it is possible to grow eucalyptus indoors. You’ll need to place the plant in the sunniest location in your home and consider keeping it outdoors during the warmer months. Water consistently, and fertilize every 4-6 weeks.

In the wild, eucalyptus trees can grow to be over 300 feet tall, and shrubs can be over 30 feet tall.

Luckily, there are plenty of compact varieties that look lovely indoors and still add that relaxing aroma to the air.

This article will tell you everything you need to know to successfully grow eucalyptus indoors. 

Indoor Eucalyptus Care

You can purchase a eucalyptus plant from the nursery or grow your own from seeds or cuttings. Either way, the care will be the same.

Since these plants love sunlight, some people keep their eucalyptus indoors during the cold winters but move them outside as soon as the weather warms up so they can enjoy all that natural, bright sunshine.

How To Pot a Eucalyptus Tree

You want to choose a pot that is the appropriate size for your specific plant. A container too large will hold too much soil and excess moisture. 

Plant your eucalyptus in a well-draining potting soil. A houseplant mix works well, but if it is too dense, add a little perlite to aid in drainage. 

Eucalyptus Light Requirements

Eucalyptus plants love sunlight! They should be placed in a location that receives as much light as possible.

A great option is a south-facing window with a few hours of direct sunlight. If you do not have a sunny spot in your home, you can use grow lights for your eucalyptus.

Be sure that you choose height-adjustable lights like these to accommodate for the growth of your tree.

Watering & Fertilizing Indoor Eucalyptus

Potted eucalyptus plants cannot handle droughts the way outdoor plants can. This is because soil in pots tends to lose moisture faster than the ground. 

You also do not want to overwater the eucalyptus plant and risk root rot. It is best to check the moisture level in your soil before watering.

Water your plant when the top couple inches of soil are dry. 

To give your indoor eucalyptus the nutrients it needs, add a balanced or high-potassium liquid fertilizer (find an organic high-potassium food here) during the growing season.

You do not need to apply it frequently; every 4-6 weeks is plenty.

Pruning an Indoor Eucalyptus Plant

All eucalyptus plants are fast growers and will need pruning indoors. Regular pruning maintains the shape and size of the plant.

Save any major pruning for the spring so that the plant has a chance to rebound during the growing season.

When pruning your plant, you can use the cuttings in floral arrangements or as an aromatic decoration in bathrooms.

How Long Does Eucalyptus Live Indoors?

Eucalyptus is a perennial evergreen that can live indefinitely when receiving proper care.

The most important factor to keeping your eucalyptus alive for many years is providing plenty of sunlight.

Anything less than a few hours of direct sunlight is sub-optimal for a healthy eucalyptus plant. 

When To Transplant a Potted Eucalyptus Outdoors

You can transplant your potted eucalyptus to the outdoors at any age. However, these plants are hardy in Zones 8-11 and cannot survive below freezing temperatures. 

Transplant your potted eucalyptus in the springtime when the weather is warm and there is plenty of sunshine.

This gives the plant everything it needs to establish strong, healthy roots in its new environment. 

Best Eucalyptus Varieties To Grow Indoors

Cider Gum (Eucalyptus gunnii)

Close look at the branches and leaves of a cider gum eucalyptus.

Cider Gum is a great indoor and outdoor eucalyptus variety because it is more cold tolerant than other species.

This plant needs regular pruning to maintain a shrub-like shape and size. 

  • Leaves: Elongated, pointed green leaves
  • Size: 4 feet tall
  • Growth Rate: Fast

Silver Dollar Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus cinerea)

Branches and leaves of silver dollar eucalyptus tree.

This is a great variety for floral arrangements, but the plants require regular pruning to maintain their indoor size.

  • Leaves: Round leaves with a silver sheen
  • Size: 3 feet tall
  • Growth Rate: Fast

Alpine Cider Gum (Eucalyptus archeri)

Leaves and flowers of Eucalyptus archeri.

In the wild, this tree can grow to around 40 feet, making it a smaller eucalyptus tree. However, it can successfully grow indoors with pruning and plenty of sunlight.

  • Leaves: Blue-green, oval leaves
  • Size: 4-6 feet tall 
  • Growth Rate: Fast

Baby Blue Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus pulverulenta)

Leaves and branches of baby blue eucalyptus.

Baby blue eucalyptus is often used in floral arrangements and potpourri. It has an attractive color, and the leaves retain their scent well after being cut.

This species can commonly be found in nurseries.

  • Leaves: Waxy, blue-green, round leaves
  • Size: 3 feet tall
  • Growth Rate: Fast

Lemon-Scented Gum (Eucalyptus citriodora)

Leaves of a large eucalyptus citriodora tree.

This species of eucalyptus has a lemon scent instead of the iconic eucalyptus aroma. It is also very attractive with white bark and deep green leaves.

The leaves contain the compound citronella, which is a component of scented bug repellents. 

  • Leaves: Green, lance-shaped leaves
  • Size: 6 feet tall
  • Growth Rate: Fast

Varnished Gum (Eucalyptus vernicosa)

Up-close look at the leaves of Eucalyptus vernicosa.

The varnished gum is a small tree or shrub that has delicate red edges on its leaves. This is a beautiful contrast to the gray bark.

This species is commonly used for eucalyptus essential oil collection. 

  • Leaves: Egg-shaped leaves with red edges
  • Size: 3 feet tall
  • Growth Rate: Fast 

Related Questions:

Is Eucalyptus Poisonous to Dogs?

The essential oil from the eucalyptus plant is poisonous to dogs. It is also toxic when consumed by humans, even though it is regularly used in topical application. 

Conclusion

As long as you can provide plenty of sunlight (or a good grow light), you can easily grow a thriving eucalyptus plant indoors.

The aroma that the leaves give off will make your home feel like a spa every day.