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Grow Guide: Myoporum parvifolium (Creeping Boobialla)

Creeping Boobialla’s lovely fleshy leaves are dark green in colour and the plant produces pink or white flowers in winter through to summer.

Featured Image: Myoporum parvifolium / Photo by cultivar413 / Flickr (cropped) / CC BY 2.0

Myoporum parvifolium is a prostrate ground cover that only grows to a height of around 30 cm but will spread over the ground to easily cover more than 1 square metre. 

Myoporum parvifolium varieties 

There are a number of different varieties that have been discovered and bred over the years.

Myoporum parvifolium ‘Yareena’

This variety has been bred to be longer lived than the original species and is very frost and drought-tolerant. It’s happy to grow in most soil types and has thick woody stems. The flowers are white in colour.

It only grows to a height of 10 cm but will spread to over 1 metre wide. For a good ground cover, it’s advised to plant around one to two plants per square metre.

Myoporum parvifolium Coarse Pink

This variety has lovely pink flowers that are scented. The plants make ideal groundcovers and will bloom for a long period of time.

Myoporum parvifolium Fine Leaf Pink

This is another pink flowering variety that has smaller leaves and is a vigorous grower. 

Myoporum parvifolium Fine White

This particular variety has lovely soft green foliage and will create a dense carpet when grown as a groundcover. It produces delicate white flowers in spring but can have flowers right through the year.

Myoporum parvifolium purpurea

This variety also has fine-leaved foliage and new growth that has purple tones. The flowers are small and white in colour. It’s both drought and frost-tolerant and grows to a height of around 30 cm with a spread of around 3 metres.

What is Myoporum parvifolium used for?

Thanks to its dense growth habit, Myoporum parvifolium is often used as a groundcover as it’s very useful in suppressing weeds. It’s also a good plant for growing over banks to prevent erosion and can be used as a substitute lawn in areas that don’t get any traffic.

Myoporum parvifolium Creeping Boobialla | Plant care
Myoporum parvifolium (Creeping Boobialla)

Due to its vigorous growth habit, it’s best to plant creeping boobialla in its own bed as a ground cover rather than in a bed that has other plantings. It’s also perfect for growing in areas that are difficult to water because it has relatively low water requirements.

How to plant Myoporum parvifolium

Make sure that you choose a spot in your garden that has well-draining soil. This can be either in full sun or part shade. It doesn’t matter whether the soil is sandy, loamy, or clay as long as it is free-draining. Ideally, the soil pH should be below 7.0.

If you want to create a good ground cover over a large area, space your plants around 1.5 to 2 metres apart because they will spread to cover this amount of space.

Dig your planting holes large enough to accommodate the root ball of each plant. Once you’ve planted each one, backfill the hole and water. You can add a thin layer of mulch to the top of the soil after planting. 

How to care for Myoporum parvifolium

Myoporum parvifolium is relatively low maintenance. However, if you’ve just planted it, you should water your plants at least once a week until they’re well-established. After this time, your plants will only need a good soaking every couple of weeks during summer if there has been no rain.

To encourage lots of new growth, feed your Myoporum parvifolium once a year with a slow-release fertiliser that is low in phosphorus. 

As this plant is a vigorous grower, it may need pruning over the warmer months if you want to retain a nice shape or restrict where it grows. You can even use hedge shears to give it an all-over clip if you wish.

Myoporum parvifolium problems, pests, and diseases

As long as your Myoporum parvifolium is growing in free-draining soil, it shouldn’t have too many problems. However, there is one pest that you should keep an eye out for.

This is the Myoporum thrips. These tiny pests will cause the leaves to curl and drop off the plant. This eventually leads to dieback of the branches and stems. However, these pests can easily be controlled by spraying your plants with neem oil.

How to repair bare patches in your Myoporum parvifolium

As your plant grows and spreads, you might eventually find some bare patches. These are surprisingly simple to repair as you can propagate this plant using the layering method.

To do this, just select a long stem that has plenty of leaf nodes. Place this stem, while still attached to the plant, over the bare area and secure it so it touches the soil with a piece of wire or a modified paper clip.

After only a short period of time, new roots will grow from the section of stem that is touching the soil. This is perhaps the easiest way to propagate new plants from this species.

Alternatively, you can find bits of low-growing stems that have already rooted into the soil naturally. Just sever these from the main plant and dig them up carefully, making sure you get as much of the roots as you can.

These small plants can then be planted in any bare spots that you find. Or, they can be used elsewhere in the garden where you want a nice ground cover plant.

FAQ

Is Myoporum parvifolium fast-growing?

Myoporum parvifolium is extremely fast-growing and quite vigorous in its growth habit. This means that it may need regular pruning during the warmer months to keep it under control.

How big does Myoporum parvifolium grow?

Depending on the variety that you’re growing, Myoporum parvifolium can reach a height of around 15 to 30 cm. However, it will easily spread to cover more than one square metre.

Is Myoporum parvifolium native to Australia?

Yes, Myoporum parvifolium is a native Australian plant and is found growing naturally in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

Does Myoporum have invasive roots?

No, Myoporum is a low-growing ground cover plant so it does not have invasive roots. However, it does grow and spread quite vigorously by growing roots from stems that touch the soil. This is easily remedied by regular pruning to keep the plant contained where you want it to grow.

Can you walk on Myoporum parvifolium?

It’s not a good idea to walk on Myoporum parvifolium because this will cause damage to the leaves and stems of the plant. If you plan to use it as a lawn alternative, consider also putting in some stepping stones or pavers so that you don’t walk on the plant itself.

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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