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Foliage for cut flowers - what do the Florists use? Part 1

Foliage is the unsung hero of a floral bouquet, as well as being ‘just’ a filler, foliage provides a backdrop and highlights the flowers used in floral arrangements, also helps in setting the theme for an event so they are indeed an important choice!

In this blog, I am only concentrating on Eucalyptus foliage and will be writing another article on others in the future!

Eucalyptus foliage is one of the most hardy and easy to grow choices as well as being widely used in Floristry for the leaves, buds, flowers and seed capsules/seed pods but as these are often promoted using generic common names, common names only used in Floristry or trademarked as new names, which causes some confusion when you are looking to grow the foliage yourself, rather than just buy it from a supplier. There are heaps of other foliage options available, many being Australian native as well as exotic species

Over the years I have been trying my best to decipher the florist code and hopefully I have been successful in finding the right common name to fit with its botanical name, this way more of us can buy the right plants for foliage. If I’ve made any errors, I sincerely apologise in advance!

These are some of the most popular Eucalypt foliage varieties, great juvenile foliage with interesting colour, form and texture.

Eucalyptus cinerea - Argyle Apple aka Silver Dollar

Eucalyptus glaucescens - Tingiringi Gum aka True Blue

Eucalyptus globulus ssp bicostata - Southern Blue Gum aka Gum Drop

Eucalyptus gunnii - Cider Gum aka Baby Blue

Eucalyptus perriniana - Spinning Gum/Round Leaved Snow Gum aka Spiral Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus orbifolia - Round Leaved Mallee aka Round Leaf Gum

Eucalyptus parvula previously known as E. parvifolia (aka parvafolia in floristry) - Small Leaved Gum aka Parvafolia / Parviflolia

Eucalyptus pulverulenta - Silver Leaved Mountain Gum aka Baby Blue

Eucalyptus rubida - Candlebark Gum aka Red Stemmed Gum

Florists also use something called ‘Seeded Eucalyptus’ which is not actually the seeds but the unopened flowers, almost any species can be used for this although it is only available seasonally and if you are specifically cutting for foliage, your plant will not be forming much in the flower department due to lack of growth.

Eucalypts are also used for their bigger buds and/or seed pods, some favourites include

Eucalyptus kruseana - Bookleaf Mallee

Eucalyptus preissiana - Bell Fruited Mallee

Eucalyptus tetraptera - Square Fruited Mallee

And don’t forget about their flowers!

Corymbia ficifolia - Red flowering Gum

Corymbia ptychocarpa - Swamp Bloodwood

Eucalyptus caesia ssp magna - Silver Princess

Eucalyptus macrocarpa - Mottlecah Gum

Whatever your garden size, there is a Eucalyptus species that will suit your needs and adds colour, texture and also attracts birds, bees, butterflies and other insects with their gorgeous blooms. Why not start growing your own and make your own flower/foliage arrangements picked straight from your own patch!

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