Lilly Pilly Hedge: A Grower’s Guide

by Australian Flowers

A guide to planting and caring for Lilly pilly hedge.

Lilly pilly (Acca sellowiana) is Australia’s fast-growing, evergreen shrub. It’s a popular choice for hedges and topiary thanks to its dense foliage, which can be either green or bronze in colour.

Lilly Pilly Hedges, Trees and Plants: Similarities & differences

Lilly Pilly Hedges is a type of flowering plant that is closely related to the tree. Both plants are in the myrtle family, and both have glossy green leaves and white flowers.

  • The main difference between the two is that Lilly pilly hedges are much smaller than trees. They are often used as ornamental garden plants and can be trimmed into shapes. They are more likely to lose their leaves in winter than trees and are more susceptible to frost damage.
  • Lilly Pilly Plants usually have a more compact growth habit than trees, making them ideal for use in smaller gardens. They are also less likely to drop their leaves in winter.
  • So, what are the critical differences between Lilly Pilly Hedges and Trees? Size, growth habits and susceptibility to frost damage are the main ones. If you’re looking for an ornamental plant for your garden, then a Lilly Pilly Hedge is a good choice. If you need a large tree for shade or other purposes, then a Lilly Pilly Tree is the better option.

Height Guide for Lilly Pilly

When growing a Lilly pilly, it is essential to know how tall the plant can grow. This will help you determine how much space you need to allocate for the plant in your garden. The following guide outlines the average height of different Lilly pilly varieties:

  • Dwarf Lilly pilly: 1-2m
  • Medium Lilly pilly: 2-3m
  • Tall Lilly pilly: 3m +

Which Lilly Pilly Variety Is Best For My Needs?

There are many varieties of Lilly pilly, each with its unique set of characteristics. When choosing a type for your garden, it is essential to consider your specific needs and goals. Do you want a fast-growing hedge or screen? Or are you looking for a slow-growing accent plant?

Syzygium Australe

Lilly Pilly Hedge

Syzygium Australe can be found in southeastern Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. The Lilly pilly hedge is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 20 m in height. It has glossy green leaves and white flowers that bloom from September to November. The fruit is a small, red berry that appears from December to March.

Syzygium Australe is a popular plant for hedges and topiary as it can be easily shaped. It is also a good choice for screening and windbreaks.

Syzygium Smithii

Syzygium smithii is famous for hedges, and topiary as it responds well to pruning is fast growing and has small leaves. It can reach a height of 8 metres. The flowers are white and borne on the ends of the branches from December to January, followed by shiny black berries, which birds love.

Syzygium smithii flowers are white and borne on the ends of the branches from December to January. The berries are black and shiny, and birds love them.

Syzygium Paniculatum

Syzygium paniculatum is a beautiful way to add some privacy to your garden. A fast-growing evergreen, Lilly pilly hedge can reach heights of 6 to 10 metres (20 to 33 feet) in just a few years.

Syzygium paniculatum symbolizes good fortune and new beginnings, making it a popular choice for those looking to add a little luck to their outdoor space.

Syzygium Luehmannii

Syzygium luehmannii can survive in various soil types but prefers well-drained soils. It is drought tolerant once established. Syzygium luehmannii is a good choice as it is a hardy plant that tolerates various conditions. It is a fast-growing plant and can grow up to 1 metre per year.

Syzygium Oleosum

Syzygium oleosum is an exciting factor in that it can be used as a Lilly pilly hedge or topiary. The tree is native to Australia and has dark green leaves. It can grow up to 10m tall. It is beautifully shaped and glossy leaves make it a perfect addition to any garden’s feature plant. It is also excellent for hedges and topiary.

If you are looking for a Lilly pilly hedge that is sure to make a statement, then the Syzygium oleosum is the plant for you!

Syzygium Jambos

Syzygium Jambo’s new growth is a pinkish-red colour, which makes this shrub an attractive addition to any garden. This species can grow up to 20 feet tall and 6 feet wide, perfect for creating a privacy hedge.

Syzygium Jambos has been used as a medicinal plant in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. The leaves can be brewed into a tea that is said to help with stomach issues and diarrhea.

Syzygium WilsoniiFruit of S. Wilsonii

The fruit of S. Wilsonii can be oval to round, 5–30 mm (0.20–1.18 in) in diameter, with a fleshy pericarp that is orange, pink or red when ripe. They are borne on the current season’s growth.

Syzygium wilsonii flowers are white, borne on the current season’s growth.

Syzygium Moorei

Syzygium moorei can survive in various climates, from cool temperate to tropical. It is a fast-growing shrub or tree reaching up to 10 metres. The Lilly pilly is an attractive plant with shiny, dark green leaves and white or pink flowers. The fruit is small and round, with red or purple skin.

Syzygium needs to be watered regularly, especially during dry periods. It prefers well-drained soil and a sunny position.

Syzygium Cumini

Did you know Syzygium cumini benefits from being grown close to the house? This is because the Lilly pilly tree will protect your home from negative energy and evil spirits. The Lilly pilly hedge is also known to bring good luck to those who grow it.

Syzygium cumini appearance can vary depending on the subspecies, but they are generally tall evergreen trees with glossy green leaves. The Lilly pilly tree can grow up to 30 metres tall, but the dwarf variety only reaches around 3-5 metres. Syzygium cumini is native to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but is now widely cultivated in Australia.

Syzygium Francisii

Syzygium francisii is vital in horticulture and as a native plant in Australia. It is a fast-growing Lilly pilly, reaching 20 metres (66 ft) tall in the wild. The leaves are dark green, glossy, 10–20 centimetres (3.9–7.9 in) long and 4–8 centimetres (1.6–3.1 in) wide, with a pointed tip. The flowers are white and borne in groups of 3-7. They are followed by blue-black berries which are edible but not very palatable.

Syzygium francisii is found in rainforests from northern New South Wales to far north Queensland, usually near the coast. It can also be grown in pots.

Syzygium Tierneyanum

Syzygium tierneyanum needs someone with a steady hand to plant them. These Lilly pillys are slowly growing, so you’ll need patience. But the wait will be worth it when your hedge is established.

Syzygium tierneyanum means you’ll have a lovely, evergreen hedge that provides privacy and shelter from the wind. When planting, make sure to dig a hole twice the size of the pot the plant is in. This will give the roots plenty of room to grow. Place your Lilly pilly in the hole and fill it with well-draining soil. Water regularly, especially during the hot summer months.

Syzygium Anisatum

Syzygium anisatum is known for its ability to thrive in humid climates and its love of the full sun. They are native to Queensland and Northern New South Wales, Australia. These Lilly pillies have large, dark green leaves and produce small white flowers which turn into dark berries. The berries are poisonous if eaten raw but can be made into jams and jellies.

Always keep an eye out for root and stem rot, particularly during the wetter months. If you find any affected areas, cut them out immediately and dispose of them to prevent the spread of the disease.

Syzygium Aqueum

Syzygium aqueum doesn’t like having “wet feet”, so make sure to plant them in well-draining soil. They’re also pretty fussy about pH levels, so get a soil test before planting. You can improve drainage by mixing in some sand or organic matter.

Syzygium aqueum admires full sun but tolerates shade, making it a good choice for those difficult-to-plant areas in your garden. When planting, space them about 2-3 meters apart, so they have room to grow.

Syzygium Aromaticum

Syzygium aromaticum is perfect when you need a small to medium-sized hedge that is informal in shape. They make a stunning addition to any garden and can even be used as indoor plants.

Syzygium aromaticum allows you to create different looks in your garden. You can have a traditional hedge or go for something more creative like a topiary. It has a fast-growing plant that can reach up to 6 metres. Red, purple or black fruits follow the flowers.

Syzygium Floribundum

Syzygium floribundum is known for its ability to withstand heavy pruning, making it perfect for those who want a low-maintenance hedge. It is a fast-growing lily pilly, reaching up to 6 metres. The leaves are dark green and glossy, with a pointed tip. The flowers are white and borne in groups of 3-7. They are followed by blue-black berries which are edible but not very palatable.

Syzygium floribundum symbolizes strength and resilience, making it the perfect plant to give to someone who has overcome a difficult time.

Where to buy Lilly Pilly Plants?

Lilly Pilly plants can be bought from most garden nurseries, online retailers or hardware stores. Such as Bunnings, Mitre 10 or even Woolworths. The lowest market price for a hedge is about $4.50/plant.

You can purchase it in the Australian market, such as eBay or amazon.

Choosing The Right Lilly Pilly Hedge

Lilly Pilly Berries

When choosing the right pilly hedge, ensure you know what you are looking for. If you want a low-growing Lilly pilly, look for an Austraflora dwarf variety like ‘Pygmy Possum’ or ‘Little Pygmy’. For a more formal hedge, try Syzygium paniculatum or one of the Lilly Pilly in the Acmena genus. If you are looking for a screen or windbreak, choose a taller variety like Syzygium luehmannii or ‘Resilience’.

  • When it comes to Lilly Pills, there are two main types: evergreen and deciduous. Evergreen varieties keep their leaves all year round, while deciduous varieties drop their leaves in winter.

How to Plant Your Lilly Pilly Hedge

It’s easy to plant your own Lilly pilly hedge! Follow these steps:

Preparation is key!

Properly preparing the planting site will ensure that your Lilly pilly has the best chance for long and healthy life.

List down everything you need to do before planting your Lilly pilly.

Soil and water

The soil must be well-drained and of a neutral to slightly acidic pH. If unsure about your soil’s current pH, you can test it with an at-home kit or have it professionally tested.

Lilly pilly plants grow best in moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. They are drought tolerant once established but will produce the best growth if given regular watering during extended periods of dry weather. Over-watering can lead to root rot, so be sure to allow the top few inches of soil to dry out between watering.


When planting your Lilly pilly, it is important to space them out correctly. They will not have enough room to grow properly if they are too close. They will not form a dense hedge if they are too far apart.

The general rule of thumb is to space Lilly pillies about 2-3 feet apart. However, this can vary depending on the size of the plant and the Lilly pilly you are planting.

Planting distance examples

For Lilly pillies, we recommend planting them at least 2.5m (8ft) apart. This will give you an excellent, dense hedge that will provide privacy and noise reduction.

If you’re looking for a lower-maintenance option, you can space your plants further apart – keep in mind that it will take longer for your hedge to fill in. For example, you could plant Lilly pillies 3-4m (10-12ft) apart.

What to do on planting day

When you’re ready to plant your lily pilly, dig a hole that’s twice as wide and deep as the roots of your tree. Mix in some compost or manure to help the roots grow, then place your tree in the hole and backfill with soil. Water well and apply a layer of mulch around the tree’s base.

You’ll need a sharp spade or shovel, a pickaxe, some string, a wheelbarrow, and a watering can.

How to Take Care of Your Lilly Pilly Hedge

Assuming you have already planted your Lilly pilly hedge, here are some tips on how to take care of it:

  • Water regularly and sincerely, especially during hot weather or when the plant is actively growing.
  •  Fertilize in spring and summer with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Prune as needed to shape the hedge and encourage dense growth.
  • Check for pests and diseases, and treat them accordingly.

How Should I Prune My Lilly Pilly?

Lilly pilly hedges are fast-growing shrubs that can quickly become overgrown. To keep your Lilly pilly looking its best, it is essential to prune it regularly.

There are two main ways to prune a Lilly pilly:

  • Pruning for shape involves trimming the plant to create the desired shape.
  •  Pruning for size involves cutting the plant back to control its growth.
  • The best time to prune Lilly pilly hedges is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. This will help ensure that your plant remains healthy and vigorous.

Common Problems with Lilly Pillies

  • Brown leaves are usually caused by too much sun or wind exposure. Move the plant to a more secure location.
  • Yellow leaves: This can be caused by several things, including nutrient deficiency, pests, or disease. Check your plant carefully and address the problem accordingly.
  • Dropping leaves: This is normal for Lilly pillies during periods of stress (such as drought). The plant will usually recover once the stressor has been removed.
  • Slow growth: This is common for Lilly pillies. They are a slow-growing plant, so be patient!
  • Plant dies: This can be caused by several things, including overwatering, pests, or disease. Check your plant carefully and address the problem accordingly. If you can’t figure out the problem, starting with a new plant is best.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lilly Pilly Hedges

How far apart do you plant Lilly Pilly hedge?

Planting distances between different species of Lilly pilly may vary, but as a general rule, space plants are at least 1.5 metres apart. When planting two or more Lilly pilly specimens in a hedge formation, be sure to stagger them for an attractive layered appearance.
Lilly pillies prefer moist, well-drained soils in a sunny or partially shaded position. Fertilise with a complete fertiliser three times per year – once in spring, once in summer and again in autumn. Prune after flowering to maintain the desired shape and size.

How long does it take to grow a Lilly pilly hedge?

It takes around 2-3 years for a Lilly pilly hedge to grow to its full size, but it can be trimmed back and maintained relatively quickly to look fuller.
Lilly pillies (Syzygium paniculatum) are a medium-sized evergreen tree or shrub native to eastern Australia. They make excellent hedge plant due to their dense foliage and rapid growth rate. Lilly pillies prefer moist, well-drained soils in full sun or partial shade. They tolerate moderate frosts, although young plants may be damaged in severely cold weather.

Which Lilly pilly is best for a hedge?

A few different types of Lilly pilly can be used for hedging – the Surfinia, Ballarat and Rubra varieties. All three grow well in most areas of Australia, but the Surfinia variety is probably the best to choose if you’re looking for a fast-growing hedge, as it can reach heights of up to 10 metres. The Ballarat variety is a little slower growing. Still, it has denser foliage which makes it suitable for privacy hedging. In contrast, the Rubra variety has glossy red foliage, which makes it a popular choice for gardeners looking to add some colour to their landscape.

How far from a fence should you plant a hedge?

It depends on the type of hedge you’re planting. For a privacy or security hedge, you’ll want to grow it closer to the fence – 6-8 feet is ideal. If you’re planting a decorative border, you can plant it further away from the wall – 10-15 feet is a reasonable distance. Be sure to consult an expert if you’re unsure what type of hedge to plant!

Is Lilly Pilly a good hedge?

Lilly pilly is an excellent hedge for two reasons. First, it’s evergreen, so it provides year-round privacy and security. Second, Lilly pilly grows quickly and easily, so you can plant a thick hedge relatively quickly. It also thrives in most climates, making it a versatile option for homeowners in different parts of the country.

How can I thicken my Lilly pilly hedge?

You can thicken your Lilly pilly hedge by cutting the wall back and allowing it to grow thicker.
Lilly pillies respond well to hard pruning, so you can reduce the overall size of the hedge by cutting it back hard. This will encourage new growth and help thicken the wall. Make sure you cut the border back evenly, so it has a neat, tidy appearance.

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