Why is My Lilly Pilly Drooping? Tips to Revive and Strengthen Your Plant

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Lilly Pilly plants are a popular choice for many gardeners, often used as hedges or standalone trees. These evergreen plants are known for their attractive foliage, which can be a vital part of a home garden or landscape. However, it’s not uncommon for these plants to experience some issues, such as drooping leaves, causing concern for their caretakers.

In this article, readers will find useful information about the common causes of Lilly Pilly’s drooping and the steps they can take to remedy the situation. By understanding the potential reasons and implementing the suggested solutions, it is possible to restore the health and beauty of a drooping Lilly Pilly.

Understanding Lilly Pilly Trees

Lilly Pilly trees, also known as Australian Cherry trees, are versatile and hardy shrubs or small trees native to Australia. Often used as ornamental or for hedging purposes, they are popular for their attractive foliage and colorful berries.

They display flexibility when it comes to growth requirements, thriving in various light conditions, from full sun to partial or half-shade. Additionally, they can be planted in different types of soil, including sandy, clay loam, saline, and poor soil conditions[source]. This adaptability makes them a popular choice among gardeners.

Despite their adaptability, Lilly Pilly trees can face some common issues affecting their health and vigor. Some of the issues include leaf browning due to heat stress, scale infestations, the dropping of leaves due to frost or windy weather, and issues related to pests such as psyllids[source].

Other factors impacting the health of Lilly Pilly trees are root rot, Phytophthora infections, Myrtle rust, and yellowing of leaves which may be caused by overwatering, nutrient deficiency, or pest infestations[source]. It is essential to keep an eye on these issues and address them accordingly to maintain the overall health and appearance of your Lilly Pilly trees.

Common Causes of Drooping

Lilly Pilly trees may experience drooping leaves due to various reasons. This section discusses some common causes, including water stress, pest infestations, diseases, and fertilization issues.

Water Stress

One of the primary reasons for drooping leaves in a Lilly Pilly tree is water stress, which may be due to overwatering or underwatering. Ensuring proper watering techniques and maintaining consistent soil moisture is crucial to prevent drooping leaves. It is essential to monitor the soil moisture regularly and adjust the watering frequency accordingly.

Pest Infestations

Pest infestations can cause drooping leaves in Lilly Pilly trees. Common pests that affect Lilly Pilly trees include aphids, scale insects, and psyllids. These pests can damage the leaves and lead to drooping. Regular inspection for pests and implementing suitable pest control measures are essential to prevent further damage and promote healthy growth.


Lilly Pilly trees may also suffer from various diseases that cause leaves to droop. For instance, root rot, which can occur due to overly wet soil conditions, significantly affects the plant’s ability to uptake water and nutrients, leading to drooping leaves. Proper soil drainage and careful watering practices help prevent such diseases and maintain the overall health of the tree.

Fertilization Issues

Improper fertilization can lead to drooping leaves in Lilly Pilly trees. Over-fertilization or lack of specific nutrients may result in poor growth and stress to the plant. To prevent fertilization issues, use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer, and follow the recommended application rates. Conduct a soil test, if necessary, to determine the specific nutrient needs of the tree.

How to Diagnose the Problem

Identifying the underlying cause of a drooping Lilly pilly is crucial to find appropriate solutions. This section will guide you in understanding and diagnosing the problem, focusing on two key areas—plant inspection and soil testing.

Inspecting the Plant

Begin by thoroughly examining the plant for any signs of pests, diseases, or other visible issues. Keep an eye out for blackened leaves, which may indicate a sooty mold problem caused by sap-sucking insects. In such cases, treating the plant with white oil or a neem oil-water mixture may help.

Another factor to consider is heat stress or scale infestation, both of which may lead to leaf browning. Meanwhile, frost or windy weather conditions can cause the plants to drop leaves. Also, check for signs of more severe issues such as root rot, Phytophthora, and Myrtle rust, as these can be detrimental to the lilly pilly’s health.

Soil Testing

Drooping leaves in lilly pilly plants are often related to problems with their root system. It is essential to check the soil around the plant, as the issue can be a result of either excessive or insufficient moisture levels.

To determine the soil’s moisture content, dig a small hole near the plant and examine the dampness of the extracted soil. If the soil is too dry, increasing the watering frequency may resolve the drooping issue. On the other hand, overly saturated soil may indicate drainage problems that need to be addressed.

Besides moisture, it’s also essential to examine the soil’s nutrient content, pH level, and overall health, as they can significantly impact the lilly pilly’s growth and development. In case of inadequate nutrient supply or unfavorable pH conditions, amending the soil with appropriate fertilizers or amendments is crucial.

Treatment and Prevention

Proper Watering Techniques

To maintain your lilly pilly’s health and prevent drooping, proper watering is essential. Insufficient water may cause the leaves to droop due to stress. Ensure that the soil is moist, but not waterlogged. Check the moisture level in the soil by digging small holes with a garden trowel to a depth of about 20-30cm, and look for dry soil. If the soil is dry, increase the frequency of watering. On the other hand, waterlogged soil can lead to root rot, so make sure to provide adequate drainage to your lilly pilly plants.

Dealing with Pests

Pests, such as sap-sucking insects, can cause lilly pilly leaves to blacken and droop. To control these pests, spray your tree with a mixture of white oil or neem oil and water. Early removal of affected foliage, along with insecticidal spray, can also help in dealing with psyllids infestation, which can adversely affect your lilly pilly plants. Keep your plants healthy and stress-free, as this can deter pests from infesting your plants.

Disease Management

Diseases like root rot and phytophthora can cause lilly pilly leaves to droop. Both these diseases are caused by waterlogged soil, so ensure proper drainage and avoid over-watering to prevent them. Furthermore, it is essential to monitor your plants for early signs of disease and act promptly to manage any disease outbreaks. If you suspect an infection in your lilly pilly, consult a local gardening expert or a plant clinician for advice on appropriate treatment and prevention methods.

Fertilization Best Practices

Fertilization plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your lilly pilly plants. Excess nitrogen fertilizer can encourage pests like thrips that may cause leaves to droop. To avoid this, adopt proper fertilization practices by applying the recommended amount of fertilizer as per the plant’s requirements. In addition, using slow-release or organic fertilizers can provide your plants with the right nutrients for optimal growth and minimize the risk of nitrogen-induced pest infestations.

When to Seek Professional Help

It is crucial to identify the causes of your Lilly Pilly drooping, as they could range from insufficient watering to disease or pest infestations. In some cases, you might need to consult with a professional to ensure the survival and health of your plants.

If you’re unable to determine the cause of drooping leaves, consider seeking professional help from a horticulturist, as they can better diagnose issues and recommend appropriate treatments. This is especially important when your plants have no signs of improvement after trying various troubleshooting methods, such as adjusting the watering frequency or applying natural remedies.

Another reason to consult a professional is if you suspect a disease, such as root rot or fungal infection, which can spread to other plants in your garden if left untreated. A qualified expert can guide you through the process of identifying the problem and implementing effective solutions.

In cases of severe pest infestations, such as those involving scale insects or caterpillars, a professional can help you choose and apply the right pesticide or biological control method. This ensures the safety and well-being of your other plants, as well as the beneficial insects in your garden.


In summary, there are multiple reasons that can lead to a drooping lilly pilly. Factors such as heat stress, improper watering, and pest infestations are common culprits. Furthermore, other issues like root rot, Myrtle rust, and unfavorable weather conditions can also cause the plant to exhibit signs of distress.

To help revive a drooping lilly pilly, it is essential to first identify if the soil has proper drainage, as too much or too little moisture could lead to root problems. In the case of heat stress, dead leaves can be left on the plant to provide some shelter for other foliage while ensuring proper watering (KnowledgeBurrow).

It is also important to be aware of pests and diseases that can affect the health of the plant. Scale infestations, frost, windy weather, root rot, Phytophthora, and Myrtle rust are all common reasons for a dying lilly pilly (HaveGarden). Be proactive in monitoring these signs and treat any occurrences promptly.

By understanding the potential causes and providing necessary care, you can successfully manage your lilly pilly’s health and prevent drooping. Proper attention to watering, drainage, pest control, and overall plant maintenance can lead to the thriving growth of these beautiful and functional plants.

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