Eucalyptus plants are well-known, Aussie natives and many provide an excellent ornamental plant for low-maintenance gardens.
The eucalyptus rhodantha, more commonly known as the rose mallee, is a fantastic offering from the eucalyptus with blooms that look like they’ve come straight out of a sci-fi movie.
This low-spreading flora is quickly grown and requires very little maintenance once established, making it an ideal option for beginner growers.
Here is our growing and care guide for the eucalyptus rhodantha.
Eucalyptus Rhodantha - Rose Mallee
Many eucalyptus plants are better known as mallee trees, and the Rhodantha, rose mallee or rose gum has afforded its name from it’s gorgeous red and pink blooms.
This evergreen perennial forms part of the Myrtaceae family and the sub-family myrtoidae. This specific cultivar is usually found along the Wheatbelt of Western Australia; however, it has now become very rare to see in nature.
The eucalyptus rhodantha is considered a threatened species, as outlined by the Commonwealth’s Endangered Species Protection Act of 1992. Still, it seems to have risen in popularity in residential areas.
This wonderfully exciting eucalyptus is considered to be a smaller, spreading tree with intriguing, horizontally growing, bluish-grey branches and bright red blooms.
How to Grow Eucalyptus Rhodantha
The eucalyptus Rhodantha plant is, in fact, one of the easiest grown Australian natives and propagation from seed is mostly successful. It is used to warmer climates, so it enjoys plenty of sun and well-draining soil.
With the right conditions, the eucalyptus Rhodantha plant can grow as tall as 4 metres high. However, it is considered more of a spreader than a tall grower.
Can You Grow Eucalyptus in Pots?
Some cultivars are large-growing, however, the rhodantha is perfectly suited for container growing. You will need to ensure your container is in a sunny spot and that your potting mix is extremely well-draining.
How to Propagate Eucalyptus Rhodantha from Seed
Seeds propagation is best suited for this type of eucalyptus and should be done in spring or autumn. The rose mallee struggles to germinate when it is either extremely hot or cold. Optimum germination temperature is between 18° to 22°C.
We recommend purchasing your seeds from a licensed supplier for optimal results.
To sow, simply:
- Place your seed on the top of a porous seeding mix. Sprinkle with a fine layer of seeding mix, taking care not to cover the seed fully.
- Give it a good water, allowing the seed to lodge itself.
- Keep the soil semi-moist by regular misting, taking care not to dislodge the seed.
Germination will take anywhere between 10 to 28 days. Some seeds may take longer, so don’t be too hasty to throw seeds away if you do not see results.
Can You Root Eucalyptus Cuttings in Water?
While this is not an ideal method, it is possible to root your cutting in water. You will need to make a cutting of 8-12 centimetres, just underneath the node. Then, remove all lower leaves from the cutting.
After that, you can leave the cutting in a water glass for a few days to begin rooting. After a week, plant into a porous potting mix.
How to Plant Your Eucalyptus Rhodantha?
It is not recommended to plant your Rhodantha outside if it is a cold season. Young plants will need to be protected from the cold.
Once the weather is warmer, you can either move your pots outside or plant your Rhodantha directly into your garden.
You’ll need to:
- Dig a hole at least twice the size of your previous container.
- Backfill until your desired depth. This loose soil will help your Rhodantha roots grow with ease.
- Place your plant in the hole and fill.
- Mulch around the base stem to suppress any weeds.
It is recommended to feed your young plants with some extra phosphorous to encourage vigorous root growth.
How to Care for Your Eucalyptus Rhodantha Plant
While growing eucalyptus Rhodantha might take a little effort, after that it will require very little maintenance other than some semi-occasional pruning and watering.
This cultivar is remarkably drought-tolerant, and over-watering will quickly lead to problems like root rot. It will need very little water, and if kept outside, natural rainfall will give it all the water it may need.
Pest & Disease Problems
The eucalyptus rhondata plant is quite sensitive to herbicides and pesticides sprays. Hence, it’s important only to make use of natural repellents should you notice any unwanted insects or an overgrowth of weeds.
Eucalyptus beetles, or long-horned borers, can become a problem if not treated. You’ll notice a beetle infestation by large oval-shaped holes in your leaves.
The most common problem of the rose mallee is a root-rot fungus, primarily caused by over-watering. Depending on the rot’s severity, you can either cut-back on watering or will need to re-plant your rose mallee and discard the affected soil.
Rose Mallee Uses and Landscaping Applications
The Rhodantha really does make a great feature plant for any garden, especially for those who want a low-maintenance plant.
While it is mostly grown in residential areas for its attractive foliage, it has also been known to be used as a screening plant or windbreaker. Plus, it’s root-systems can help with soil erosion.
This cultivar is also particularly slope-tolerant due to its fibrous root system, making it quite adaptable in various garden types.
More so, the rose mallee is a well-known nesting plant for native birds and provides nectar-rich pollen, which will support local honey production.
Not only will you have an eye-catching addition to your garden, but you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of little visitors, including birds, bees and even some rabbits.
You will want to note that the rose mallee, along with many other trees, has a strong fragrance emitted from the leaves. Some people enjoy the smell. However, some may find it an issue.
Summing Up Our Eucalyptus Rhodantha Guide
Wherever you decide to grow your eucalyptus Rhodantha plant, you’ll be guaranteed plenty of visual splendour throughout most of the year. Throughout it’s growing cycle, keep in mind that it’s a drought-tolerant plant and requires very little water.
To add some excitement to your garden and support this endangered species, start growing your eucalyptus Rhodantha plant today!