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Eucalyptus parvula - Small leaved Gum

Extremely hardy down to -20 °C, one of the very hardiest of the Eucalypts.  A fantastic adaptable species, with many uses. It has neat little leaves and has a more compact habit than most of the other species. Grows into a small elegant tree of semi-weeping habit, ultimately with a broad spreading crown.  Call us on 0751 526 1511 for help in choosing your Eucalyptus.   

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Nursery Notes: Spring 2018

- 3 litre are now approximately 1.0 - 1.3m tall

- 5 litre trees are around 1.1 to 1.4m tall

- 12 litre standards ready again in mid summer

- 12 litre multi-stemmed plants (are an additional year older) are now ready at around 30-40cm tall.  These should grow a further 1.0-1.2m this year.

- Large 20 litre feathered standards: ready again in July 2018 - call me if you would like further information and price on shipping


Botanical Name: Eucalyptus parvula (formerly parvifolia)   MYRTACEÆ; Myrtle Family

Common Name: Small-leaved Gum, Kybean Gum 

Status: Evergreen Tree                      

Origin: New South Wales, Victoria  The botanists recently renamed this species E. parvula, because E. parvifolia was used to describe a Eucalyptus fossil record in 1895 and therefore cannot be used to name the modern living species.

I love this note from Euclid about the Australian distribution of E. parvula:"A small tree of restricted but scattered distribution on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales east of Cooma, from near Badja south to Dragon Swamp near Cathcart, preferring damp cold sites on grassy plains."

How can you resist a tree that hails from a place called Dragon Swamp?

Why we like this variety:-

  • Excellent small to medium sized evergreen tree
  • Beautiful leaves and bark
  • Slow growing for a Eucalyptus, prunable, neat habit
  • Tolerates very difficult, poor soil conditions
  • Extremely hardy

Description, habit,  uses and attributes:  A very versatile, adaptable Eucalyptus with many attributes.  E. parvula deserves to be more frequently planted, many gardeners don't realise how good a species it is.
Small tree: ideal for the smaller garden, which cannot accommodate a large Eucalyptus. An interesting variety, it has neat little leaves and a more compact habit than most of the other species; once described in our nursery as being like an alpine Hebe on steroids!  Short term (first year), it forms a tall shrub.  The following year, it grows into a small elegant tree of semi-weeping habit, ultimately with a broad spreading crown, where it retains some of its juvenile foliage (unusual for Eucalypts).  
Cut foliage for floral art: E. parvula forms a lignotuber and it responds well to coppicing; both juvenile and adult foliage are cut for foliage and used for flower arranging.  Produces long useful stems in a blue-sage green hue.

Windbreak: plant in groups to create shelter from biting winds

Privacy Screen: It responds well to pruning and forms a good hedge/screen (2-3 m tall). The recommended planting distance between each plant is about 1.8-2.0 m, for a hedge screen.

Patio Plant: Being slow growing, E. parvula lends itself to being grown in a container for your terrace or courtyard garden: use a large air-pot  to keep its roots happy.

Domestic firewood production:  if coppiced every 5-8 years, E. parvula will produce a log about 5 inches (125mm) in diameter - just right for your log burner.


Shoots 'n Leaves: Young stems/shoots are often a maroon colour

Juvenile leaves can vary in shape and are usually quite small, blue green in colour, sometimes edged in maroon.

Adult leaves: smaller than most Eucalyptus and pointed, but quite variable and not usually longer than 75 mm.

Bark: lovely, tactile, smooth bark in a golden biscuit to coffee colour with some violet-grey and foxy-russet, shredding in the upper tree branches

Flowers: Flowers white in groups of 7.

Leaf Aroma: fresh Eucalyptus

Rate of Growth: relatively slow growing at around 1 m per year

Height in maturity, if left unpruned:  eventually around 10 m, but can be pruned to keep it a good deal shorter or coppiced/pollarded every 5-8 years and grown as a multi-stemmed specimen. 

Hardiness: Extremely hardy down to -16 to -18°C.  Eucalyptus parvula, along with E. gunnii, is one of the very hardiest of the Eucalypts, even though neither are snow gums.  Please note that young trees are more susceptible to frost damage at low temperatures; hardiness improves with age.
Planting Position and Soil Preference: a very adaptable species, tolerating a reasonable degree of exposure.  Thrives on a wide range of soils types.  E. parvula will grow in intermittently boggy, poor infertile, soils and  is also tolerant of alkaline (limey) ground.  It grows very well for us on our cold, swampy, alkaline clay.  It withstands quite high temperatures if kept well watered, but we're not sure this last point is relevant to the climate of the UK!


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