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Growing Lemon Myrtle in WA

Author

Baileys Fertiliser

Published

30 June 2020

Lemon Myrtle is undoubtedly one of the most popular Australia native herbs, and likely the most versatile. It has an intense citrus fragrance and flavour, and has long been used in Aboriginal cuisine and medicine for its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. With its elegant branches of foliage and fragrant, creamy Autumn flowers, it's a beautiful ornamental and edible addition to any garden. 


Planting

Lemon myrtle is quite versatile and can be used as a screen, hedge, feature tree or will do well in large pots and even indoors.

This Australian native tree originates from central to south-eastern Queensland in the sub-tropical rain forests. Being quite hardy, it is equally at home in WA, if given adequate water during warmer months and shelter from cold winds or frost when young. 

In its natural habitat, it can grow to a height up to 20 meters, but in WA, expect a height of 3-6 meters. In milder areas of WA, it can handle full sun positions, but in hot, dry areas does best in dappled shade.

  • Source from local nurseries, or propagated from cuttings taken in early Autumn.
  • Plants like fertile, well-drained soil, with a pH between 5-6.5. 
  • If planting in ground, enrich the soil first with organic compost and manure, digging in Baileys Clay & Compost to existing soil.
  • If planting in pots, use a native mix made to Australian Standards, such as Baileys Native Premium Potting Mix.
  • Thorough mulching mimics its native rain-forest habitat. Once planted mulch with an organic mulch, such as Baileys Moisture Mulch.
  • Keep well-watered throughout the year.

Fertilising, Pruning & Care

Lemon Myrtle are slow growing and the addition of a slow release, organic fertiliser, such as Baileys Soil Matters Garden in Spring will help promote growth. If using as a screen or hedge, regular light tip pruning will be required to encourage dense growth. If growing as a feature tree, choose a specimen that has a single trunk and as the plant grows remove lower branches to create the desired shape.

Lemon Myrtle has relatively few issues with pests and diseases. Myrtle rust is a serious fungal disease not established in WA, but poses a great risk to trees and shrubs.  It attacks and kills many plants belonging to the Myrtaceae family including eucalypts, bottlebrushes, paperbarks and peppermint trees. Suspect symptoms should be reported to the Pest and Disease Information Service. 

Aphids and mites can weaken growth and can also cause sooty mould. Control by spraying with eco-oil.