Rainbow eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) is a tree unlike any other. It’s grown for its ornamental trunk, which has the unique property of changing color over time!
Rainbow eucalyptus is a brightly colored tree endemic to the Philippines, notably Mindanao Island. This species then expanded to French Polynesia, New Guinea, and New Britain, mostly for the purpose of making paper.
It is regarded as one among the world’s most beautiful trees.
Why a rainbow color?
The rainbow eucalyptus is unique in that it loses sections of its bark on a regular basis (and at various seasons), revealing a trunk that changes color over time.
Its trunk is a mosaic of hues, first pale green, then blue, purple, orange, and eventually brown, giving it the impression of a true rainbow! Although it appears as if a painter cleaned his brushes there, the colors are in fact natural.
“ Degluptere ” also means “to peel ” in Latin. Each tree sheds bark bits at a different rate, so each rainbow eucalyptus has different colored patterns. Likewise, each specimen sees its bark continuously changing color during its lifetime. A real delight for the eyes!
This tree is mainly cultivated for its decorative trunk . It is also used all over the world to make pulp. This eucalyptus variation is the only one (of of over 900 species) that does not generate essential oil.
Rainbow eucalyptus is very fast growing and can reach up to 75 meters tall! Its growth rate is about 3 m / year. It is adorned with white-yellow flowers gathered in panicles along the branches. Its leaves , oval in shape, are persistent.
How to grow rainbow eucalyptus?
Although it is fond of humid tropical areas, the rainbow eucalyptus supports many types of soil. This tree appreciates good sun exposure and frequent watering.
It is very sensitive to cold (it dies below 2 ° C) and will therefore not be suitable for European gardens.You can, however, grow it as a bonsai. It must then be protected from the cold by keeping it inside.
If you want to get started in growing rainbow eucalyptus, it is possible. Seeds are available for sale.
You will need to sow in a pot and place the pot at a temperature between 20 ° C and 25 ° C. Make sure there is good drainage.
It takes 10 to 20 days for the lifting of seeds. When plants reach 3 to 4 leaf stage, transplant them into the bucket and place them in direct sunlight. Always keep the substrate moist.
When their height reaches between 20 and 50 cm, you can plant them in their final location.
It takes about 2-3 years after sowing to see the first stains on the trunk.
Even though the rainbow eucalyptus is a fragile tree, it is resistant to insects and pests. He is very successful in Hawaii where the climate is favorable to him. It was introduced there in 1929 as part of a reforestation plan. These species are a real tourist attraction as their trunk is magnificent.