When & How To Start Eucalyptus Seeds In A Short Growing Season
Eucalyptus is one of those magical plants most gardeners dream of having in their garden. It’s whimsical, unbelievably fragrant and great as both a cut flower or boarder flower in the garden. After trying my hand at growing eucalyptus myself here in our Zone 3 Canadian garden, I can tell you it is definitely possible to grow eucalyptus in cold climates…but it does take a little extra work. This post will walk you through how to grow eucalyptus in Canada and other short growing seasons plus when exactly to start your seeds indoors.
This post covers:
- Can You Grow Eucalyptus In A Cold Climate?
- Can You Grow Eucalyptus in Canada?
- Where To Buy Eucalyptus Seeds In Canada
- How Long Does It Take To Grow Eucalyptus From Seed?
- When To Start Eucalyptus Seeds Indoors
- How To Start Eucalyptus Seeds Indoors
- How Long Does Eucalyptus Take To Germinate?
- Will Eucalyptus Overwinter In Canada?
Can You Grow Eucalyptus In A Cold Climate
The answer is YES!
You can definitely grow eucalyptus at home if you live in a cold climate and/or somewhere with a short gardening season. Whether you’re a Northern gardener with just a few short months of growing time or you experience a challenging micro-climate in your garden, you can still grow eucalyptus at home.
The wonderful thing about growing eucalyptus in a cold climate is that you can bring your plants in from the garden when the temperatures drop and continue growing eucalyptus as a houseplant inside.
Can You Grow Eucalyptus In Canada
Yes, while it isn’t necessarily easy to grow in all climates, you can grow eucalyptus in Canada in a home garden.
I’ve seen gardeners across Canadian provinces successfully grow eucalyptus. Of course, gardeners located in warmer grow zones, such as on the coasts of Canada, will have an easier time growing eucalyptus as it requires more than 150+ days of growing time.
Plus, eucalyptus is hardy as a perennial to Zone 8 and can be overwintered.
With that being said, as long as you start your eucalyptus seeds indoors by early Winter you should be able to grow eucalyptus in any grow zone.
Here in my Zone 3 garden in Manitoba, Canada I’ve been able to grow a large bundle of Silver Dollar Eucalyptus in our garden as well as in our DIY backyard greenhouse. While it does take some planning, time and extra care to grow eucalyptus in Canada, it’s definitely possible to do so.
Where To Buy Eucalyptus Seeds In Canada
While you might find eucalyptus seeds are somewhat expensive to buy in Canada (they typically start at $25.00 for 100 seeds) there’s a few trustworthy seed suppliers you can purchase from.
My preferred seed provider for buying eucalyptus seeds is West Coast Seeds because they have a high germination rate and great customer reviews.
Here are a few other Canadian seed providers that sell eucalyptus seeds in Canada:
- Johnny’s Seeds
- Ontario Seed Company
- William Dam Seeds — great selection of different varieties!
- Stokes Seeds
How Long Does It Take To Grow Eucalyptus From Seed?
Eucalyptus is a slow growing perennial shrub that requires anywhere from 120-150 days of growing time. Therefore, it takes about 4-5 months in total to grow eucalyptus from the time you start your seeds until you harvest your flowers.
For some Northern gardeners, this could be your entire growing season so it’s important to be a little strategic when planting your eucalyptus.
If you live in Zone 3-4, it might be best to plant your eucalyptus in a warm greenhouse and/or containers that can be brought inside when the temperatures drop.
Alternatively you could plant your eucalyptus in containers or grow bags that can be easily moved around as needed to extend their growing time.
Here in Zone 3, I’ve personally found that it isn’t until September-October that my eucalyptus plants are tall enough to harvest for cut flower bouquets.
When To Start Eucalyptus Seeds Indoors
Start your eucalyptus seeds indoors anywhere from 12-16 weeks before your last frost date. I’ve personally found the earlier I start my seeds indoors, the better.
So count back from your last frost date for your unique grow zone and plan accordingly.
When To Start Eucalyptus In Zone 3-4
For my Zone 3 garden, I start my eucalyptus seeds indoors by mid December.
This timeline provides my eucalyptus seedlings a generous amount of growing time inside under growlights that by the time I transition them outdoors they are well-established little plants.
When To Start Eucalyptus In Zone 5-6
Following the timeline shared by the flower farmers at Dahlia May Flower Farm in Zone 5 Trenton, Ontario, start your eucalyptus seeds indoors by mid January.
When To Start Eucalyptus In Zone 7-8
For gardeners in warmer grow zones like Zone 7-8, you can start your eucalyptus seeds indoors as late as mid-February to early March.
Alternatively, you can direct sow your eucalyptus seeds after your last frost date in May and plan for a late Fall harvest or the potential to overwinter your eucalyptus plants if properly protected.
How To Start Eucalyptus Seeds Indoors
To start your eucalyptus seeds indoors, first start by setting up your seed starting station. If you’re new to this, give my Complete Seed Starting Guide a read!
You’ll need these seed starting tools & supplies to start eucalyptus indoors:
- Organic seed starting soil mix
- Full spectrum grow lights — a MUST if you want to grow strong seedlings.
- Heat mat
- Seedling plug tray — a tray with small cells works well for eucalyptus seeds
- Humidity dome
- Small fan — a MUST to avoid damping off, which eucalyptus seedlings are prone to
5 Easy Steps To Starting Eucalyptus Seeds Indoors
If you prefer video, head over to Instagram for my eucalyptus seeding reel.
Begin by filling your seedling plug tray with your seed starting soil mix. Be sure to moisten your soil first before filling your plugs and pack them tightly.
Carefully remove your eucalyptus seeds from the seed package. You’ll find that they are extremely fine and tiny, almost like grains of salt! They can be difficult to handle with your hands, so try using tweezers instead. With your tweezers, place 1-3 seeds per plug.
Take a small amount of soil and sprinkle it on top of each plug tray. You want to just gently cover your eucalyptus seedlings, they should not be buried in soil.
Use a spray bottle to gently moisten the top of each plug tray. Then cover your trays with their humidity domes. If the domes have vents, be sure to keep them open so there is some air flow going to your trays during the germination process. This can reduce the chances of eucalyptus damping off.
Place your covered tray on a heat mat under your growlight. Your growlight should be 2-3 inches at most above your humidity dome.
How Long Does Eucalyptus Take To Germinate
Eucalyptus is very slow to germinate and can take anywhere from 15-30 days to sprout.
So don’t stress if a few weeks go by and you don’t see any growth! This is totally normal.
During this time, be sure to keep your growlights on for 8-12 hours/day and to keep the soil moist but not wet by using a spray bottle.
Will Eucalyptus Overwinter In Canada?
Yes, you can have success overwintering eucalyptus in Canada if you garden in a Zone 6 or warmer.
Unfortunately, here in my Zone 3 garden it’s simply too cold and too long of a Winter for my eucalyptus plants to survive outside in the ground.
However, if you live in a colder zone you may have success overwintering eucalyptus if you keep it in a greenhouse and have it well insulated with a thick layer of straw mulch. If you do give it a shot, comment below and let us know!
And there you have it!
You now know when to start eucalyptus seeds in a cold region and how to start eucalyptus seeds indoors.
I hope this post has inspired you to try your hand at growing eucalyptus this season even if you live in a cold region with a short growing season.
And if you have other eucalyptus-starting advice for fellow gardeners, please comment below. Or drop your questions. I love hearing from you and answer all comments!
Happy planting, gardeners!