What to plant under Eucalyptus trees?

Eucalyptus or blue gum trees have been planted all over the Cape providing effective woodlots, a source of poles for fencing, food for bee’s and shade and wind breaks. I am often asked what indigenous plants can be planted under these water-sucking, fynbos bashing bullies. While I generally recommend removing them, this is often not practical as trees are not easily replaced in the Cape and should be gradually removed as indigenous trees establish. One indigenous plant that has proven tough enough to survive these Aussie canopies is Plumbago auriculata. The photo below is taken in the Grootbos garden where I planted these Plumbago’s under a row of Eucalyptus gomphocephala ten years ago. The Eucalyptus provide shade, a green screen and a home for hundreds of Cape Weaver birds each spring but surpressed all undergrowth resulting in a barren, wind-swept sandy floor. The Plumbago has done a great job in filling this gap and flowers through the dry summer months when little else is flowering.

Plumbago auriculata and Eucalyptus gomphocephala on fynboshub.co.za

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