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Growing a Murraya Hedge in Australia (Mock Orange, Orange Jasmine)

Murraya is a beautifully lush green shrub that’s ideal for hedging. Commonly known as mock orange, the pretty white flowers have a delicious citrus scent and the lush, green foliage lends itself perfectly to regular pruning.

You can plant a murraya hedge in most parts of Australia except in really cold or arid regions. That’s because murraya needs adequate moisture to grow rich and lush and should be protected from heavy frosts.

Here’s everything you need to know about growing a stunning murraya hedge.

How to prepare the soil

Murraya prefers well-drained soil with a certain amount of organic matter. Therefore, you want to prepare your soil by adding some compost.

If you have fairly heavy clay soil, add some gypsum to help break it up a little and to improve the drainage.

How to plant your murraya hedge

Choose a sunny spot in your garden for your murraya hedge. However, a little light shade, especially in the afternoon, is fine too.

Create your planting holes by digging them around 60 cm deep and twice as wide as the rootball of the plant. Space the individual plants around 30 to 100 cm apart. Your hedge spacing will depend on the variety that you’re growing.

planting holes garden | Plant care

For taller varieties such as Murraya paniculata or one of the many available hybrids, you can space these around 60 to 100 cm apart to give you a nice dense hedge that will provide a good privacy screen or windbreak. Dwarf varieties can be planted closer together. You can space these around 30 to 50 cm apart.

Take the plants out of the pots and gently tease the roots apart a little. Place them in the prepared holes and backfill them. Gently press the soil down around the stems of the plants.

murraya paniculata plants in pots | Plant care

Create a shallow moat around each plant and fill this with water. This will allow the water to drain into the soil to where the roots of the plants are. 

Add a layer of mulch around the base of the plants. This will help to keep the soil cooler and prevent excessive weed growth. Keep the mulch away from the trunks of the plants to limit fungal diseases. 

How to care for your murraya hedge

Close up of a Murraya paniculata hedge

Watering

In the early stages of growth and while the plants are still establishing themselves, you want to ensure that you provide adequate water.

If you haven’t had any rain, you should water your plants at least once a week or when the top 5cm of the soil is dry.

Feeding

Murrayas also like a lot of nutrients. In the early growth stages, you can fertilise your plants once every two weeks with a liquid feed.

Once the plants are well-established, feeding once a year in spring with an organic controlled-release fertiliser is all that is required. Well-composted cow manure is ideal for this as is something like Dynamic Lifter or Blood and Bone.

It’s also a good idea to replenish the mulch around the base of the plants after you’ve applied and lightly raked in the fertiliser. 

mulch around base of tree | Plant care

Pruning

To create a nice bushy hedge, it’s important to lightly prune your murraya on a regular basis as they’re growing. Every time you tip prune one of the stems, two more stems will grow from that same spot. This is how you encourage lovely bushy growth.

Once the hedge has become fully established, you only need to prune it to maintain its shape. This is best done after flowering has finished in autumn. However, you can lightly prune at any time to help maintain the hedge.

If you haven’t pruned your hedge for some time and the growth has become quite straggly, you can cut the plants back quite hard to rejuvenate them.

Problems, pests and diseases

In general, if growing healthily, your hedge shouldn’t suffer from too many problems.

orange jasmine murraya paniculata | Plant care

However, there are a few issues that murraya can encounter which you should keep an eye out for. These mainly include nutrient deficiencies, attacks from aphids, and bacterial infection.

Nutrient deficiencies

If you notice the leaves of your murraya leaves turning yellow, you might find that your plants are suffering from a nutrient deficiency.

This can be rectified quite quickly using a liquid fertiliser and applying this once every couple of weeks to give your plants a boost.

Aphid infestation

Aphids can be another problem as they love to suck away on the lovely tender new growth. If your hedge is healthy and growing strongly, this shouldn’t cause too much of a problem and you’ll probably find that natural predators such as ladybirds, lacewings, and even insect-feeding birds will take care of the problem for you.

In fact, in my own garden, I’ve often watched wattle birds and tiny Eastern spinebills sit on my roses and feast on the aphids.

However, if the infestation of aphids is quite heavy and you’re worried about your murraya plants, you can spray the affected parts with an oil-based insecticide such as white oil or neem.

Bacterial infection

Yellow Dragon disease is a bacterial infection caused by the Asian and African citrus psyllid. It causes blotchy and yellowing leaves.

Unfortunately, once your plants are infected with this disease, you have to pull them out and dispose of them because there is no effective treatment for this.

Sooty mould caused by the secretion of sap-sucking insects

Sooty mould appears as a black mould on the leaves and stems. It’s a fungal disease that is a result of the honeydew that is secreted by sap-sucking insects such as scale and aphids.

Although the sooty mould will not actually harm your plant, the insects that secrete the honeydew will. Therefore, if you see black mould on your Murraya, check for sap-sucking insects on the stems or undersides of the leaves.

Aphids and scale can be treated with an organic insecticide or an oil-based product such as white or neem oil. Once the insects have been removed, you can wash or wipe the mould off the leaves.

Soil Nematodes

Root knot nematodes and curl grubs generally live in the soil and feed on the roots of your plant.

This can cause an enormous amount of damage to your lovely hedge as the damaged root system cannot give the plants the water and nutrients that they need.

There is no effective control for these in the home garden.

A hybrid murraya variety that you might like to consider

In many areas around NSW and Queensland, the original species, Murraya paniculata, is deemed as being invasive.

This is because the seeds inside the bright red or orange berries are easily spread by birds throughout bushland areas. These seeds will grow rapidly into murraya plants that will crowd out native species.

Therefore, it’s best to select a hybrid variety for your murraya hedge such as:

Sweet Privacy Murraya

This lovely hybrid has the same characteristics as the original species and can grow to a height of 2.5 metres with a spread of around 1.5 metres.

Its growth is slightly less rapid than the original species and it can be grown in most states and territories in Australia except for Tasmania.

FAQ

How fast does a murraya hedge grow?

You can expect your murraya hedge to reach its full size in around three to four years. If you practice regular tip pruning during this time, your hedge will be nice and dense.

How tall does a murraya hedge grow?

A murraya hedge can reach a height of around 3 to 4 metres but can be pruned and trimmed to the height that you desire.

Are murraya roots invasive?

Currently available varieties of murraya do not have invasive roots.

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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1 thought on “Growing a Murraya Hedge in Australia (Mock Orange, Orange Jasmine)”

  1. Such an excellent and comprehensive guide. Thank you. I have a significant planting of Murraya hedge but neglected it over the last couple of years. With all the helpful information here I’m confident it will be magnificent again come springtime.

    Reply

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