lilly pilly foliage

Lilly Pillys For Leaf Colour

Syzygium, Acmena, and Waterhousea - together commonly called lilly pilly - are one of the most popular native plant families that we sell, widely planted and loved by gardeners across Australia.

They're evergreen, dense, bushy all the way down - perfect for privacy screens and boundary hedging. And they come in sizes from waist-high to tall trees, to suit all kinds of purpose.

Lilly pilly bushes are also prized as nectar plants - they have masses of fluffy flowers in white, pink, or magenta - and as bushtucker, for their big bright pink, cherry-red or white berries.

But did you know that many lilly pilly varieties also have very colourful new leaves - giving you four seasons of interest, and lots of great value!

green lilly pilly foliage

Deep Green Leaf Lilly Pilly

If you're after an all-green hedge you can't go past lilly pilly.
Green is an odd place to start when talking about coloured leaf foliage plants, but green is a colour too!

And a very restful one in the garden, perfect as a gentle backdrop to brighter shrubs and perennials.

Shown, clockwise from top left :

  • Tiny Trev, small, neat, and very bushy, lives up to his name. The super-small leaves are perfect if you want to practise your topiary skills, or just create a low crisp border hedge.
  • Acmena smithii flips the script, taking all-green lilly pillys to tall slender rainforest tree size.
  • Weeping Waterhousea often grows alongside smithii, another tall stately tree for acreage.
  • Aussie Compact is a ripper all-purpose hedging variety, glossy and bushy all the way down. It's tall, but responds happily to hard pruning if you need to.

green lilly pilly foliage

Green Leaf Lilly Pilly

Moving into some lighter shades of green, just as restful on the eye and adaptable in any garden scheme.

Shown, clockwise from top left :

  • Syzygium moorei aka coolamon, is usually grown for its hot pink fluffy flowers - but those broad glossy leaves make for a handsome tree or tall privacy hedge too.
  • Acmena smithii Minor is much smaller than its smithii parent above; it has in contrast small pointed leaves, and an open light appearance beautiful for compact hedges.
  • Stunning new variety Waterhousea Sweeper glows lime-apple green in sunlight, and weeps elegantly. It's fast-growing too.
  • Sublime is dark green most of the time, apart from right after clipping when these new leaves emerge vivid lime in sharp contrast.
gold lilly pilly foliage

Gold Leaf Lilly Pilly

Some of this golden leaf colour is there all year, some appears stronger after clipping, when the new foliage emerges.

It's never a harsh gold, always softened with muted green and copper tones, to harmonise with a wide range of garden plants.

Shown, clockwise from top left :

  • Fast-growing Aussie Southern is a reliable favourite for narrow spaces where a tall attractive living screen is needed
  • Moonlight Flame has brightly variegated cream and green leaves which look fresh all year
  • Cheetah is a super-fast-growing variety - hence the name - with pale green leaves that take on subtle copper tints when young
  • For full-on glowing golden hedges you can't go past the perfectly named Hinterland Gold, the goldenest lilly pilly in our range
copper tlilly pilly foliage

Copper Leaf Lilly Pilly

Hinterland Gold's rich range of colour brings us to the copper leaf lilly pillys, shining most intensely after clipping when the new leaves emerge.

Shown, clockwise from top left :

  • Select is selected for its big fat red berries, its abundant fluffy white flowers, its resistance to psyllid bugs. It's easy to forget it's also a handsome deep green dense and bushy hedge with coppery tones to the new leaves
  • If you love a neatly-clipped hedge then
  • Bush Christmas will reward you with tight, dense foliage; crisp edges; and a subtle copper-orange sheen all over those little leaves
  • Like Select earlier, Glasshouse Select is dense and bushy, psyllid resistant. It's also fast-growing, giving you burnished green-bronze-copper-olive shades all year in no time.
  • Baby Boomer, is small and bushy like Bush Christmas, but with larger leaves it's ideal for less formal looks and low-maintenance gardens

rustlilly pilly foliage

Bronze Leaf Lilly Pilly

Deeper and darker colours, shading to olive and rust-red. Very attractive, and striking when paired with brighter golds and rich purple foliages.

Shown, clockwise from top left :

  • Firescreen is deeply coloured, fast-growing, and bushy all the way down to the ground, for perfect living privacy screens
  • Superior is fast-growing, psyllid resistant, and deeply-coloured with glossy burnished olive-bronze foliage. No wonder it's fast catching our best-selling variety Resilience in the popularity stakes
  • Express lives up to its name, giving you a fast-growing hedge that's mostly all-over green - except after clipping when gentle bright bronze tones emerge
  • Aussie Southern, is very fast-growing, tall and slender. Paired with leaf colour from rust-red to bronze, lime-gold and deep green it's no wonder it's so popular with Aussie gardeners

rustlilly pilly foliage

Rust Leaf Lilly Pilly

Vibrant, glossy, glowing in sunlight - whether you call this colour rust or tan or chestnut or dark orange it makes for very handsome hedging year round.

Shown, clockwise from top left :

  • Toffee Apple is an autumn bonfire of colour in toffee-caramel and candy-apple-red, overlaid onto rich green. The compact size means you don't have to clip it, but you'll get more of that delicious colour when you do.
  • Little Tom raises money for charity as well as creating a colourful hedge
  • Red Cliffs is a new variety with dark rust-red new growth that matures to warm copper
  • Resilience is our very best seller, a dead set choice if you need tall and green but not boring. Look at those vibrant orange-rust new leaves!

maroon lilly pilly foliage

Maroon Leaf Lilly Pilly

Moody and intense, yet surprisingly cheerful, shades of maroon harmonise beautifully with greens.

Shown, clockwise from top left :

  • Compact and slender Forest Flame has small fine narrow leaves and an upright habit, for an elegant look. Leaves emerge deepest burgundy, glowing magenta when the light shines through, and gradually maturing to an unobtrusive green.
  • Syzygium wilsonii is usually grown for its stunning big fluffy pompom flowers - but it's worth growing for its leaves too, as you can see. They are a rainbow of maroon, plum, pink, and peach shades - and long, so you get more of that colour.
  • Winter Lights and Garden Lights both bring effortless foliage colour to your garden hedges. Winter Lights shades to the maroon-rust-orange end of the spectrum; Garden Lights to maroon-olive-bronze.
  • Cherry Surprise is a taller form of Forest flame - just as slender and elegant, and as deeply coloured. It doesn't need much clipping - but it's hard to resist when the new leaves emerge with so much intense burgundy colour!

pink lilly pilly foliage

Pink Leaf Lilly Pilly

Gorgeously pretty, these varieties transform themselves when the new shoots emerge.

Shown, clockwise from top left :

  • Syzygium cryptophlebium plum satinash is wildly colourful for a brief period when its otherworldly purple berries appear. It has a second burst of colour when new leaves emerge in bright pink.
  • Allyn Magic is such a popular hedging plant for compact bordering - one reason is the way the leaf colour changes through a kaleidoscope of cosmetic shades from blush peach to lipstick pink
  • Cascade is THE variety for full-on leaf colour for many gardeners. The leaves are two to three times bigger than other lilly pillys, unmissable in spring and after clipping when new growth develops. Click the name to check out the product's image gallery and see the range and intensity of colour.
  • Syzygium luehmannii, riberry, a popular bushtucker, bears enormous amounts of bright pink fruit. It also surprises with vibrantly coloured foliage in an assortment of pinks and peaches. We have this slender tree planted by our reception building, and it's a joy in every season.

orange lilly pilly foliage

Orange Leaf Lilly Pilly

Who would imagine a simple green hedge could turn so vibrant? Plant these varieties where the sunlight can shine through for maximum orange colour impact

Shown, clockwise from top left :

  • Elite is the hedge with all the gifts : fantastic crops of big red berries, abundant white fluffy flowers, tall and dense foliage. The new growth is this striking coppery-orange.
  • Orange Twist is by far the orangiest orange of all, truly tangerine, with a dense bushy texture ideal for wildlife to shelter amongst
  • You can watch the Sunset all day in your garden when you plant this vibrantly colourful glossy-leaved lilly pilly
  • Ozbreed's Straight and Narrow is straight, and narrow, and very brightly colourful when the new leaves emerge in a flame-like gradient of colour.
rustlilly pilly foliage

Hemilampra Lilly Pilly

As you can see, there's a lot of choice when it comes to lilly pilly leaf colour - for low hedges and tall privacy screens, for flowering feature shrubs and bushtucker treats.

If you really can't decide, and you don't have room to plant one of each! - why not plant a blush satinash - Acmena hemilampra?

We discovered all these leaf colours in the one species, in our our nursery tubestock.

Best of all, it's a compact tree, that is smothered in big white berries in season, to give you even more colour to enjoy.

We hope this has given you inspiration for your own garden.
Which lilly pilly is your favourite?