Growing Eucalyptus Trees Indoors: Tips and Best Practices

The eucalyptus plant, with its fragrant properties and coin-shaped foliage, makes a wonderful addition to your indoor environment. Its attractive silvery blue-green aromatic leaves give off the aroma of menthol. Young plants of eucalyptus have attractive grey-green leaves which produce a distinctive aroma when crushed. An indoor eucalyptus tree will flourish under ordinary room conditions if kept well-lit and cool.

Eucalyptus is known for its ability to purify the air, making it an excellent choice for those looking to improve indoor air quality. Growing eucalyptus indoors is relatively easy once you understand the plant’s optimal growing conditions.

Growing eucalyptus indoors

Eucalyptus Plant Characteristics

Eucalyptus is a plant genus with over 700 different distinct species. Most are known for their aromatic leaves and signature peeling bark. Native to Australia, an indoor eucalyptus tree requires very little in the way of care.

The leaves may be blue-green, glossy, or silvery, depending on the species. These leaves contain glands that release a rich, aromatic oil that gives them their distinctive fragrance. These aromatic oils have antiseptic and insect-repellent properties. 

If you’re interested in another indoor plant with a lovely fragrance, a good example is the Sparmannia africana. A  challenging plant to grow, but well worth it with vigorous growth and fragrant flowers.

Eucalyptus trees grow a new layer of bark every year, and the old bark peels off. In some species, such as the Eucalyptus deglupta, or Rainbow Eucalyptus, the new bark provides visual interest. This makes it popular as an ornamental landscape tree in tropical climates. 

Eucalyptus is a houseplant that requires specific conditions, so it is recommended for intermediate to advanced gardeners

eucalyptus plant indoor

Eucalyptus for Indoor Growing

The secret to healthy happy plants has always been “right plant, right place.” Choosing the right variety of eucalyptus indoor plant to grow is the first step in successful houseplant care. 

In their native habitat, most eucalypts become very tall trees. However, there are slower-growing and dwarf varieties more suitable for growing indoors.

You can grow many eucalyptus varieties indoors. However, most eucalypts are fast-growing, so purchase a variety that won’t get out of hand. 

Choosing the Right Eucalyptus Plant

Choosing the right plant is critical when growing eucalyptus indoors, as not all of them are suitable for indoor growing. 

Eucalyptus globulus (Blue Gum) grows too tall for indoor cultivation; it is better to choose either the slower-growing Eucalyptus gunnii (Cedar Gum) or Eucalyptus citriodora (Lemon-Scented Gum). Eucalyptus pulverulenta (Baby Blue/Silver-leaved Mountain Gumis also suitable for indoor cultivation. 

Types of Eucalyptus Plants

When selecting a eucalyptus plant, consider factors such as the plant’s size, light requirements, humidity and temperature in your home, and the type of soil that the plant requires.

Silver Dollar Gum (Eucalyptus cinerea)

This variety is one of the most popular for indoor growing and often propagated from eucalyptus plant seeds. The name derives from the shape of its round leaves, which are silvery white on the undersides.

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Lemon-Scented Gum (Eucalyptus citriodora)

This species of eucalypt is fast growing and known for the citrus fragrance of its foliage. Many companies use the oil of this variety in mosquito and tick repellants. It’s an excellent eucalyptus hanging plant choice for patios and screen rooms.

Baby Blue/Silver-leaved Mountain Gum (Eucalyptus pulverulenta)

This variety is also popular for indoor growing in large containers and features widely in floral arrangements. Its silvery blue leaves make it a real standout in your houseplant collection. 

Varnished Gum (Eucalyptus vernicosa)

This slow-growing Tasmanian variety is the perfect indoor eucalyptus tree. It grows up the 3 feet over four years, which means you won’t have to prune it back or repot it every year. The thick leaves are glossy, and deep green.

Cider Gum (Eucalyptus gunnii)

Cider gum is one of the most popular varieties for growing indoors. They do grow quite quickly, however, and require regular pruning. They may outgrow even the largest of containers.

How to Grow Eucalyptus in a Container

Eucalypts evolved to grow into massive forests in sunny, arid climates and poor soil. If you keep this in mind, you can grow a wide variety of eucalypt species indoors with the right conditions. 

Pot Selection

It’s important to choose the right pot and soil when growing these plants indoors. 

Drainage requirements

Eucalypts dislike waterlogged soil, so a well-draining pot is essential. Use a pot with plenty of drainage holes.

Consider terracotta pots, whose porosity allows the exchange of air and water between the outside air and the soil. This helps prevent root rot.

Most eucalypts grow very fast, so consider a large pot, perhaps 12 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep. Choose one large enough to accommodate the plant through spring and summer. 

Eucalypts don’t like being transplanted, so avoid up-potting until the plant is dormant in the winter.

eucalyptus gunnii

Potting Soil

A well-draining potting mix is ideal for the soil. A 3/3/3 mixture of potting soil, coconut coir, and perlite will give the roots the stability they need without retaining too much moisture. 

You can also mix sand into the potting mix to help with drainage.

Proper Soil Nutrition

Eucalypts thrive in poor, sandy soils and are one of the few houseplants that can be overfed. Feed your plant every two to four weeks through spring and summer. Provide a dilute houseplant food that is high in potassium but low in nitrogen and phosphorus. Do not fertilize during the fall and winter.

eucalyptus gunnii

Where to Place Eucalyptus Plants

Once you have the “right plant,” it’s time to find the “right place.” Eucalypts need plenty of sunshine.

Light Requirements for Indoor Eucalyptus

Eucalypts need bright, indirect light to thrive. They’ll withstand some direct sunlight, but excessive amounts causes scorching and yellowing of the leaves.

The best light conditions for eucalyptus plants are bright, indirect light for the majority of the day, with a few hours of direct sunlight in the morning or late afternoon.

Providing enough natural light

Place your eucalyptus near a bright window that faces east, west, or preferably south (in Northern Hemisphere) to get enough natural light. If you do not have a sunny enough area in your home, use grow lights.

Importance of rotating your Eucalyptus plant for even growth

It is critical to rotate your eucalyptus plant on a weekly basis to ensure that all sides of the plant receive an equal amount of light. This encourages even growth and keeps the plant from becoming lopsided.

Caring for Your Eucalyptus

Eucalypts require special care to thrive indoors. Here are a few things to remember when caring for your plant:


Keep the eucalyptus plant near a window that receives plenty of sunshine. Eucalypts need ample amounts of light to thrive indoors. Make sure that the environmental indoor temperature does not get too hot, however. The optimal temperature for a eucalyptus tree indoors is 65-71°F.

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How often to water Eucalyptus

Watering frequency is determined by environmental factors such as temperature and humidity in your home. The size of the pot and the type of soil is also a factor. 

Wait until the top third of soil is dry before watering, and then thoroughly water until excess water drains out of the bottom of the pot.

Signs of over and under-watering

Overwatering eucalyptus plants causes root rot, while underwatering causes the leaves to wilt and turn yellow. 

Make sure the pot has good drainage and don’t let the plant sit in standing water. To avoid under-watering, check the pot weekly and water if the top third of the soil is dry.

Humidity requirements

Eucalypts prefer a moderate humidity level of about 40%. If the air in your home is dry, your eucalyptus plant may require more humidity to thrive. Group several plants together to create a more humid microclimate.

Fertilizing Eucalyptus Plant

Fertilize your eucalyptus plant on a regular basis to provide it with the nutrients it needs. During the growing season, apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-4 weeks, and stop during the fall and winter.

Potential Pests and Diseases

Eucalyptus plants are tough and resistant to pests and diseases in general, but they are not immune.

Spider mites are tiny, spider-like pests that cause yellow spots on eucalyptus plant leaves. They’ll appear when conditions are too dry. Controlled by misting with insecticidal soap.

Mealybugs are small, soft-bodied pests that cause leaf yellowing and wilting. Wiping the leaves with a solution of water and dish soap or using an insecticidal soap.

Root rot is a fungal disease that is caused by overwatering. It causes leaf yellowing and wilting, as well as a mushy texture in the roots. Make sure the pot has good drainage and don’t leave the plant in standing water to avoid root rot.

Powdery mildew is also a fungal disease that causes a white, powdery growth on the leaves and stems of eucalyptus plants. Keep the plant well-ventilated and avoid overcrowding.

If you suspect that your plant is infested with pests or disease, you’ll need to act quickly to avoid further damage. Treat the problem with an appropriate pesticide or fungicide and make any necessary adjustments to your care regimen to keep the problem from recurring.

Pruning and Training Your Indoor Eucalyptus

Pruning and training your indoor eucalyptus plant is essential for healthy growth, maintaining shape, and improving appearance. Prevent disease spread by removing dead or damaged leaves. Improve air circulation and sunlight penetration by removing overcrowded or crossing branches, which boosts overall growth.

You can prune eucalyptus trees at any time of year, but it is best to do it in the spring or early summer, when new growth is beginning to emerge. Cut back any branches that are dead, damaged, or crossing over other branches with sharp, clean pruning shears. You don’t want to stress the plant by cutting it back too much.

Eucalypts have a natural tendency to grow straight and tall, but you can train them to grow in the shape you want by pruning and shaping them on a regular basis. 

A young plant, for example, can be trained to a bushy, rounded shape by pinching back the tips of the branches on a regular basis. Or train it to grow into a tree shape by removing all branches except the main trunk.

Eucalyptus Plant Secrets of Success

Growing a eucalyptus tree indoors may seem tricky, but there are a few crucial tips to follow:

Temperature: Cool or average warmth. Keep cool (50-65°F) in winter. Pots can be stood outdoors in summer.

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Light: This plant does not tolerate shade, so be sure it always has plenty of light. Some direct sun is beneficial. In front of a south-facing window works well.

Water: Water regularly from spring to fall. Water sparingly in winter.

Repotting: Repot in spring every year.

Propagation: Sow seeds in spring – germinate at 65°F.

Use: The essential oils derived from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree are often used as an antiseptic to treat wounds and burns and are added to cough syrups, soaps and cosmetics.

Flowering: A eucalypt grown indoors may not flower. Plants are usually discarded or planted outdoors after a couple of years. Potted eucalyptus trees often become so big that they must be planted in the backyard or donated to a park. 

Eucalyptus houseplants grow so fast that they can be grown as annuals. Pinch out tips to keep growth in check and to maintain the production of juvenile foliage – old leaves are much less attractive.

Benefits of an Indoor Eucalyptus Plant

There are many claims about the benefits of growing eucalyptus indoors. They add beauty and scent to your home, providing the air-cleaning properties of most houseplants.

People often claim that eucalyptus plants are “lucky” and good for the feng shui of any home. 

However, there are scientific studies that show that the plant has proven medicinal properties. The essential oil of eucalyptus leaves is microbial, making them an excellent addition to homemade cleaning products.

They’re also antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, and topical use provides many benefits. 

  • Many eucalyptus plant indoor benefits include: 
  • Scientists found that the inhalation of eucalyptus oil reduces stress
  • Reduces symptoms of acute sinusitis.
  • Topical use speeds wound healing.
  • Improve oral health
  • Reduces muscular and joint pain

Eucalyptus oil can safely be used on the skin and its scent inhaled without concern. However, it’s important to know that eucalyptus oil is toxic when ingested, especially to pets and children. 

Although adult humans can tolerate it in small doses, it should only be used internally under a doctor’s supervision. Consumption of eucalyptus oil can cause vomiting, confusion, and even convulsion in children.

Since you’ll probably need to prune your eucalypts plant frequently, you may want to make your own essential oil from the cuttings for skin care or aromatherapy.

Final Thoughts on Growing Eucalyptus Plants Indoors

For anyone who loves plants, growing eucalyptus plants indoors can be a rewarding and satisfying experience. Your eucalyptus will thrive with proper care, including the right amount of light, water, and humidity, and will bring a touch of nature into your home. Remember to prune and train your eucalyptus on a regular basis to keep it in shape and healthy and be aware of common pests and diseases to avoid problems.

A eucalyptus plant, with its fragrant, aromatic leaves and air-purifying properties, can be an excellent addition to any home. Why not give it a shot? Growing eucalyptus plants is a fun and easy way to bring a bit of the outdoors inside, whether you’re an experienced indoor gardener or just getting started.


Which eucalyptus plant smells best?

The fragrance of all eucalyptus varieties is very similar, although Eucalyptus citriodora has a citrusy note. Eucalyptus globulus has the strongest scent, but this species is not suitable for indoor growing due to its large size.

Do eucalyptus plants repel bugs?

Many companies use Eucalyptus citriodora oil in formulas designed to repel ticks and mosquitoes. 

Is the eucalyptus plant safe for cats?

Eucalyptus is toxic to domestic cats, and consumption can cause vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, and even seizures. 

Is the eucalyptus plant safe for dogs?

Eucalyptus is highly toxic to dogs and consumption may cause diarrhea, vomiting, depression, and weakness.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been completely updated.

3 thoughts on “Growing Eucalyptus Trees Indoors: Tips and Best Practices”

  1. James V. Jordan

    Wonderful explanation. It was really helpful for me in my personal project. This tree looks very beautiful in balcony.

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