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How To Grow and Use Eucalyptus

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Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus

© A.Jeanroy

Latin Name:

According to Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, there are more than 500 species of Eucalyptus, but the type that is usually referred to for the home gardener, is E. globulus or Globe Eucalyptus. This is the type found in most nurseries.

Common Name:

Eucalyptus

Cultivation:

In zone 8-10, Eucalyptus grows into trees of towering heights. These trees are the very same ones that feed the Koala bears in Australia. For the home gardener however, Eucalyptus is grown as a potted shrub or plant. It is trimmed back often, with the resulting branches most commonly being used for crafts.

For the gardener in cooler climates, grow Eucalyptus in pots and bring indoors for the winter.

All You Need To Know About Growing An Indoor Herb Garden It can also be grown as an annual. I grow mine as an annual and although I do not get the huge branches that are available in craft stores, I certainly gather enough of the leaves to dry for my family's needs throughout the winter.

Harvesting:

Cut the branches as they grow to desired height. All parts are used medicinally: leaves, bark and roots, all contain the potent oil. This oil is never to be used neat (straight on the skin or ingested alone).

Dry the leaves and trimmings to add to your potpourri mixes as well. They lend a light, refreshing to your blend.

Storing:

Eucalyptus branches can be dried on the stem, or the leaves removed and air dried until slightly leathery for older leaves and crispy for the smaller size. I dry mine and strip the leaves off the branches, to store in glass jars.

If using branches for crafts, you may want to follow these directions for preserving herbs with Glycerin:

How To Preserve Herbs With Glycerin

You could also make a simple syrup using Eucalyptus, for your cocktail hour.

All About Eucalyptus:

Medicinally, the eucalyptus oil is taken from the leaves, roots and bark. This spicy, cooling oil is used for its antiseptic and astringent effect.

Eucalyptus oil is often used for respiratory ailments, as the flavoring in cough drops and in decongestant type rubs. Create an infusion of eucalyptus leaves for a soothing skin antiseptic.

Learn how to make your own infusions,Steam Inhalations,chest rubs and cough drops with Eucalyptus:

Eucalyptus is also used as a very pretty indoor plant. If growing it indoors, note that Eucalyptus is considered a heavy feeder and requires full sun. Highly adaptable to most soils, the main concern is close attention to basic feeding/lighting and watering needs.

It is interesting to note that many varieties of Eucalyptus also produce such fragrant blossoms in the wild, that they are considered highly desirable for attracting bees. For most of us, this may not apply as they plant will probably not blossom under less than optimal conditions.

Finally the same scent that we find soothing and somewhat refreshing, is not at all appreciated by biting insects. Using Eucalyptus oil, try 1 teaspoon diluted in a cup of carrier oil-such as grapeseed or olive, Use this as a repellent when you are working in the garden. If you think that is cool, check out the insect repellent information on the About.com Chemistry site: Natural Insect Repellent Recipe

“Please note this document has not been medically reviewed.”

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