Lilly Pillies have long been popular in Australia, particularly for hedging and topiary purposes. They are evergreen, usually with glossy green foliage that flushes with colour when the new growth comes through. There are many varieties on the market – here are some of the virtues of our favourite at PMA.
Syzygium ‘Big Red’ comes from Queensland nursery owners Scott and Peta McLean. The pair own and operate Crystal Waters Nursery in south east Queensland and have been working with lilly pillys for decades. Back in 2003 they identified a lone seedling within a batch of Syzygium australe that had a much faster growth rate than the rest and also much bigger leaves with a dark red flush.
Quickly recognising the potential of a new variety that could offer faster results and with increased colour displays, they isolated the seedling and the rest, as they say, is history.
The plant basically named itself, being christened after its rich colour and large leaf size. It will grow to a maximum height of approximately 4m (as with every plant, it’s dependent on location and climatic conditions), making it a medium growing lilly pilly perfect for a range of applications. Like many other varieties, ‘Big Red’ also produces lovely white flowers over summer followed by berries. These attract native birds, so it’s a good choice if you would like to encourage wildlife into your garden.
‘Big Red’ is celebrated for its deep crimson colour which is amongst the darkest available on the market. This makes it perfect for adding interest into the garden by creating striking colour contrasts. ‘Big Red’ is a winner for hedging and can screen a shed or provide you with some much needed privacy around entertainment areas.
‘Big Red’ responds very well to shaping and as such is often used for creating displays with a formal edge. It’s a great choice for those keen on using Australian natives, but replicating a more formal garden design. The colour lends another dimension to topiary shapes. When the new red growth bursts into life it’s nothing short of striking.
I’ve seen some great plantings around pools too. Regular pruning if you’re wanting a particular size and shape also means you are constantly removing the flowers and therefore preventing the berry production – not something that most pool owners relish.
A fast growth rate has resulted in ‘Big Red’ becoming popular for new home gardens but also for bulk landscape purposes. Look out for this great all round choice for many Australian gardens. It’s hardy, frost and dry tolerant too – however protect from frosts while your plants are young and still establishing themselves.
[This is a sponsored post brought to you by Plants Management Australia]