8 Fast Growing Trees for Brisbane and Queensland

Queensland gardeners are spoilt for choice with rapid-growing trees, from the Coast Banksia with its vibrant yellow flowers to the Jacaranda which paints Brisbane streets purple every spring and summer.

Gardeners in Brisbane and Queensland have a wide range of fast-growing trees that are suitable for their gardens. Here is a list of some of the most common species.

Banksia integrifolia (Coast Banksia)

Banksia integrifolia Coast Banksia | Plant varieties

The coastal banksia is a beautiful tree that can reach a height of up to 15 metres. It has large leathery leaves and stunning yellow banksia flowers.

It grows naturally right up the eastern coast and is particularly suited to coastal gardens as it tolerates salt-laden winds well. It can also be grown inland as it is both frost and drought-tolerant.

The flowers are filled with nectar which means that they’ll attract plenty of native birds to your garden. This species prefers an acid to neutral soil pH and you should only use a native fertiliser as banksias are phosphorus sensitive.

Elaeocarpus reticulatus (Blueberry Ash)

This lovely rainforest tree is fast-growing and very hardy. It can reach a height of up to 10 metres and quite a narrow width of up to 4 metres. The tree is particularly useful as a screening plant because it doesn’t mind being pruned into shape.

The leaves are green and a little leathery and the tree really shines when it comes into flower in spring. It produces masses of dainty pink fringed flowers and these are followed by blue berries.

The blueberry ash prefers acid to neutral soils and can tolerate light frost. It’s a low-maintenance tree that is particularly suited to Queensland gardens.

Angophora costata (Sydney Red Gum)

If you have a large garden and want a truly spectacular tree, you should consider the Sydney red gum. It’s important to note that this is a large spreading tree, so it needs plenty of room to grow.

Angophora costata can reach a height of up to 30 metres and a spread of up to 15 metres. The most spectacular aspect of this native tree is its smooth trunk with orange to red bark. 

In spring, the tree will shed its old bark and reveal the lovely salmon-coloured smooth bark underneath. It will grow happily in Brisbane because it likes a sub-tropical to warm temperate climate.

The tree also produces white flowers in summer and can tolerate light frost.

Melaleuca linariifolia (Snow-in-Summer)

Melaleuca linariifolia Snow in Summer | Plant varieties

This hardy Australian native will grow well in and around Brisbane and can reach a height of around 8 metres. In spring and summer, Melaleuca linariifolia is covered with clusters of fluffy white flowers, hence its common name. 

If you have a slightly damp spot in your garden, this tree will handle those conditions well as it doesn’t do too well under dry conditions. 

Backhousia citriodora (Lemon-Scented Myrtle)

Backhousia citriodora Lemon myrtle 2 | Plant varieties

For a stunning smaller tree that can also provide you with some bush food, you can’t go past the lemon-scented myrtle. This was one of my favourite trees when I lived in Queensland as the leaves exude the most gorgeous lemony scent as you brush past.

The tree can actually reach a maximum height of 20 metres but is unlikely to get this tall in a suburban garden setting. It will also spread up to 5 metres which makes it an ideal shade tree for Queensland gardens.

In summer and autumn, the tree is covered with large and fluffy white flowers which only add to its allure.

Jacaranda mimosifolia (Jacaranda)

Jacaranda mimosifolia | Plant varieties

This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the stunning jacaranda tree which brightens up the streets around Brisbane with its purple flowers in spring and summer.

The jacaranda can reach a height and spread of around 10 metres so it also makes an excellent summer shade tree for larger gardens.

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Leptospermum petersonii (Lemon-Scented Tea Tree)

Leptospermum petersonii Lemon Scented Tea Tree | Plant varieties
Photo by The Fun Chronicles / Flickr / CC0 1.0

If you’re looking for a smaller tree for a small garden, the lemon-scented tea tree will only reach a height of around 5 metres and a spread of 2 metres.

The slender green leaves emit a lovely lemon fragrance when crushed and have a reddish colour when young.

In spring and summer, the tree produces pretty small white flowers along the younger branches.

Acacia podalyriifolia (Queensland Silver Wattle)

Acacia podalyriifolia Queensland Silver Wattle | Plant varieties

Although this very attractive wattle is native to Queensland, it is regarded as an environmental weed in NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

However, Brisbane and Queensland gardeners can grow this wattle in their gardens and enjoy the silvery foliage and the bright yellow flowers. The tree can reach a height of 10 metres. 


What is the fastest-growing Australian native tree?

The blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus) is one of the fastest-growing Australian native trees.

What is the fastest-growing shade tree in Australia?

The lemon-scented myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) is one of the fastest-growing shade trees in Australia.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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