Strawberry Gum - How to grow Eucalpytus olida



    Strawberry Gum, or Eucalyptus olida is one of the newest identified eucalyptus species found in only a small pocket of Australia. The unique flavour comes from the oil-dense leaves which taste fruity, basil-like, and unlike anything you've tried before. It's one of our favourites, and a very rare plant to come by. 

      Origin

      Strawberry Gum was indentified as a new species in the early 1990s, and has since grown in popularity as a native ingredient favoured in food manufacturing and distillation. It's rarity has made it very sought after with only a handful of people growing and harvesting them (all by hand). It was first discovered in the Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales in a national park. Apart from the national park, there is one freehold property where Strawberry Gum is naturally found. This makes it one of the most rare Eucalypt species in Australia.


       There is little-to-no evidence regarding its historical use. There have been claims that it was chewed by early colonizers and Aboriginal People in recent times, with no oral or written evidence to substantiate this. 


      Most research with the species centres around chemical composition, more evidence to its story is needed.


        A young Strawberry Gum tree in a permaculture setting in Victoria

        Photo: Melbourne Bushfood

        IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:

        This plant grows to over 30 metres and may not be suited to direct planting in suburban settings. Strawberry Gum is also exceptionally high in oils making it extremely combustable during bushfires. 

        Good for:

        - Beginners

        - Pots

        - Balcony

        - Frost

        Water

        High
        Water

        Sunlight

        Part shade/full sun

        Size

        30m+ high

        Planting

        Planting in pots

        Planting Strawberry Gum is pots is recommended. Strawberry Gum grows quickly and can cause damage if planted close to houses. 


        Use a high-quality, premium potting mix. Plant in a pot approximately 4-6 times the size of the tube it arrives in. Repot after the plant's roots appear underneath in a pot 4 times the size of that pot. 


        Strawberry Gum trees grow in a twisted, non-symetrical patterns. To grow as a tree, we suggest growing along a bamboo cane to condition it into an upright plant. For a shrub, do not provide a bamboo stake. 


        Planting in soil
        Before planting in the ground, consider the area. The plant will grow to over 30 metres so do not plant next to buildings. The oil-rich leaves combust easy in bushfires. 


        Dig a hole the same size as the tube your Strawberry Gum arrives in. Break up the soil at the base of the planting hole. Mix in compost and slow releasing native plant fertilizer. Ensure the soil level of the plant is slightly higher than the ground to allow for sinkage. Water well with liquid compost or seaweed. 


        They are unique in that they naturally grow in regions where the temperature commonly reaches -10 degrees and up to 40 degrees in the summer. Therefore they grow well in a range of climates including tropical, sub-tropical, alpine and temperate climates. 


        Planting from seed
        Strawberry Gum hybridizes easily with other nearby Eucalyptus species. Many eucalyptus species are toxic and hybridization can be toxic. We suggest only buying plants from nurseries.

        Maintenace

        Watering

        Strawberry Gums require daily watering during dry and warm weather. When watering, completely soak the pot in water and let drain. To check when next to water, when the hole at the bottom of the pot has dry soil, it is time to rewater. 


        Each month, use a seaweed solution in the water mixture for optimal plant condition and health.


        Harvesting

        Strawberry Gum can be harvested immediately. The oil-rich leaves can be dried and ground into a spice for desserts, pancakes, pavlovas and other sweet applications. 


        The leaves can also be dried and used as a herbal tea. The stems and branches can be used in distillation, but are sharp and can cause injury if ingested. Make sure to remove stems, twigs, and branches before gridning the leaves into a powder. 


        Fertilizing

        Fertilize in spring with a high-quality native fertilizer. We suggest using Osmocote's native plant fertilizer. We're not sponsored but believe this is the best quality and most readily available. 


        Water monthly with a seaweed solution to maintain plant health and condition. 

        Other guides: