In today’s post we’ll talk about how to care for fresh eucalyptus so it lasts as long as possible and dries nicely too!
Eucalyptus, specifically the most traditionally shaped variety with the pale leaves all lined up the stem, has been having a moment for a little while now. You can find it pictured on pillows and in art prints, and there are many different versions of faux eucalyptus that can be purchased, but if I’m being honest, none of them are really all that good. Fresh eucalyptus is definitely the way to go. I think a lot of people are a bit nervous about bringing the real stuff into their homes when they see it at the flower shop, though because they believe that they’ll kill it immediately and it will be a big waste of money and a big hassle. So let’s talk about how to properly care for fresh eucalyptus so that doesn’t happen to you.
Pictured above: Cabinetry is by Kraftmaid in the color “Greyloft”, faucet is the Weymouth Collection by Moen.
Best Types of Eucalytptus for Greenery Centerpieces and Decorations
Eucalyptus is a bit of a botanical wonder because it comes in so many different varieties with so many leaf shapes and growing patterns, but they all have that amazingly fresh fragrance and a certain elegance to them. “Euc” as I’ve heared it called by my local florists, is a popular filler in floral designs, and you’ll often see floral designers use it paired with roses or in a hydrangea arrangement for a classic look. Seeded eucalyptus has a romantic, draping look to it with elongated leaves and seed pods, while spiral eucalyptus gives a completely different look with its large, round eucalyptus leaves and upright growing pattern. If you’ve seen a type of eucalyptus with finer, pointed leaves that look beautiful and fresh in a vase, it’s probably gunni eucalyptus, as that’s been a popular variety recently in home decor.
Eucalytpus arrangements are a delight for all occasions year-round. They’re fresh smelling and soothing in spring and summer, and adding them to winter or autumn arrangements is always unexpected and charming. Eucalyptus essential oils are popular for aromatherapy and are often used in a diffuser because of their antiseptic and antibacterial properties to help with a cough or colds.
Does Eucalyptus Need Water?
If you think buying fresh eucalyptus is too fancy and extravagant, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Caring for eucalyptus is easy and it’s much like caring for anything else you’d buy at the florist, but without the part where things get all sad and messy and dead.
Here’s how to keep eucalyptus fresh: A lot of the time people buy eucalyptus with the intention of drying it, and of course that’s a great thing to do, but in my experience, it’s best if you put your eucalyptus in a vase of water first if at all possible. For optimal freshness, remove any leaves from the eucalyptus stems that will fall below the water line of your arrangement to prevent sliminess and keep your foliage its freshest for as long as possible.
If your vase is clear, you’ll notice that after a few days without watering, your eucalyptus will turn the water into a kind of “tea”. Eucalyptus almost always makes the water dark, but it actually really doesn’t harm it at all, and you don’t even necessarily need to change the water at this point unless you think the brown water is ugly and you want to freshen it up for visual reasons. With fresh cut flowers, murky water is usually a bad sign and can lead to your flowers fading more quickly, but the dark eucalyptus water doesn’t really affect anything. The stems in your vases will remain beautifully blue-green and fragrant.
Drying Fresh Eucalyptus
Even if you intend on drying your eucalyptus and keeping it for the long term to enjoy its aromatic properties in hanging bunches or a wreath, putting it in water when you first bring it home is a good idea. Arranging your fresh eucalyptus bouquet in water actually helps it dry more slowly and prevents the leaves from warping and wrinkling during the drying process.
The eucalyptus will actually dry perfectly on its own, right in the water. All you need to do is remove the water from the vase after the eucalyptus has dried on its own, usually in about 10-14 days. Or if you’re using a vase that isn’t see-through, feel free to leave the water in until it evaporates. No one will know, and the eucalyptus will still look perfect and give off a lovely scent, making it a great alternative to scented candles.
Once your fresh eucalyptus is dry, you can either leave it on display in the vase or even do something more creative, like hang it from your shower for a fun spa-like experience at home.
What are your favorite uses for eucalyptus around your home?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.