Lillypilly (Syzygium, Acmena, Waterhousea, Eugenia species)
Lillypillies are some of our most widely planted native trees and shrubs thanks to their hardy, adaptable nature and a diverse range of growth habits. You will find these versatile evergreens used as shade and street trees, wind breaks, screening plants, informal and clipped shrubs including topiary, hedges, container plants and even trained as bonsai.
Mature foliage is lush and green with new growth often providing an attractive pink or red-toned contrast. Showy spring and summer flowers with numerous, pollen-laden white/cream, pink or occasionally crimson stamens are a magnet for both nectar feeding birds as well as bees and other insects. The berry-like fruit vary in size and colour and attract fruit eating birds. The fruit are generally crisp and refreshing like the rose apple (Syzygium jambos), rather than sweet. Some of these berries are prized bush food including the riberry (Syzygium luehmannii), however some cultivated varieties do not produce any fruit.
Susceptibility to pimple psyllid (see Watch for) is a key consideration when selecting which lillypilly to grow. Syzygium smithii (syn. Acmena smithii) and Syzygium luehmannii and their cultivars are considered pimple-psyllid resistant.
Climate Lillypillies are naturally rainforest species that grow in gullies where soil moisture is readily available. Fortunately, they are adaptable to tropical, subtropical, temperate and Mediterranean climates. They cope with moderate frost, often tolerate of temporary flood inundation and are fire resistant. Larger, more established plants can cope with long intervals between rainfall due to their deep roots.
Aspect Full sun to part shade positions are tolerated. Hedges, screening plants and topiary specimens are best planted in full sun if dense, lush growth is to be maintained.
Soil Lillypillies tolerate a range of soil conditions providing soil moisture levels can be maintained. Clay soil is generally well-tolerated as are a range of soil pH levels. Adding organic matter in the form of home-made compost and/or Seasol Super Compost prior to planting is beneficial, particularly in sandy and other well-drained soil.