Q&A: What’s wrong with our lillypilly hedge?

Lillypilly Our lillypillies are not thriving due to a bug infestation, and we’ve tried everything. The garden faces west, but there is a high fence and building in front of it that shades it almost completely in winter. It gets some sun when its directly overhead. Also, the soil is often damp without watering. Can you please help?

Your lillypillies are unlikely to ever do well in this position because there’s just not enough sunshine. Without it their growth will always be weak and their canopy thin, and it’s this general lack of health and vigour that has made them so susceptible to pest attack.

Best you bite the bullet, remove these plants and explore other options to soften this messy wall that dominates the view.

Lining the entire wall with timber lattice would provide instant unifying relief from the current visual mishmash of surfaces. This new addition could be used to support climbing plants or pots filled with cascading plants that could be attached at different levels. Concrete reinforcing mesh could be used in a similar fashion or you could simply run vertical wires evenly spaced along the length of the wall for climbers to cling to.

Bower vine (Pandorea jasminoides) is a colourful native climber that would do well, as would snake vine (Hibbertia scandens). For wall containers consider a range of rhipsalis, Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’, and kangaroo vine (Cissus antarctica).

For more solutions to gardening questions, including identifying a spiky caterpillar and helping sick elkhorn and staghorn ferns, check out the June issue, out now.