Eucalyptus kruseana, or Bookleaf Mallee, is a tree-like shrub with unusually arranged blue-green leaves. Many folks are familiar with the leaves or flowers, used extensively in flower arrangements. The greenish white flowers appear in winter, clustered among the leaves, on plants that have been in place about two years.
E. kruseana is supposed to do well in Phoenix heat. For some reason, I have not had good luck with this Eucalypt species planted in my garden, so I’m growing this one in a container. Several nursery sources maintain that E. Kruseana will not do well in containers, but so far, so good. It is currently over five feet tall and may reach a height of 10 feet.
This shrub needs deep watering about once a week in summer, and every three weeks in winter. It supposedly does best in full sun, but that hasn’t been true in my experience so I have it located in a sunny, but sheltered, southwest-facing spot on my patio. E. kruseana is semi-hardy in Phoenix. Temperatures below 28ºF can cause damage.
Even though E. kruseana is a shrub suited to our USDA Zone 9b, it is relatively rare in gardens here. When used as a landscape shrub or small tree, it usually doesn’t last more than a season or two for some reason. Most gardeners in this region resort to growing E. kruseana in containers, regardless of the caveats of the expert nursery sources. Sometimes gardeners know best, especially with regard to their own gardens.