How Fast do Lilly Pillys Grow? [Answered]

Lilly Pillies are popular Australian natives that grow in a variety of conditions and soil types. They’re commonly grown as hedges and make perfect screening plants.

Not only do these plants have dense, lush foliage, but you can also look forward to fragrant flowers and delicious berries.

There are around 60 different Lilly Pilly varieties that are native to Australia and Southeast Asia.

How Fast do Lilly Pillys Grow?

Many people plant these low-maintenance natives to quickly create a privacy hedge or screen, thanks to their lush foliage that provides a dense growth habit.

Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly hedge 2 | Plant care
Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly

In terms of growth rate, Lilly Pillys are generally considered medium to fast growers. The exact speed of growth will depend on the specific variety and growing conditions.

For example, the ‘Goodbye Neighbours’ Lilly Pilly (Acmena smithii) is considered very fast growing and you can expect up to 2 metres of growth per year in the right conditions.

Lilly Pillies will do best in full sun to part shade. They will grow in a variety of soil types but prefer soil that is rich, deep, and well-draining.

Other fast-growing Lilly Pilly varieties include Lilly Pilly Firescreen (Acmena smithii), Lilly Pilly Big Red (Syzygium australe), and Lilly Pilly Aussie Southern (Syzygium australe).

Slower growing Lilly Pillies include the Powder Puff Lilly Pilly (Syzygium wilsonii), a lovely small tree with stunning red new growth.

Choosing a Lilly Pilly Variety

There are many varieties of Lilly Pilly to choose from, and the best one for you will be determined by your specific requirements.

Because they are sub-tropical rainforest plants, they do tend to prefer a warmer climate. If you live in a cooler part of the country you may want to speak with your local nursery to determine whether there is a variety that would suit your garden.

Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly | Plant care
Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly

Another key consideration is whether you want a smaller or larger plant. Larger Lilly Pilly varieties can grow up to 5 metres or more and are better suited for tall screening hedges. Some full-grown Lilly Pillies can reach up to 30 metres!

There are also dwarf varieties that are better suited to smaller hedges.

Common Lilly Pilly problems result from an attack by the Lilly Pilly Psyllid (Trioza Eugeniae). These small sap-sucking insects can cause bumps, blisters, and curling leaves.

Therefore, many people choose to go with a variety that is resistant to psyllids.

According to Burke’s Backyard, the Acmena smithii and Syzygium luehmannii varieties are the most resistant to psyllid. They also state that “those that most readily show signs of attack are Syzygium paniculatum types including Lillyput” and that “Waterhousea floribunda is also susceptible”.

Lilly Pilly hedge spacing

When it comes to establishing a new garden hedge, you need to get the spacing right so that you end up with a fairly solid structure of densely growing plants.

To grow a nice thick Lilly Pilly hedge, it’s recommended that you space your plants from 50 cm to 1 metre apart. The exact spacing will vary slightly depending on the variety and how tall you want your hedge to be.

Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly small | Plant care
Young Syzygium Australe Lilly Pilly plants

As with most hedge plants, if in doubt, apply the 3 to 1 ratio. This ratio relies on how tall you want the hedge to be to determine how far you need to space the plants.

For example, if you want a 2-metre tall hedge, you should space your plants around 65 cm apart.

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Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY and is always looking for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking meals with produce harvested from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.


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