Eucalyptus macrocarpa (Mottlecah)

Today I potted on a potful of seedling Eucalyptus macrocarpa. I just read that they are slightly frost tender. Not sure what to make of that. They certainly seem not to be bothered by temperatures down to -4C. I have had the pot of small seedlings sitting out in the frost this winter. They had their second set of leaves which is why I had to get them into their own pots. The roots were well developed.

Eucalyptus macrocarpa (Mottlecah)

Eucalyptus macrocarpa (Mottlecah)

This is a rather straggly, shrubby Eucalypt. At the arboretum they are about 3m tall by 4m wide. It appears they can get to 5m tall. There is no sign that they will ever be that tall here. The largest I have seen in our high pH soil is 2m. There are apparently some compact forms around but I think this size is due to the soil. The flowers are about 8cm in diameter and the fruits are very decorative. The nectar feeding birds love this plant. I have used the dried fruit at Christmas time with a candle wedged into the open valves.

The shrubs need to be regularly pruned. The plants grow best in dry areas. They need good drainage and warmth to do well.

I think they would make a great container plant. Apparently in USA they are used as an indoor container plant.


11 Responses to “Eucalyptus macrocarpa (Mottlecah)”

  1. Pat says:

    Any idea of the lifespan of the eucalyptus
    macrocarpa? Any input would be appreciated. Cheers.

  2. Ron Stevens says:

    I have grown Eucalyptus macrocarpa in my garden for more than 20 years. They seem to thrive on the hot/dry summers we have here in Escondido, CA. (We only average about 12 inches of rainfall a year and recently we haven’t even seen that. Our rainy season in in the fall and winter.)

    I rarely ever water the plants and they are very adapted to drought once established. My trees
    (a very shrubby, multibranched 12ft. high) and are absolutely beautiful. Although the oldest of my 3 trees is a little more than 20 years old, I know of several in San Diego (about 20 minutes from my house) that are more than 35 years old and I suspect thay live a lot longer than that.
    So they have a very long lifespan.

  3. Corinne says:

    Thanks for the information, Ron. I had replied direct to Pat and meant to put it here as well. This is what I wrote to her. “I can tell you from experience that E macrocarpa is a long lived plant. One that I know, at the end of a school playground, continues even now after 25+ years of being trampled, swung in, climbed through, footballs
    thrown in etc. Another near where I live is about 23 years old. These are mallee plants ie, shoot from the base when broken or cut, have multiple stems. They need good drainage and airflow around them otherwise tend to suffer from sooty mould. Are well worth trying for the flower display. Would make good large pot plants if you cannot give them the conditions that they need.”
    Your conditions sound like mine here except that we are experiencing drought at the moment and have no subsoil moisture. Even the native plants are struggling.

  4. […] on this plant here. Sunday December 9th, 2007 | Categories: Trees; Drought Tolerant Plants; Hardy Australian Native […]

  5. Heath says:

    Does this plant require FULL SUN or can it thrive just as well in partial sun? How many hours of sun equate to “full sun”?

  6. Michael says:

    hi to all

    a friend of mine has this shrub in their backyard, and i would like to have it in my backyard too. is there a way i could plant it in my backyard without buying one, like example using the pods that fall off or or using a cutting of it, also if you could tell me how i would go about doing it, (i’m not a gardener, so i wouldn’t have a clue)

  7. tracy sievewright says:

    i have a very large macrocarpa in the front garden but it has developed a black smut like covering on the leaves. It hasn’t been pruned in years, at least 6, so should I do this? It looks like either cutter bees or something else that likes to eat fleshy plants has had a nibble too! any suggestions how I bring it back and make it healthy again?

    • Corinne says:

      Firstly, the black smut is sooty mould which is common on many grey leaved eucalypts. It is caused by scale insects and if you have ants on the tree this means that they are still active. It may be a good idea to spray for scale, and prevent the ants from climbing the tree as they carry the scale about. Usually an oil spray is used and I beleive there are some good safe ones to use. Check at garden centres. When the scale has been treated the sooty smut will gradually weather away. Check for caterpillars and remove, or if severe try some treatment. I’m not sure what is recommended these days. I try to avoid any sprays unless I am sure that they fit into an organic regime.

      The only reasons for pruning would be to rejuvinate the tree, remove any branches that are inetrfering with other plants or paths etc., or to reshape the plant. If there is bad damage from the scale or caterpillars or whatever is chewing, you may like to trim away those bits. The species is quite forgiving of pruning.

  8. Roselyn McDonagh says:

    Many thanks for the information you have supplied for the Eucalyptus macrocarpa. I have done several watercolour paintings of this beautiful Australian Native plant, and enjoy the challenge increasingly. I usually paint for family members, but am trying to enter the commercial market with those flowers that people enjoy hanging on their walls for year round pleasure. I find the Australian Native varieties provide a wealth of scope for those who are trying to learn about them especially through painting.
    Thanks again


  9. Debra says:

    I have three eucalyptus mallee mottlecah about 8 inches high only babies. They’ve been growing in my native garden for around 8 mths or more. They are never watered I rely on rain water only. Even though it gets very hot here I avoid town water on them. Sadly they haven’t grown at all just a few small shoots around the base of the plant & acouple at the top. The growth is almost non existent. Even though they don’t have regular water or food they haven’t changed in size colour or even look like dying. My question is can I give these plants a weak fertile tea or a fertiliser that has no phosphorus in it if there’s such a thing can I try a tiny amount of blood & bone maybe. I’m in Brisbane QLD does anyone have this plant from the west. Is there something I can do to get this plant to grow at all without killing it . I’ve tried looking everywhere online for information on feeding this particular plant but couldn’t find any ?

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