You might've already known about eucalyptus but have you heard of rainbow eucalyptus? The colorful eucalyptus deglupta species grows in places such as its native Papua New Guinea or Hawaii. The colors of the rainbow eucalyptus are striking, more colorful than a regular eucalyptus. These deglupta trees may be hard to locate. 

I answer important questions like: Can I grow a rainbow eucalyptus? Can it grow in California? Where are they native to? What causes rainbow eucalyptus trees? Keep reading!


As a local, I've been to Balboa Park dozens of times over the past 20+ years. It's a place I thought I knew pretty well but life always surprises you. Something about this visit was a bit different. I noticed a colorful tree. You don't find trees with rainbow bark very often. I looked at it & all of a sudden I recalled news video I've seen earlier in the week. I watched a two-minute news clip about the rainbow eucalyptus tree, which stated that you can see it various spots throughout San Diego County, including Balboa Park & the San Diego Zoo. There are tons of eucalyptus trees in San Diego but this was unique.


Just like most social media users, I absorb & consume a lot of content, so I thought it was cool but I never thought much of it. Fast forward to this one magical time I'm in the park. I saw the colorful rainbow eucalyptus tree & the video clip went through my mind. I took a couple pictures & moved on with my day exploring San Diego. That said, I cannot recall the exact geolocation but it was somewhere near the museum & building areas.

Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree in Balboa Park, San Diego California

What Causes Rainbow Eucalyptus?

The little rainbow tree grows up to be a big rainbow gum tree. No no, just kidding. The rainbow tree effect comes from the various layers of bark as they begin to oxidize & peel off. Rainbow eucalyptus trees lose their bark & thus, shades of their color, which causes the stunning rainbow look. It may take years for a tree to acquire enough layering. You'll often see shades of orange & bright green. The trunk of this magnificent eucalyptus rainbow tree is a rare, seasonal sight. The best time to witness it might be in the springtime, that's when I viewed it!

Rainbow Eucalyptus San Diego Tree in Balboa Park

Can Rainbow Eucalyptus Grow in California? 

These beautiful rainbow trees, called Eucalyptus deglupta, are native to tropical rainforest environments such as the Philippines, Indonesia, & Papua New Guinea with some rain. If you type in the phrase rainbow eucalyptus tree into Google, the image shown depicts the tree in some pretty wild colors. That is not at all the type of wild, natural version I saw in Balboa Park, San Diego area. I have to guess that many images online are heavily edited to include a range of colors. 

In Maui, Hawaii you'll find the Eucalyptus deglupta, also known as the Mindanao Gum or the Rainbow Gum tree. You'll find these remarkable painted eucalyptus trees on Hana Highway as well as Ke’anae Arboretum. Rainbow eucalyptus trees with rainbow bark aren't easy to search for. The Eucalyptus deglupta is quite a sight with shades bright green & orange! Hawaii is the perfect place for these trees since they thrive in a frost-free, tropical environment.

Can rainbow eucalyptus grow in California? Technically yes because they are growing in places like Balboa Park & the San Diego Zoo. However, it'll be harder to find rainbow eucalyptus seeds, bonsai, or seedling. One thing to remember: it's definitely not a house plant as eucalyptus can grow over 100 feet tall. You might be able to find the seeds online like on Amazon.

If you're in the San Diego area, here's a list of things to do in Oceanside, California: restaurants, coffee shops, what to see, & here's a list of things to do in Encinitas, California.
Where Can You See Rainbow Eucalyptus? Balboa Park San Diego California

Where Can You See Rainbow Eucalyptus?

You'll spot it on Maui, Hawaii, some places in Southern California & San Diego like the Zoo or Balboa Park. It can be found in the Philippines, Indonesia, & Papua New Guinea. It can take years for the colorful rainbow effect to develop. These are your best best for finding the trees!

Can I Grow a Rainbow Eucalyptus?

The bark is one of its most notable features & that's what makes it so popular. However, these aren't easy plants. If you can potentially find the seeds or a seedling, you can certainly try. It is possible to be planted. The trees don't grow everywhere so it might be easier said than done. It will be hard to grow the tree in a place where it is not naturally native. Conditions such as the soil & humidity may make a huge difference. They tend to thrive in a frost-free environment. You might be able to find the seeds online someplace like Amazon.

These are some pretty cool trees that can be found in various places in the world. They aren't new but they are somewhat rare. It's one of those things you have to see in real life order to appreciate & know its beauty. The way the bark peels is nature at its finest. Enjoy the sight if you see one in person! I can't believe I walked by one right when they were in season with its bark chipping off to slowly reveal the layers of colors underneath. As a gardening enthusiast, it was a joy to see one up close. 

Have you seen trees with rainbow bark before? Let me know in the comments if you know where to view these in your city? Maybe we can compile a list! :]