Strawberry Gum - Eucalpytus olida - Care Guide
Strawberry Gum, or Eucalyptus olida is a recently identified eucalyptus species found in only a small, remote pocket of Australia. The unique flavour comes from the oil-dense leaves which taste fruity, perfumey, and unlike anything you've tried before. It's one of our favourites, and a very rare plant to come by.
Strawberry Gum was identified 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.
It is unsure how First Nations People used the leaves but could have been used in cooking, tea and medicine. Today, this amazing plant is used in various dishes, from cakes and desserts to savoury dishes like meats and seafood.
Image © Melbourne Bushfood
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 combustible during bushfires.
|Botanical Name||Eucalyptus olida|
|Size Plant:||30m +|
|Frost Tolerance:||Frost tolerant.|
|Drought Tolerance:||Does not handle drought.|
Loamy or clay soil.
|Pots:||Does well short-term (1-2 years) in pots.|
|Feeding:||Feed a high-quality native plant food every 6 months.|
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.
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 re-water.
Each month, use a seaweed solution in the water mixture for optimal plant condition and health.
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 grinding the leaves into a powder.
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.