Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Sublime™ Acmena smithii ‘DOW30’ PBR (image supplied by Ozbreed)
Plant Palette

Lush, low-fuss Lilly Pillies

By Daniel Fuller

Are you a landscape designer, nursery grower, horticulturist or council decision maker who loves beautiful natives that require minimal upkeep?

Lilly Pillies, which are plants in the Syzygium, Acmena (now reclassified as Syzygium) and Waterhousea genera, are native shrubs and trees beloved for their resilience, versatility, as well as their beautiful glossy leaves, fluffy flowers and edible fruits.

From ultra narrow spaces, to limited substrate or planter box sizes, fire risks, to regular hedges and screening, or simply as a street or shade tree, the following will help provide solutions for your clients. These Lilly Pillies can be top pruned so height can be as desired from 2m or taller.

Straight and Narrow™ Syzygium australe ‘SAN01’ PBR

Straight and Narrow™ Syzygium australe 'SAN01' PBR (image supplied by Ozbreed)
Straight and Narrow™ Syzygium australe ‘SAN01’ PBR (image supplied by Ozbreed)

Straight and Narrow™ Syzygium features those typical glossy Syzygium  leaves, slender growth habit and fuzzy white flowers that turn to pink/red fruits. If your climate is cold and dry, this is a Lilly Pilly that will do much better than tropical varieties.

This is the perfect courtyard tree, with its upright, column-like growth habit. It is resistant to psyllids and is perfect for columnar shapes in topiary.

Plant closely together for a fast-growing hedge along front gardens, pool fences, or tennis courts. Each plant will grow to around 2-8m tall x 1.5m wide.

Pinnacle™ Syzygium australe ‘AATS’ PBR

Pinnacle™ Syzygium is another narrow-growing native tree that offers great screening for well-drained garden positions with full sun or part shade. It also does well in colder, dry regions of the country.

Pinnacle™ Syzygium australe 'AATS' PBR (image supplied by Ozbreed)
Pinnacle™ Syzygium australe ‘AATS’ PBR (image supplied by Ozbreed)

Pinnacle™ Syzygium is a robust plant but is susceptible to psyllids, especially when it is young. These pests can be prevented by proper watering and care but are easily treated with horticultural oil and biological controls when they appear.

New growth is reddish, turning dark green as the leaves mature in the cooler seasons. This variety will grow faster and slightly taller than Straight and Narrow™ Syzygium with a mature height of up to 10m x 1.5m wide.

Sublime™ Acmena smithii ‘DOW30’ PBR

Sublime™ Acmena smithii ‘DOW30’ PBR (image supplied by Ozbreed)
Sublime™ Acmena smithii ‘DOW30’ PBR (image supplied by Ozbreed)

Sublime™ Acmena is another mid-sized Lilly Pilly variety that boasts refreshing lime new growth and dense foliage. Unlike many Lilly Pillies, which prefer well-drained soil, this one doesn’t mind heavy loams.

Not only is this Lilly Pilly extremely psyllid and calypso beetle resistant, it’s also highly myrtle rust resistant. If you live in an area with myrtle rust, it’s important to choose a variety like this so that your Lilly Pillies aren’t doomed to a short lifespan.

While it flowers profusely in summer, it rarely produces messy berries, meaning you won’t need to clear them up as often around entries and walkways.

Growing to 5m tall x 3m wide with foliage to the ground, it’s ideal as a feature tree, in topiary or as a screen. This variety has a wider spread and is not as tall as the previous two plants.

These Lilly Pilly varieties bring lush green vibes to any garden, large or small. They’re low maintenance, pest and disease-resistant, and offer a tight growth habit that’s perfect for screening, topiary or as a feature tree within your next project.

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