Lilly Pilly trees are an Australian native tree which there is over 60 different varieties of. Lilly Pilly’s are a hardy evergreen tree that can be grown into hedges, windbreaks, as an ornamental or for there fruit. We are growing them both to cover our rear fence and to use their fruit.
We first started off with buying 2 established lilly pilly trees and planted more self seeded lilly pilly trees so we will have full coverage of our fence. So far, we have not had any issues with growing our lilly pilly trees and have been a great success in our backyard. We use the fruit for making jams, chutneys and cordial.
Where Should I Plant My Lilly Pilly Tree
Lilly Pilly’s do best in full sun which is 6-8 hours of sunlight a day, however they will tolerate part shade. Our lilly pilly trees are planted in a position which gets a heap of shade in the cooler months and full sun in the summer. They also seem to do well with the heat radiating from the fence, which most other plants foliage burn up from.
How to Plant a Lilly Pilly Tree
A lilly pilly tree grows best when the soil is kept moist (not waterlogged) as they are a rainforest species. Before we planted our lilly pilly trees into our backyard garden which has sandy soil we added equal parts kaolin clay to compost and manure.
Before planting we added into a wheelbarrow one bag 20kg bag of kaolin clay, to 10 litres of compost, 10 litres of cow and sheep manure and mix thoroughly. Dig a hole about 3 times the size of the pot, add the clay and compost mix, then mix this in again with your sandy soil. Place your plant into the centre of the hole and cover. Add a slow release organic fertilser and water in well. Place a good layer of mulch around the plant and give the plant a good watering. When planting into clay soil I would not use any kaolin clay and would also check that your soil doesn’t hold water, if it does hold water, you can make a mound on top of the soil and plant into that.
The best time to plant is in Autumn or Spring and we also recommend directly after planting to prune the foliage back by 20 percent to allow the plants roots to settle and develop with out to much expiration from the foliage.
Can a Lilly Pilly Tree be Grown in a Pot?
Lilly Pilly’s grow very well in pots, we recommend in using a premium potting mix, to plant your lilly pilly into. To help with water holding abilities you can also add some coco peat.
How Tall Do Lilly Pilly Grow
Lilly Pilly’s depending on the variety can grow up to 4 meters tall and about 2 meters wide, however they can be pruned to maintain whatever height you prefer. Ours are prune to about 3 meters tall.
How Should I Prune My Lilly Pilly Tree
Lilly Pilly’s are a tough plant and can take a hard pruning back, however if you are growing it as a screening plant we recommend to regularly (at least every 3 months) give it a light haircut all over so the lilly pilly remain dense and lush.
When Do Lilly Pilly’s Fruit?
Lilly Pilly’s flower in Spring and Summer and the fruit start appearing in Autumn. For us we start getting flowers in December and the fruit start ripening in April.
How to Care For A Lilly Pilly Tree
We found once our lilly pilly trees were established that they required very little maintenance other than pruning back, they are very vigorous growers. We are once a year adding some fresh compost, manure and mulch. We also fertilse it every 3 months with a organic slow release fertilser.
Common Problems of Lilly Pilly
So far other than birds loving the fruit as much as we do, we haven’t had any issue with growing them. Below are some common problems you may come across with growing lilly pill y’s.
We have found that birds love them as much as we do, netting is the only solution. However due to the location of our trees, size and aesthetic we don’t net ours. We find that between the 2 trees we have that even with birds eating some we still have plenty for all our needs.
These are tiny pest that attack the young, soft growth causing the leaves to look bumpy and pimply. To control prune off and place in a bag. Solarise it in the sun for a week then dispose of them. There are few varieties which have been bred psyllid resistance. There doesn’t seem to be many organic or safe options to control psyllids.
These are a sap sucking hard body insects you will find on new shoots and the undersides of leaves. One of the first signs will be ants or sooty mould on the tree. The ants harvest the honey dew excretion from the scale and sooty mould grows on the honeydew the scale excrete as well.
To control scale, if their numbers are only a few you can squish or use a water to wash them off. If the tree is infested, I recommend in spraying with a horticultural oil or potassium soap spray.