Gum trees on the whole get way too tall for suburban gardens (as I found out in my first garden when I planted an innocent-looking Eucalyptus nicholii sapling near the house. Needless to say, I lived to regret it.) Fortunately, these days the gorgeous West Australian flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia) has been used as one of the parents (one of the others being Corymbia ptychocarpa) of grafted, hybrid specimens that can cope with Sydney's humid climate and they are quite compact trees, growing to about 5-6 m tall, with an open branching habit, forming a dense irregular, rounded canopy. They are quite spectacular in full bloom in the summer. The best-known cultivars are 'Summer Beauty', which has pink blooms, and 'Summer Red' which has vibrant scarlet flowers. The intricacy of the blooms is simply exquisite. Other coloured forms are becoming available, including orange, white and various shades of pink and red.
After blooming, large woody seedpods form, which are also attractive, but one school of thought is that these shouldn't be allowed to develop - rather that the deadheads be removed as soon as flowering is over, to promote a more compact tree and a more floriferous tree next year. Tip pruning the branches when the tree is young can also help to create a denser form. If a taller tree is wanted, the lower-growing branches can be removed. Check the graft union at the base of the tree and remove any shoots coming from below this point, as these may take over and ruin the tree. These evergreen trees like a sunny position with well-drained soil. They grow fairly quickly and are reportedly drought tolerant once established. They can cope with light frosts but need to be protected from them in their early life. Pruning is unnecessary except to remove lower branches if required. The flowers attract nectar-eating birds and bees.