Silver Dollar Tree, Eucalyptus cinerea
Start the gardening year off to a solid start by planting a tree, and not just any tree, but a superior multitasking one. Introducing the silver dollar tree. Perhaps you’re already familiar with its aromatic and eye-catching leaves routinely found in flora arrangements. Why not grow your own this year and save a few dollars?
Please keep reading to learn more about this savvy, silvery tree.
Native to Australia, Eucalyptus cinerea—aka silver dollar tree—is well-known in the floral trade for its elegant branches. As a home garden tree, however, it is a bit underused. This seems an oversight, because this tree is drought-tolerant, moderately fast-growing, and low-maintenance—plus, it keeps its silvery blue coin-shaped leaves all year.
Its blueish tones not only go well with bouquets, but they also integrate into most gardens. I suppose the only huge consideration is whether your garden can accommodate its eventual grand size. Growing to a stately 25-40 feet tall and 20 feet wide, this is definitely not a tiny tree—but if properly pruned or kept in a large container, you can restrain its size. The other factor is whether your garden gets frosty in the winter. If your temperatures dip into the lower teens, then consider growing this tree in a large pot indoors near a sunny south-facing window, free from cold drafts. Your tree will probably bush out, but the good news is that you can prune the leaves and creatively use them in arrangements.
Another creative use for the freshly cut branches: an at-home spa experience. Here’s what you do: gather up some fresh stems, secure them with natural twine, and hang the bundle in the shower where the hot water interacts with the fragrant menthol-like oils and emits a refreshing and invigorating aroma.
If you want to extend your craftiness, try taking a cutting and growing more. Simply use a clean blade to cut a sprig from the mother plant, making sure you have a few nodes on the cut stem. Remove the lower leaves and and place it in soil up to the top set of leaves. Place this starter in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist until roots start appearing.
Do know that some people experience contact dermatitis from handling the leaves and especially any oils or sap, so wear gloves while pruning if you have sensitive skin. Cool fact: Even though koala bears eat mostly eucalyptus leaves, their stomachs can handle it because of specialized microbes in their digestive system breaking down the toxic oils. Baby koalas acquire this helpful bacteria from their mothers.
- Great used as a privacy tree, container specimen, or windbreak (it’s very wind- and salt-tolerant).
- Fragrantly spicy leaves are perfect for adding to bouquets, wreaths, and floral arrangements—or the shower, like this.
- Deer and rabbits don’t fancy dining on the pungent leaves, nor do many pests.
- While some Eucalyptus are considered invasive in the U.S, this species is not.
- Even though this tree produces tiny creamy white flowers, this is not what the tree is known for.
Keep It Alive
- Hardy to USDA Zones 8-11.
- Plant in full sun for best silvery color and strong growth.
- Well-draining soil is a must.
- If planting in a container, make sure the pot has ample drainage holes.
- Drought-tolerant once established.
- Once planted, do not transplant this tree as it doesn’t like its roots disturbed.
- A big pruning to shape and control the size should happen only in early spring. Small trimmings can be done all year.
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