June 11, 2020 6 min read

If you’re after a quick growing hedge or screen, Lilly Pillies are the ultimate privacy barrier and a beautiful feature for your home. The many garden varieties of Lilly Pilly produce a wonderful contrast in foliage colour from deep glossy-green leaves when mature to new growth colours of bronze, reds, pinks, and even copper. They can be grown in pots or planted out and will thrive in full sun or shade. They even tolerate drought once established, making them awesome for our Aussie climate. They grow in a wide range of soils, but the more sun, water and nutrient rich soil you provide your hedge, the faster it will grow. 

Check Out Our Lilly Pilly Video 

Plant selection  

When choosing plants for your hedge look at colour, form and future density of the plant. It’s also important to carefully consider the space you have for the hedge when it fully matures. You don’t want to knock over your mailbox! Knowing how tall your specimen grows to is essential to prevent mishaps and disappointments. The last thing you want to create is a hedge which looms over your neighbours yard or is so overcrowded, it can never flourish. If it’s a dark area try and go with bright foliage or visa versa. Lighter foliage used in a dark area will reflect sunlight and provide a more cheerful feeling. Pick a variety with reflective shiny foliage too as they work wonders in those dark, dull places.

Our top Lilly Pilly picks

Syzygium australe

As the name suggests, Syzygium australe are native cultivar Australian plants. Two varieties in this classification are excellent and popular choices as screening and hedging plants. Syzygium australe ‘Select’ and Syzygium australe ‘Resilience’. Importantly, both are resistant to the psyllid bug and are hardy to cope with Australian conditions.

What's the difference?

The Resilience variety is an extremely popular Australian native and all-round perfect hedging plant. This plant is robust and thrives in most conditions. It is characterised by its fast growth and rich, tight green glossy foliage. Growing up to around 4m to 5m, it creates the perfect screening solution, and a striking backdrop for any garden. 

Lilly Pilly Resilience variety

Images: The Resilience variety of Lilly Pilly above is an extremely popular Australian native and all-round perfect hedging plant. 

The Select variety has a narrower leaf shape compared with the Resilience with a more compact foliage, making it an excellent screening choice too. Like the Resilience variety, it grows up to around 4m to 5m. Both varieties are extremely resilient to many pests and diseases, in particular, the psyllid which causes unsightly bumps on the leaf surface. Both varieties are suitable for growing in pots.

Images: The Select variety of Lilly Pilly above has narrower leaves than the Resilience variety growing up to 4m to 5m, making it an excellent Australian native hedging plant.

We supply all our plants in a high-quality premium potting mix with slow release fertiliser. The quality of the mix is crucial in setting up the ongoing health of the plant. Sub-par mixes such as those with high sand content or ‘pot fillers’ lead to poor health and stunted growth.You will notice a big difference!

Planting tips  

So, you’ve decided a beautiful Lilly Pilly hedge is perfect for creating some privacy and you want to ensure your new hedge grows as quickly and healthily as possible. Here’s some helpful hints on how to achieve that.

Preparation is key!

Your new plants have been grown in ideal conditions to ensure they are the best quality. With a few simple steps before planting, you can ensure they will continue to thrive in your garden.

Soil and water

It’s important to dig a nice wide hole and fill with a loose, premium soil so the roots can easily spread out and grow. A bigger root ball supports quicker growth. Digging a wider hole also helps retain more moisture around the roots. Generally, the depth of the hole only has to be a little deeper than the pot the plant came from.  Improve existing soil with organic compost and manure. If planting into heavy clay, you can apply some gypsum as well to break up the ground better. Water your plants in with a seaweed solution to help them settle and encourage new root development. Mulch well with a material like sugar cane mulch to retain soil moisture and help keep weeds under control. The right kind of mulch can help improve the soil health too, so it’s worth investing in wisely.


One of the most common questions asked is ‘How far apart should I space my plants?’

The most honest answer we can give is that it comes down to budget versus time. Some people are happy to watch their new plants grow and fill the space so plant further apart.  Others want more of an instant hedge and bring them closer together. We recommend anywhere from 50cm to 1m apart with 75cm spacing between the plants being a good average. 

Planting distance examples

For a garden or driveway border using small 14cm or 20cm pots, we suggest planning no more than 2 plants to the metre. The types of suitable specimens we recommend are Syzygium Australe ‘Select’ and Syzygium Australe ‘Resilience’ varieties.

For smaller growing trees and shrubs, it’s generally best to apply a ratio of three to one (3:1). This represents the height you want your hedge to grow by the width apart.

  • for a 2m tall clipped hedge, plant out at 60cm apart.
  • to create a 3m tall clipped hedge, position the plants 75cm
  • for 4m tall clipped hedge plant 1m apart

Size of plants and their variety can cause variations in planting distances. When in doubt, space it out or seek advice from Sunshine Coast Plants. ABC TV’s Gardening Australia’s resource area also provides a wealth of information for every facet of gardening. If you find yourself ‘stumped’ during the planting and planning phase, it’s likely a fact sheet will be available there.

Image: Mature Lilly Pilly at Currimundi. More than 10 years old.

What to do on planting day

  • Measure out plant positions using distancing tips below
  • Water well before and after planting
  • Dig the planting holes allow for a little space either side of the plant to be placed
  • Improve soil in the planting zones by blending in a quality compost or composted manure and a slow-release fertiliser.
  • Soak the plant in a bucket of diluted seaweed solution just before you’re ready to go
  • Mulch with an organic mulch. Lucerne or pea straw are excellent.

Dealing with diseases

The most common problems and diseases which impact Lilly Pillies include attacks from Psyllids, a sap sucking pest which can be tough as old boots to get rid of. This pest only goes for new leaves, which cause an appearance like pimples or sores. The insect is well protected inside of these bubbles so it’s necessary to treat the area very thoroughly with eco-oils combined with eco-neem which can be quite effective. Check out more solutions to pest and disease problems at Sustainable Gardening Australia.

Aphids and mites, sooty mould, mealy bugs and ants are also predators of the lilly pilly.  Sap sucking aphidsand mites can be controlled with eco-oil, while sooty mouldis a secondary issue caused from sap sucking pests. Eco-oil is also effective to treat mould, which will flake off over time.

To treat mealybugs, spray with a dedicated product and ensure thorough coverage because they’re sneaky buggers and will be tucked away everywhere. 

Ants also enjoy chowing down on the sugary excretions of the sap sucking pests and can become problematic, so if you notice a lot of ants, it could mean there is more than one problem. Control the sap suckers as above and the ants will go away. Tip: Speed things up by applying a ring of gardening glue around the base of trunks to limit their activity.

Pruning tips

Keeping your Lilly Pilly looking lovely!

Most Lilly Pillies will produce flushes of attractive, new pink growth with regular pruning at any time of the year. Ensure plants are well watered before and after pruning. A light tip prune is the most common method used with Lilly Pillies and they can take a hard pruning if needed to reduce height or size. Be mindful that in cooler climates new growth will be slower to appear so plants can look bare if given a hard cut back at that time of year.

To avoid a wild hedge, prune regularly on the top and sides to encourage dense growth from the base all the way up. Don’t let the plant grow straight up to the desired height. Do the pruning regularly and use a string line for accuracy if need be.

Key takeaways:

  • Water plants before and after pruning
  • Tip pruning is the most common and effective method
  • No need to let a hedge grow to full height before pruning

Check out the resources available at Australian Institute of Horticulture or Sustainable Gardening Australia for more advice on pruning, pests and gardening generally

Ready to get hedging?

Lilly Pillies thrive on the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast and surrounding areas. Take the hassle out of trying to find the best plants and getting them home and try a new way to buy plants. We deliver directly to your door and we’re so focused on providing healthy, lush plants at great prices we offer a Green Thumb Guarantee that you'll be 100% happy with your plants on delivery or your money back. 

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