Following a cold winter (6 degrees here in McDonough, GA /zone 8a) is there anything cooler than seeing what a new or marginal plant will do in your landscape? Our Southern Euc trials on cold hardy Eucalyptus trees are entering their third season. From over 700 species of Eucalyptus we identified 25 that we believed would be most cold hardy in our region. Some like Eucalyptus coccifera, cinera, urnigera, and robusta were quick to pan out when temps dropped into the 20’s. Others like Eucalyptus rubida, stellulata, perrinianna, neglecta, and pauciflora lived up to their claims and had only slight leaf damage following single digit temps.
But it’s what I saw on Eucalyptus camphora and elliptica, two lesser known species, that offered a real surprise. The evergreen trees behaved more like their neighboring oaks; holding onto old brittle leaves only to shed them when temperatures warmed. I had seen Eucalyptus, in cold temps, behave more like perennials – growing back from the base – but never mimic a deciduous tree.