A neat, dwarf and hardy eucalyptus - sounds impossible doesn’t it? But plant breeders continue to spring surprises and the arrival of Eucalyptus gunnii France Bleu ('Rengun') is exactly that, a nice surprise.
We appreciate E. gunnii for its evergreen silvery foliage, its famous aroma and its beautifully patterned bark. It’s amongst the hardiest of all eucalypts but grows far too large, far too quickly, for most gardens. E. gunnii France Bleu ('Rengun') reaches 2m in height, the usual form of E. gunnii can grow 2m a year!
This means that for the first time we can enjoy the foliage colour and aroma on a eucalyptus that will fit into most gardens. It can be treated in two ways.
At its simplest, you can simply plant this new dwarf eucalyptus in a sunny and well-drained site and allow it to do its thing. In its first year it will produce rounded, silvery-blue evergreen foliage but without pruning in later years the leaves will be sickle shaped and sage green.
Alternatively, prune the plant back to about 15cm every spring to produce straight shoots carrying rounded leaves that are ideal for cutting. And eucalyptus is one of the longest-lasting foliage plants to cut for the house. France Bleu can also be grown in a large container, using either approach.
France Bleu was spotted amongst thousands of seedlings of E. gunnii by French nurseryman Jean Renault on his nursery in northwest France in 2009. Cuttings were taken in spring 2011 and the plant assessed to ensure that its dwarf habit was consistent as numbers were bulked up for it to be made available to gardeners across Europe. It is now offered by mail order in Britain.
You can order plants of Eucalyptus gunnii France Bleu ('Rengun') from Hayloft Plants.
Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author, which are not necessarily those of the RHS