Lilly pilly basics
There are so many lilly pillies available it can be absolutely dizzying trying to choose between them. Here's some key information to help you choose the right lilly pilly variety for your garden.
Lilly pillies are native Australian trees and shrubs, with smooth glossy leaves and a dense, bushy growth habit. They are hardy and will grow happily in sun or shade and moist, well-drained soil. These features, along with the flushes of colour in new growth that most varieties display, make them a favourite for hedging and informal screening.
Acmena and syzygium varieties
There are two types of lilly pilly: Acmena and Syzygium. Acmena have more upright foliage and smaller leaves and Syzygium is sometimes troubled by psyllids. Psyllids are a pest that cause deformed new growth and create raised, pimply bumps on the leaves. If you prefer the look of Syzygiums, there are psyllid-resistant varieties, and in most cases a healthy, happy plant is not likely to be bothered by them regardless.
In the bush, lilly pillies can grow up to 30 metres tall – which is a little large for most suburban backyards! The varieties stocked in nurseries are dwarf varieties – though it’s important to remember that dwarf is a relative term and some varieties still grow into small trees.
Lilly pilly suggestions for every garden
If it’s a low hedge you’re after, Allyn Magic is a great choice. It grows to just under a metre tall and about the same width, making it very low maintenance.
If it’s more of a screen, give Resilience (also pictured in main image above) a try. Resilience is a psyllid-resistant Syzygium and grows to between two and three metres tall, the perfect height for most screens.
Aussie Boomer is a dense, fast-growing Syzygium that can grow up to three metres tall. The bright red new growth eventually turns glossy green.
A taller-growing Syzygium is Bush Christmas, which can reach up to six metres but can be maintained to one metre if pruned regularly. New foliage starts out orange before turning green. A great plant for screening, windbreaks, hedging and for pots.
Cascade is a beautiful weeping Syzygium that can grow up three metres tall. Its attractive red and pink new growth becomes glossy apple-green and gorgeous, fluffy pink flowers appear in summer attracting bees.
Acmena Cherry Surprise is a hardy and dense shrub with brilliant cherry-coloured new growth that matures to a glossy green. It can reach up to 3 metres in height and responds well to pruning in spring and summer.
Looking for more hedging options? Check out these hedging plants that grow to over two metres or these plants perfect for a hedge up to one metre tall.
For more lilly pilly varieties and advice on what will best suit your needs, drop into your local Flower Power for a chat with one of our horticulturists.