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Syzygium - Growing Guide
Syzygium are members of the myrtle family and have many of the same characteristics as Chilean myrtles in terms of flowers and edible fruits but Syzygium originate from Australia and New Zealand and are not at all widely known or grown in the UK. They grow into large shrubs and small trees in our climate and, like myrtles, prefer to grow in hot, dry sunny conditions with a bit of shelter from the coldest east winds. They certainly enjoy our coastal climate in Cornwall and grow at an exceptional rate.
We currently offer S. paniculatum ‘Newport’ on our website. The common name of S. paniculatum is the ‘magenta lilly pilly’ or ‘magenta cherry’. In New South Wales, Australia, it grows in rainforests where it can grow into a large tree but one should not expect this in UK conditions. The flowers are produced in fluffy white clusters in the height of summer and are quickly followed by edible fruits which are usually magenta in colour. This shrub is planted in Australia for its edible fruits which have a sour apple-like flavour if eaten fresh or cooked into jams.
Syzygium smithii is growing on well at Caerhays and has flowered as a young plant. One of its best features is its striking bright pink then red new growth which appears in May. S. smithii is a New Zealand native and commonly known as ‘monkey apple’. It can be grown as an evergreen hedgerow shrub and has rough woody bark, waxy leaves, creamy-white flowers and white to maroon edible berries or fruits. The flowers can appear from October to March at the ends of smaller branches. We are propagating this species at Burncoose and hope to have it available for sale before too long. As an educated guess we expect our stock plants to grow to 10-12ft in height in full maturity.
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