The eucalyptus deglupta, known as rainbow eucalyptus, is a tree without equal. It is cultivated for its decorative trunk which has the particularity of changing color over time! The rainbow eucalyptus is a colorful tree native of the Philippines, more precisely the island of Mindanao.
This species then gradually spread to French Polynesia, New Guinea, and New Britain, mainly for paper production. It is considered one of the most beautiful trees in the world.
Why a rainbow color?
The rainbow eucalyptus has the particularity of permanently losing (and at different times) the ends of its bark, which breaks off into long, thin strips, revealing a trunk that changes color over time. First pale green, then blue, purple, orange and finally brown, its trunk is a mosaic of colors giving the appearance of a real rainbow!
One would swear that a painter wiped his brushes there, but his colors are indeed natural. “Degluptere” also means “peeling” in Latin. Each tree loses its bark ends at a different rate, so each rainbow eucalyptus has different colored patterns. Similarly, each specimen sees its bark continuously changing color during its life.
This tree is mainly cultivated for its decorative multicolored trunk. It is also used, almost everywhere in the world, to make pulp. This variety of eucalyptus is the only one (among more than 900 species) that does not produce essential oil. Rainbow eucalyptus grows very quickly and can reach up to 75 meters high! Its growth rate is about 3 meters/year. It is decorated with white-yellow flowers gathered in panicles along the branches. Its oval-shaped leaves are persistent.
How to grow rainbow eucalyptus?
Although it is found in humid tropical areas, rainbow eucalyptus supports many types of soil. This tree appreciates good exposure to the sun and frequent watering. It is very sensitive to cold (it dies below 2°C) and will therefore not be suitable for European gardens.
You can, however, grow it as a bonsai. It is then necessary to protect it from the cold by keeping it inside. If you want to start growing rainbow eucalyptus, it’s possible. Seeds are available for sale.
You will need to sow in a pot and place the pot at a temperature between 20°C and 25°C. Make sure there is good drainage. It takes 10 to 20 days for the seeds to emerge. As soon as the plants reach 3 to 4 leaves, transplant them into a bucket and place them in full sunlight. Always keep the substrate moist. When their height reaches between 20 and 50 cm, you can plant them in their final location. It takes about 2-3 years after sowing to see the first discoloration of the trunk.
Although rainbow eucalyptus is a fragile tree, it is resistant to insects and parasites. It is very successful in Hawaii where the climate is favorable. It was introduced there in 1929 as part of a reforestation plan. These species are a real tourist attraction as their trunk is so sumptuous.
Source: l’eucalyptus arc-en-ciel
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