University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #ENH398

Eucalyptus ficifolia: Red Flowering Gum1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2

Introduction

A native of Australia, Eucalyptus ficifolia grows best on the western coast of the United States and is seldom successful in the interior. Its flowers are spectacular, and it can be tried as a container plant in the North, wintered indoors. Foliage of eucalyptus is aromatic, with frequent distinguishing differences between juvenile and mature leaves. These plants are used in western landscapes.

Figure 1. 

Middle-aged Eucalyptus ficifolia: Red Flowering Gum


Credit:

Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Eucalyptus ficifolia
Pronunciation: yoo-kuh-LIP-tus fiss-ih-FOLE-ee-uh
Common name(s): Red flowering gum
Family: Myrtaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 10A through 11 (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: invasive non-native
Uses: urban tolerant; specimen; highway median; street without sidewalk; tree lawn 3–4 feet wide; tree lawn 4–6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide
Availability: not native to North America

Figure 2. 

Range


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 30 to 40 feet
Spread: 15 to 25 feet
Crown uniformity: irregular
Crown shape: round
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: fast
Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: lanceolate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: fragrant, evergreen, broadleaf evergreen
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. 

Foliage


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Flower

Flower color: red
Flower characteristics: very showy

Fruit

Fruit shape: round, oval
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown, green
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure
Breakage: susceptible to breakage
Current year twig color: reddish, brown
Current year twig thickness: thin
Wood specific gravity: unknown

Culture

Light requirement: full sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; slightly alkaline; well-drained
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: unknown

Other

Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant
Pest resistance: sensitive to pests/diseases

Use and Management

Propagation of eucalyptus is by seed, using ripe seed capsules taken off trees.

Pests

Pests of eucalyptus include psyllids, aphids, mealybugs, scales, mites, caterpillars, and borers. Spraying with soap solution or appropriate chemical sprays will often suffice to control all but the borers. Borer damage may require the cutting out and destroying of infested stems and the removal of dying plants. Psyllids disfigure the tree and can be quite a problem.

Diseases

Eucalyptus are resistant to armillaria root rot and to verticillium wilt. They are susceptible to powdery mildew and to Phytophthora cinnamoni and Phytophthora lateralis.

Leaf spot and crown gall are eucalyptus' major disease problems. Prune infected twigs and branches, and be sure to keep dead leaves and fruit cleaned up as plant refuse is usually the source of leaf spot disease.

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH398, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Reviewed May 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.