Waterhousea floribunda-Weeping lilly pilly
Waterhousea floribunda-Weeping lilly pilly is a medium to large evergreen tree. Forms a dense canopy of weeping foliage. A very attractive tree it produces clusters of white flowers during summer. It then produces greenish berries.
Although its quite a large tree it can be pruned to form a privacy screen. Its grown as a screening plant and as a specimen tree. As a specimen it provides excellent shade areas.
Can be grown in a sunny or partly shaded position. Will tolerate light frosts without damage, but always bounces back even after a big frost. Being a rainforest plant it should be kept moist during warm dry spells.
Botanical name: Waterhousea floribunda
Common name: Weeping lilly pilly
Native to: Australia
Position: Full sun/Part shade
Is waterhousea floribunda frost tolerant?
We find waterhousea's to be one of the most frost resistant lilly pillies. Out here in west gippsland its not uncommon for us to experience an overnight temperature of -5C.
These temperatures will cause some frost damage but its generally minimal compared to syzygium australes.
Even small plants will survive such temperatures. It's only tubestock that is vulnerable.
Can you prune weeping lilly pilly?
Of course. Like all types of lilly pilly, waterhousea can be pruned whenever the need arises. They can also be pruned incredibly hard.
This is particularly useful if you inherited a property with an overgrown lilly pilly hedge. You can basically cut a lilly p[illy down to the stump and it will rejuvenate.
Because of its ability to survive hard pruning we think its a much better hedge choice than pittosporum.
When is the best time to prune weeping lilly pillies?
We find the best time to prune lilly pillies is in mid autumn. By this time the summer growth has almost finished and you should be able to wait until autumn next year before pruning again.
We select this timing so we can get away with just one major prune a year. But light trims can be carried out at anytime of year.
If the hedge is totally overgrown and you need to prune it back really hard (basically cutting off all the foliage) wait until early spring when the frost threat has past.
If wanting to prune hard during summer wait until autumn when the extreme heat has past.
How far apart should you plant waterhousea floribunda to form a hedge?
I think waterhouseas look their best as a large informal hedge. At least 2m high but preferably 3m or higher.
For a hedge 2m high plant them around 1m apart. For a larger 3m or above hedge 1.5-2m apart.
To speed up growth add some slow release fertiliser to the base of the plants in early spring.
Can you overwater weeping lilly pilly?
You cant really overwater a lilly pilly provided the soil is adequately drained, however you most certainly can plant lilly pillies in the wrong spot where they become waterlogged.
I can speak from experience. We have very wet soil especially during winter. Some winters it becomes completely waterlogged. We planted some lilly pillies in a particularly wet spot thinking they would be fine.
Wrong! The roots system never developed and one day the wind blew them over. Meanwhile the lilly pillies we planted along our boundary next to spoon drains that remove excess water they thrived.
So steer clear of waterlogged soils when planting lilly pillies or add drains before planting.
Pests & diseases
The only real pest we have trouble with on our waterhouseas is psyllids. These are what forms those unsightly small bumps on the new growth. Treatment with a systemic pesticide that targets sucking and chewing insects is effective.
So far we haven't had any problems with paropsides calypso (lilly pilly bettle) this little bugger wreaks havoc on our syszygiums but has so far left our waterhouseas alone.
If they do become a problem the above pesticides work.
How do you propagate weeping lilly pilly?
Our preferred method is using the seed collected in autumn. For full details read this article or check out the short video below. Cuttings are also a viable option if no seed is available.