Syzygium Australe
lilly pilly
Care Guide

The Lilly Pilly plant family is a versatile group of trees and shrubs predominantly found along the eastern coastline of Australia. These plants are highly sought after for their soft and feathery blooms, as well as their vibrant, colourful berries. They are ideal for creating natural hedges or screens, or as an ornamental feature in pots and flower beds.

Light

For optimal growth, this plant thrives in areas that receive direct sunlight throughout the day. However, it can also adapt to partially shaded areas, with a minimum of half a day’s exposure to sunlight. It’s worth noting that the plant’s foliage grows thicker and denser when exposed to increased sunlight.

Pre-Planting Preparation

To make digging easier, it’s recommended that you deeply and slowly water the planting area a few days before commencing the planting process. Additionally, it’s advisable to spray any existing grass or weeds where the hedge will be established at least one day before planting. This step will save you the effort of removing the grass manually.

Planting Guidelines

When planting, it’s crucial to dig a hole that’s slightly larger than the root-ball (the entire mass of roots as they are removed from the pot). 

  • For plants in 300mm pots, it’s recommended to dig a hole with a diameter of 350 to 400mm and a depth of 300 to 350mm. 
  • For plants in 400mm pots, a hole with a diameter of 475 to 500mm and a depth of 400 to 450mm is ideal.

After digging the hole, carefully place the plant into the hole and backfill it with soil, ensuring that no soil is in contact with the trunk. If mulching, take care not to place any mulch against the trunk either.

Finally, water the plant immediately and thoroughly to encourage proper growth and establishment.

Watering Guidelines

When watering your plants, it’s important to do so at a slow rate, allowing the rootball to absorb the water properly. In hot and windy weather conditions, watering daily is recommended, while during colder weather, watering every three days should suffice.

Although plants can survive being left dry for extended periods, they may exhibit signs of distress, such as leaf drop. Once the plants establish, which is indicated by the growth of roots into the surrounding soil, they typically require less watering. Rainfall may be adequate in many cases, but if there’s an extended period of dry weather, it’s advisable to give the plants a water.

Fertilizing Instructions

To promote healthy growth and development, it’s recommended to apply slow-release fertilizer a few times each year, preferably during spring, summer, and autumn. 

The fertilizer will remain in place and slowly seep into the soil with the help of water or rainfall.

Mulching

Using any type of decomposing organic material as a layer on top of the soil can provide several benefits. It helps to suppress the growth of weeds, insulate the hedge feeder roots, and gradually add nutrients to the soil.

Ensure that no mulch is placed directly against the plant trunks as this can cause moisture buildup and potentially damage the plants.

When is the best time to plant?

In warmer areas, you can plant at any time of the year. However, in locations with very cold temperatures, it is best to avoid planting during mid-winter.

When can my plants take care of themselves?

After approximately one month, the plants will start to grow roots into the surrounding soil. 

After around three months, they should have developed reasonable roots and be able to take care of themselves to a limited extent. At this point, you can water them less frequently. 

After around six months, you should only water them when the soil is clearly dry. After a year, rainfall should be sufficient to sustain them.

What is the recommended spacing for planting a hedge?

The spacing of the plants depends on the desired height of the hedge. 

  • For a 2m tall hedge, plant them 60cm apart. 
  • For a 3m tall hedge, plant them 75cm apart. 
  • For a 4m tall hedge, plant them 1m apart. 

However, the spacing may also vary depending on the budget and time frame. Some people may choose to plant them further apart and let them grow and fill the space over time, while others may want a denser and more instant hedge and opt for closer spacing.

My newly planted hedge plants are dropping leaves

It’s common for newly planted hedge plants to drop leaves, and the reason could be that the small root-ball of soil is getting dried out quickly, which can cause the leaves to wilt and drop off. If you suspect this is the case, you can check the root-ball by digging in a little. To remedy the situation, you can try leaving a hose dripping or dribbling slowly right on top of the root ball for at least 10 minutes. This will help to slowly re-wet the root-ball and allow it to accept water normally again.

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