Red Box has been widely noted for its ability to withstand dry soils for many droughty summers. It is a eucalypt with an extremely wide native range, extending from the tablelands of NSW to southern Victoria. It is a tree that will tolerate most of Victoria’s difficult sites as long as it has free drainage—in fact, it will grow well on very dry, stoney soils.
E. polyanthemos is known for its coin-shaped, blue juvenile leaves that are very waxy and stiff. These leaves are not damaged by hot winds in the Australian summer and contrast well with the dark, reddish brown, furrowed bark. Red Box is often considered slow-growing, but if it is irrigated appropriately over the first 2 years and planted into a well-drained organic site, it can grow as quickly as 1200mm per year.
In the nursery it can be difficult to grow E. polyanthemos with a straight, tapered trunk. Metropolitan Tree Growers Pty Ltd. grow straight Red Box by staking, but the stake is removed early in the growing season so that the tree will develop the appropriate stem taper.
Typical mature height: to 20m
Useful in: avenues, parks, broad streets
Sites for best growth: most, well-drained & gravelly