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What to Plant Under a Lilly Pilly [Answered]

Ideally, you’ll want to look at shade-loving plants that are also relatively drought-tolerant.

If you’re growing a larger Lilly Pilly in your garden or you are planning a Lilly Pilly hedge along a fenceline, you might be wondering what to grow under it.

Ideally, you’ll want to look at shade-loving plants that are also relatively drought-tolerant as they’ll be sharing the available soil moisture with the Lilly Pillies.

Here are some ideas on what you could plant under a Lilly Pilly.

Viola hederacea (Native Violet)

Viola hederacea | Plant care

If you’re looking for an excellent groundcover plant that will thrive in shaded conditions and also produce pretty purple and white flowers, then you can’t go past the native violet. 

These plants are relatively tough and will grow almost anywhere. Plus, they spread on their own through underground rhizomes. Or, you can easily dig up young plants and use them to fill in empty spaces.

Native violets would be ideal for planting under a Lilly Pilly hedge as they’ll suppress weed growth and won’t mind the shady conditions.

Clivia miniata (Bush Lily)

Clivia miniata | Plant care

Clivias are another shade-loving plant that will grow well under a Lilly Pilly.

Not only will you get a lovely contrast with the dark green strappy leaves, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the bright blooms from late winter to early spring.

Clivia miniata comes in a range of flower colours including orange, yellow and red. You’ll be amazed at how well these plants will bloom even in low-light conditions.

Crinum Lilies

Crinum Lily | Plant care

There are a variety of species in the Crinum genus with five species being native to Australia. These plants are extremely hardy and will grow well in a shaded spot. 

I have some of these planted under a pittosporum hedge and they grow well without any additional care from me.

Crinum lilies grow from massive underground bulbs and have large strappy leaves. They produce flowers in various shades on tall stems during summer.

After flowering, the plants will generally die down but pop up again in late autumn and winter. Their lovely green foliage adds a nice contrast to the foliage of the Lilly Pilly. 

The bulbs do multiply as well so you won’t need to plant a lot to get some good coverage. It is possible to dig up the bulbs and divide them but I have found it difficult to actually get them out of the ground.

Crinum pedunculatum or swamp lily is native to Australia and has gorgeous white spidery-type flowers.

Just be aware that these plants are toxic to humans and pets if ingested. 

Hellebores

Hellebores | Plant care

I’ve recently started growing hellebores in my garden in relatively shady spots. These gorgeous plants are known for their love of shady areas in the garden and their winter blooming period.

The plants have lovely dark green leaves and are fairly low-growing, only reaching a height of around 30 cm.

They will need some additional watering in summer but will delight you with their blooms in winter.

Cordylines

Cordylines 1 | Plant care

Cordylines come in a wide range of foliage colours from green to deep red.

These plants are ideal for planting under Lilly Pillies as they tolerate shade and are also quite drought-tolerant.

You could even mix up the colours a little to create quite a stunning display.

Dwarf New Zealand Flax

Phormium New Zealand Flax | Plant care

New Zealand flax plants come in a wide variety of different foliage colours and make for a perfect underplanting of a Lilly Pilly hedge. Their strappy leaves add a certain structure to the garden and the plants are easy to care for.

You can even get varieties that have tricolour leaves such as Phormium Flax ‘Tricolour’ or Phormium Flax ‘Maori Chief’. 

For a truly spectacular display, you could consider Phormium tenax ‘Anna Red Flax’. It has striking pink leaves with an olive green edging.

Dianella

Dianella caerulea Blue Flax Lily 1 | Plant care

Dianellas are another grass-like group of plants that would look great when planted under Lilly Pillies. There are a range of different species and cultivars. 

Some varieties, like the Dianella caerulea (Blue Flax Lily) have light green leaves with stunning bright blue flowers. Others have deep green leaves with blue and yellow flowers on deep red stems.

Dianellas are extremely easy to grow and won’t require much care once planted under your Lilly Pilly. These plants are also drought-tolerant once they’ve established themselves in your garden.

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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