Lilly Pilly hedge

Lilly Pilly Hedge Dying? (Here’s Why & How To Fix It!)

Lilly Pilly plants may show dying signs due to various reasons. Heat stress and Scale infestation cause leaf browning. Frost and windy weather can make them drop leaves. Root Rot, Phytophthora, and Myrtle rust are also common reasons for the death of Lilly Pilly plants. Psyllids are a usual sight in Lilly Pilly hedge plants. They damage the plant by encouraging Sooty mold.

Lilly Pilly is a fast-growing hedge native to Australia. This plant is also called Australian cherry as it’s red/purple fruits are edible.

This hedging plant works great as a privacy screen or windbreak. The plant can work as a standalone ornamental plant too.

Gardeners complain that their Lilly Pilly hedge is running into some issues. This may happen due to many reasons.

Let’s look at all these problems one by one.

Why is my Lilly Pilly leaves turning brown?

Lilly Pilly leaves turn brown due to heat stress. Lilly Pilly leaves turn brown due to improper watering. Both overwatering and underwatering can cause the leaves to turn brown.

Lilly Pilly heat stress

Lilly Pilly gets sunburnt in the hot climate. The leaves become brown in response to excess heat. The leaves shrivel because they can’t get enough water.

To fix: Leave the dead leaves on the plant, they help shelter the other leaves. Water the plant abundantly and wait for the season to end.

Make sure the soil has good drainage. Check the soil with fingers, if it seems dry water until it almost forms a puddle.

Shade the plant if the days are too hot.

Tip: Do not fertilize in such situation, you’ll damage the plant further!

Note: In the case of root rot, leaves first become white and then brown. Identify the problem first and then act!

Scale infestation

Scale infestation can cause white, pink, black, or brown patches or bumps on leaves and stems. Scales are minute insects and are not easily visible.

If the signs match and you’re confident it is a scale infestation, you can use Yates natural spray to get rid of these pesky pests.

Why is my Lilly Pilly dropping leaves?

Lilly Pilly drops leaves due to frosts and heavy winds. The leaves turn brown first before falling off the tree. Some varieties can tolerate such harsh conditions, but some can’t.

To fix: Adding some soil conditioner and Seasol gives them a boost for spring. They’ll bounce back probably by spring if you care well.

Why are Lilly Pilly leaves turning yellow?

Lilly Pilly leaves turn yellow due to overwatering or underwatering. The leaves turn yellow and then become brown. The leaves could also turn rusty-yellow when the plant is infected by Myrtle rust, a fungal disease.

Lilly Pilly Root Rot

Overwatering is bad for Lilly Pilly hedges. Overwatering is not good for the health of the plant and can cause root rot.

Root rotting in Lilly Pilly causes yellowing of the foliage and may also lead to Oedema. Roots suffocate and die, and the tree’s growth will be stunted.

To prevent: Make sure the soil has good drainage. Water only when needed. Check the soil with your fingers if needed.


Waterlogged conditions can even invite Phytophthora into the roots. Phytophthora causes root rot too and can be deadly as it can kill the plant.

This pest also rots the crown. Dark areas develop around the base of the trunk. If you cut some bark off you’ll see a reddish-brown infection caused by the pest.

It is ideal to try and prevent waterlogged conditions. You can’t do much once the disease affects the plant. You just need to get rid of the infected plant and the soil.

Myrtle Rust

Myrtle rust, also known as Guava rust can infest Lilly Pilly hedges. Cool temperatures and high humidity favor its infection. This disease is caused by the fungal pathogen Puccinia psidii.

In plants affected by this rust, yellow-rusty distorted growths/pustules are seen on flowers, fruits, and leaves.

It may induce blooming failure in Lilly Pilly plants. Twig dieback is also seen in some cases. The Lilly Pilly hedge can resist this disease once it establishes well(after 2 months).

Black spots on Lilly Pilly branches

The black spots on Lilly Pilly branches are because of ‘Sooty Mold’, a fungal growth. This fungus grows on parts that are damaged by other insects/bugs like Aphids, Psyllids or scales, etc. The fungus forms on the honeydew secreted by such insects.

This problem is usually harmless to the hedge and can be ignored. But, if it has affected much of the foliage, it may deprive the plant of the required sunlight.

  • To fix: You can’t directly act on the fungus, you need to prevent/eliminate the sucking insects. You can wash off the foliage to remove any honeydew and the mold itself, to an extent.

Psyllids are sap-sucking insects that can infest Lilly Pilly hedges. These are minute insects that can only be seen via a microscope.

There are many Psyllids but Eugenia psyllids infect Lilly Pilly plants specifically. Some Psyllids build a protective layer around them with honeydew and wax.


  • Dimpling or pockmarks are seen in the early stages.
  • Leaves become distorted and terminal shoots die back. Leaves may become discolored.
  • In some cases, defoliation is seen.

How do you get rid of Psyllids on Lilly Pilly?

Removing affected foliage in the early stages followed by insecticidal spray may help. Spraying Confidoror will help if the infection is mild.

You should try to keep the Lilly Pilly plants healthy by watering them just enough. Try to get Lilly Pilly plants that are resistant to Psyllids.

Ideally, you should prevent the Psyllid infestation. Psyllids take advantage of weak and stressed plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions that people mail me frequently. I decided to answer them all in this blog post to help as many people as possible.

When to trim Lilly Pilly hedge?

You can prune the Lilly Pilly hedge as you desire if you do it at the right time. The best time to do this is in late winter.

This will make the hedge ready for new growth in the spring. If the climate is very cool, wait till the frost passes.

How close to the plant Lilly Pilly hedge?

If you are planning to grow hedges out of Lilly Pilly plants, then you need to follow the 3:1 rule.

It means if you want to grow a hedge clipped 3m tall hedge, plant them 1m apart, and so on.

Is Blood and Bone good for Lilly Pillies?

Blood and Bone is a general-purpose fertilizer that you should feed once in the autumn and once again in the spring. Doing this will supply the plants with essential nutrients.

How to thicken up Lilly Pilly hedge?

Do not let new plants grow in height. Prune them in length and breadth to allow for more growth in the form of branches.

Don’t hope that these hedges will fill on if you let them grow. The best way to get a bushy hedge is by pruning it well.