The eucalyptus preissiana, or locally known bell-fruited mallee, is an exceptional eucalyptus cultivar ideal for those home gardeners looking for a small to medium tree.
Smaller yet just as resilient, this slower growing tree is perfect for on patios or in smaller back gardens. It’s gorgeous, yellow blooms will also attract plenty of wildlife to your backyard.
Here’s our growing and care guide for the eucalyptus preissiana tree.
What Is a Mallee Tree?
Common Name: Bell fruited mallee
Flower Colour: Yellow
Foliage Colour: Green
Growth Habit: Shrub 3m+
The preissiana tree is known more commonly as the bell-fruited mallee tree. Mallee, being an aboriginal name referring to its characteristic swollen trunk base, making it slightly different from the usual eucalyptus tree.
Bell fruited mallee are only one of the mallee types we find in Australia. Eucalyptus trees form part of the gum tree family and this cultivar is mostly found in South West regions of Australia.
While the preissiana is a fairly tough tree, it is quite difficult to maintain in tropical areas. The standout eucalyptus preissiana features would have to be its bright, beautifully yellow flowers, which bloom into a burst of stamens.
It’s umbrella-like leaf canopy consists of oval, blue-green, blunt-tipped leaves, between which you’ll find bell-shaped seed pods. Hence, ‘bell-fruited’ mallee.
How to Grow Eucalyptus Preissiana
Growing on average only 2 to 3 meters in height, the eucalyptus preissiana tree can be grown in more confined spaces, and even pots. As this tree needs lots of sun during the day, it is not recommended planting it too close to any walls.
When it comes to your soil, preissiana trees like sandy or gravel heavy soil. Some experts have a thin layer of soil over a clay base as the ideal growing medium. As long as your soil is quick-draining, you should be okay.
Should you be planting somewhere where temperatures can drop, it is recommended to mulch your soil before planting to keep the soil from freezing. More so, avoid planting young trees during the winter time as young plants will need plenty of sunshine and warmth.
Propagation should be carried out at the beginning of spring, and if enough growth, re-plant before mid-autumn.
Propagating Eucalyptus Preissiana from Seed
As with most eucalyptus trees, the preissiana is easiest propagated from seed. While seeds can be harvested directly from a tree, some may be entirely dormant. For 100% germination guarantee, purchase your seeds from a local supplier.
To sew your seeds simply:
- Sow seeds directly onto the surface of a porous seeding mix. Do not push your seed into the soil.
- Water thoroughly, this will allow your seed to lodge.
- Sprinkle a light layer of soil over the seed. Be sure not to completely cover in soil.
- Store in a warm, semi-shaded area.
- Mist your seedling regularly and keep it warm.
Seedlings usually germinate between 10 to 28 day. However, don’t be too hasty if you think your seed hasn’t taken. Sometimes, if the conditions aren’t 100% right, seeds will wait for better conditions to germinate.
How to Plant Your Preissiana Tree
It’s always a good idea to prepare your soil before planting, whether in a pot or in the ground. To plant your preissiana tree, simply:
- Dig out a hole which is at least 4 times the size of the root ball.
- Thereafter, use a pitch fork to loosen the edges of the hole.
- Remove your preissiana from its container, carefully shaking the roots loose, without damaging the root ball.
- Then, position your root ball into the hole with the best side of your tree facing the front.
- Backfill the rest of the soil and pat down the soil around the base.
Staking is not always necessary with preissiana as it is a smaller tree. However, in areas with lots of wind, a low-stake during the first few years of growth is recommended. Thereafter, remove the stake entirely.
How to Care for Eucalyptus Preissiana Tree
The key care components for the bell fruited mallee are watering, fertilising and pruning. If you keep up with those, you’ll enjoy a beautiful blooming plant with fairly little hassles.
Regular, consistent watering is vital in the first year of growth. In the summer of its first year, water as much as twice a week.
Once your bell fruited mallee tree is fully established you can cut back on supplementary water entirely, unless it is a particularly hot and dry season.
Before planting, it’s recommended to feed your soil with a slow-release fertiliser which will help promote root and plant growth.
Young plants enjoy the occasional fertilisation with a high-phosphorous fertiliser. Older plants will only require a general purpose fertiliser, perhaps every few years.
Learn more about fertilisers in our garden fertiliser guide.
This eucalyptus cultivar enjoys hard pruning. It helps to rejuvenate the plant and promote more budding. Pinch back large stems, and remove dead foliage with a sharp pair of shears.
Be sure to sanitize your blades between pruning to avoid the spread of any diseases. Be sure to have the right equipment for the job with our review on the best electric pruning saws for 2023.
Potential Pests & Diseases
Being a largely outdoor plant, the bell-fruited mallee tree will be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. With proper care, most can, however, be avoided.
The most common problems seem to be root rot and rhizoctonia, both caused by over-watering. Rhizoctonia is a fungus which originates in your soil.
Be sure to continually regulate your soil levels and look out for waterlogged roots. Rhizoctonia can be treated with a fungicide if detected early enough. Uncommon problems include powdery mildew and white scale. White scale can easily be scraped off.
Aphids are also a common occurrence. Luckily, aphids and other pests can be easily treated, even without the use of chemicals.
Bell Fruited Mallee Uses & Gardening Applications
The plus of the preissiana is that it has a lot of biological benefits, being extremely nectar and pollen rich. It’s glorious yellow blooms won’t only be enjoyed by you in the springtime, as the eucalyptus preissiana tree attracts a wide variety of birds, butterflies and bees.
Plus, as it is small growing, finding a space for this pretty little plant won’t be too difficult. Consider preissiana for on your patio, as a pot plant near your pool or as an eye-catching tree in your garden.
While some eucalyptus cultivars have medicinal benefits, there are none yet known for the bell fruited mallee tree. No matter, it’s beauty has a positive effect all on its own.
Preissiana blooms also make a wonderful addition to flower arrangements, fresh or dried.
Eucalyptus Preissiana Frequently Asked Questions
How tall does a Eucalyptus preissiana grow?
This plant is a mallee that will usually grow to around 3 to 5 metres tall with a sprawling habit. It also forms a lignotuber.
When does a Eucalyptus preissiana flower?
Flowering is typically in winter and spring with blooms followed by large, bell-shaped fruits.
Can Eucalyptus preissiana be grown from seed?
Most eucalypts readily germinate from seed and this species is no different. It is considered one of the easiest natives to grow from seed.
When should I prune Eucalyptus preissiana?
It is recommended to prune this plant lightly at an early age to retain a neat and compact form. Thereafter, prune annually after flowering if needed to maintain your desired shape and remove dead foliage.
If you need to rejuvenate your plant, a hard prune to near ground level will help.
See more of our Eucalyptus Series:
Finishing Our Eucalyptus Preissiana Guide
So, there you have it. Everything you’ll need to know to grow, care and propagate your very own bell fruited mallee tree. Always ensure that your soil is draining adequately between watering’s to avoid any fungal or bacterial build-up.
With regular, rigorous pruning, you’ll enjoy plenty of pretty blooms from your eucalyptus preissiana throughout spring and long into summer each and every year.