Monday, 11 February 2008


One of the drought tolerant Australian plants I am currently trying out in my garden as an alternative to traditional topiary is the Lilly Pilly.

The lilly pilly is one of the most popular plants in Australian gardening, particularly for topiary and hedging. Lilly pilly is the common name for a range of separate genera of what are basically evergreen rainforest plants with glossy green leaves.

Once lilly pillies were all known as eugenias. In recent years botanists have divided them into several genera, including Acmena, Syzygium and Waterhousea. They are very adaptable because they can take it dry or wet for long periods at a time but they do like it best where there is some good summer rainfall and deep soil.

They supposedly don’t tolerate frosts, but according to Di Johnson of the Garden Vineyard, they are undamaged by the mild frosts she recieves. I'll let you know how they fare here in the Midlands UK.

The most commonly available form here in the UK is Syzygium australe which has more pendulous red tipped new growth than many.

If anyone has tales they want to share of growing lilly pillys outside of their native lands - or suppliers outside the UK, please contact me through my garden design studio website

UK SUPPLIERS (according to the RHS!)

Syzygium australe

Deelish Garden Centre, Ireland

The Romantic Garden, Norwich

Shrubland Park Nurseries, Ipswich

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