Little Leaf Gum is a handsome, graceful, cold hardy, obscure beautiful Eucalypt for our gardens. Extremely endangered in the wild it survives in just a few locations at high elevations – always above 3500′, in the SE Australian Alps. That alone gives us reason to grow this fantastic little tree. Fast growing small tree of very fine texture. To 22′ tall and half as wide in our climate. Single or multi-trunked the bark becomes glossy and shedding with time. Remarkably fast growing in youth, easily 3′-6′ in a single season- achieving tree status in just a few years. Wonderful fine textured evergreen that casts the lightest shade. Small groups of white flowers bedeck the stems in late summer and autumn- and sporadically through the year when older. Full sun and an open exposure. Very, very hardy to cold when established. There are two of this species planted along I-5 near the Woodburn Factory Outlets that have been there more than 35 years. They have endured temperatures near 0ºF at least twice in that locale with little to no injury. Takes summer drought but prefers a few good soaks when its really dry. Good garden tree. Dislikes shade. Open exposed location. The tree pictured is at the the Oregon Garden in Silverton. Excellent small garden tree.
Jounama Snow Gum is repeatedly one of the cold hardiest Eucalypts and it is excellently adapted to our climate. Gray/blue scimitar shaped leaves are pendant on a spreading umbrella shaped frame of a tree. Often the trunk forks just after emerging from the ground into multiple handsome stems. This increases the surface area where you can enjoy the ravishing exfoliating bark. Bark drops in late summer to reveal python like patches of taupe/grey/green and is showy through winter. In autumn the upper branches are decorated with small fluffy white flowers. One of the few Eucalyptus that will endure subfreezing wind- in fact this tree has been hardy to brief dips to 0ºF (-18ºC). Explosively fast growing when young to 35′ tall in just 7 years. Give it room. Light summer water in virtually any well drained soil- including clay. Do not stake. Let it produce its own sturdy leader. Sheds ice and snow like a champion. Though this is a subspecies of Eucalyptus pauciflora- a snow gum just like E. p. ‘Niphophila’ there are several differences from that tree. The leaves on E. p. debeuzevillei tend to be wider and more substantial than ‘Niphophila’. Also, that gum nearly always forms several trunks. This is less common with Jounama Snow Gum and in my experience it is a slightly taller tree. It can also vary in its habit from being very wide and spreading to skinny and fastigiate- its simply the luck of the draw and you cannot decipher this future habit as a seedling. Avoid heavy watering in hot conditions and site in a well drained place. Its completely drought tolerant and should be treated that way. Winter water when its cool is irrelevant. Overall it is a fast, healthy, and easy to grow tree in just a short amount of time.
Snow gum is a wonderful cold hardy tree for the Pacific Northwest. Lance shaped gray foliage is pendant and handsome year round. This rapidly growing tree thrives in full sun and virtually any soil save for boggy conditions. In just a few years it develops amazing python mottled bark in tones of gray/tan/olive green. The bark sheds in mid-summer and can be a bit messy. Site accordingly. Grows 4′-5′ a year when young. Irrigation just increases this growth rate. Stake only when VERY young then let it form a sturdy trunk on its own. The vast majority of this Snow gum will form multiple trunks. Its possible to select one sturdy main trunk when young- pay close attention as they grow very fast. To 30′ tall and half as wide in 10 years. Snow gums have a weird habit of growing horizontally before reaching upwards. This is natural. Handles ice and snow no problem. Cold hardy to brief dips to 0ºF- but not lower. Mountains of Australia. White fluffy flowers in clusters in winter. Avoid all shade.
Spinning wheel gum is one of the prettiest of the cold hardier Eucalyptus. Named for its striking blue/gray perfoliate round foliage as a juvenile. In time as the foliage morphs to adulthood each new leaf becomes longer and more pendulous. A small tree in our climate to 18′ tall with a widely spreading crown. Fast growing tree, especially in youth. It may be damaged in our coldest winters- losing branches or even freezing to the ground if temperatures drop below about 8ºF. Re-growth which will be juvenile is rapid in spring and it can recover its full height in just two or three seasons. Damage occurs about once every 7 years- and slightly more often in rural settings. Best in the warmest possible part of the garden- and not for cold gardens or subfreezing wind prone sites. Excellent, highly aromatic cut foliage. White flowers line the stems like small sea anemones in winter. In time it develops a strongly weeping habit.
Nirrhe is a handsome shrub/small tree that is native to central and southern Chile in moist woods. A slow growing plant with divided leaves that turn brilliant red in fall before dropping. This is the cold hardiest member of this genus enduring temperatures slightly below 0ºF with no damage. Unfortunately, it can be slow to establish and it requires moisture retentive soil that is high in organic matter. Regular deep summer soaks. Best with a cool root run. Roots in the shade tops in the sun. 2″ cupped 4 petalled pure white flowers erupt over the plant in July/August. The interior of the flowers house a boss of showy stamens tipped with purple pollen. Best with protection from hot afternoon sun. Flowers can fry even in short heatwaves so a cool position is suggested. To 14′ in 10 years and 6′ wide. Establishes faster with richly amended soil. Fall color, though late in the season is often spectacular red/ orange. Very slow to finish in a nursery container and not a fast growing plant over all. Wonderful surprise when it blooms during our hottest time of the year.
Columnar evergreen tree that is ideally sized for small urban gardens and blooms in mid to late summer. Large white flowers are profuse on every stem. There is a central boss of long stamens tipped with pink pollen. Blooms July-August. Full sun to light overstory shade and rich soil with regular summer water to establish. To 18′ + in 10 years and less than half as wide. The evergreen divided leaves are glossy and pretty year round. Grows about 2′- 3′ a year when established. Young trees are somewhat sparse but they fill in significantly with age becoming very dense upright rounded trees with time. Locate out of the path of subfreezing east wind. If you are in a wind zone place the tree on the west or south side of a structure. In central Portland this is less of an issue. Gains tremendous cold hardiness with age. Protect young plants from temperatures below 15ºF- established plants can take brief drops to 0ºF. Amazing in bloom and wild life thinks so too. Cold damaged foliage recovers very quickly in spring- by May you would have no idea. Injury happens in cold gardens about once every 5 years. Majestic tree in age. South America.
Possibly the best Eucryphia for our climate in ease of culture, amount of flowers and hardiness. This evergreen tree grows quickly when young. In youth it tends to be a somewhat sparse tree but with age it increases in density markedly. In July/August the whole tree is draped in pure white 2″ blossoms with a central boss of stamens holding raspberry pink pollen. Grows about 2′-3′ a year or more in rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Established trees can take summer drought. Cold hardiness increases dramatically with the age of the plant. Protect small trees from arctic conditions. The divided deep green leaves are good looking year round. To 18′ tall and 5′ wide in a columnar form. Hybrid between two Chilean Eucryphia species including the hardiest E. glutinosa (Zone 6)- it inherits cold hardiness from that parent. Full sun.
Mt. Etna Broom is a remarkable TREE from the slopes of Italy’s tallest active volcano. Unlike Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) this fine, leafless tree will NEVER become a pest in our climate. Rush like pendulous green stems are replete with yellow jasmine scented pea flowers for months in summer. This tree casts no shade but provides an elegant vertical element. The sweet perfume travels many feet on a warm day. Blooms May-August. Fast growing drought adapted tree to 18′ tall and 8′ wide in 10 years. Full, all day sun in a hot position in poor to average very well drained soil. Little summer water once established. Forms a very nice trunk in time. Plant with drought adapted shrubs/perennials. Wonderful small garden tree where you need height but don’t want shade. High deer resistance. Slightly tender when very young- fully hardy as an adult (3-4 years). Spectacular in bloom. No shade, it casts no shade.
Photo credit: Loree Bohl (Danger Garden)
Crape myrtles aren’t just about flowers we actually are even more attracted to the handsome, exfoliating bark. This selection from the disease resistant Japanese species has some of the best bark in the vegetable kingdom. Swaths of muscular mahogany, cinnamon red smooth regions create a fantastic tapestry. This is a very large growing Crape Myrtle with profuse but smaller trusses of FRAGRANT white flowers in mid- late summer. Fall color is bright orange/yellow/red and is very striking in its somewhat brief display. To 35′ tall in great age it grows approximately 3′-4′ per year when young. Bark begins to develop coloration in 2-3 years. Most often multi-trunked this gives the gardener even more beauty to stare at. Forms a spreading umbrella shape. Completely disease resistant and because of that this tree first identified in 1956 on the Japanese island of Yakushima imparts this trait to its hybrid progeny. It also is the source for colorful bark found in many of the National Arboretum hybrids. Best with consistent summer moisture for the first few years then only occasional deep soaks. Deciduous- fall color is a saturated light orange/gold. A fantastic street tree with great dimensions and form. This selection – chosen for bark coloration can be difficult to locate. Beautiful tree.
Striking crape myrtle with jet BLACK foliage that would be cool all by itself. The real kicker is intense true red flowers that smolder with the leaves. A naturally and reliably early blooming almost fastigiate tree. To 9′ tall but just 3′ wide in 7 years. Full hot sun and rich soil with regular summer irrigation for the best results. So far it has been completely mildew free as well. Imagine the late summer combinations? Blooms first appear in early August in urban areas- later in cooler hinterlands. If it never bloomed it would be a cool thing but that red. Wow. Fall color is non-existent.