Geijera parviflora (Wilga, Australian Willow )

February 27, 2005

Featured tree


Origin & Natural Range: Australia, from inland South Australia, through Victoria, New South Wales to Queensland. Occurring naturally on red sandy loams inland in semi-arid regions.

Habit: A small to medium evergreen tree with a rounded to oval crown. The moderately dense canopy is generally naturally symmetrical, and having fine textured foliage lends a graceful air to the tree. The structural branches are ascending with pendulous smaller branches and foliage. Usually forms a single trunk with low branching. Has a moderate lifespan; the mature dimensions vary between 7-12m in height by 6-11m in width.

Description: Leaves are narrow lanceolate to linear, to 20cm long, pendulous; glossy or dull grey green to olive green, and very aromatic when crushed. Bark smooth and light grey when young becoming brown to reddish brown and rough and fissured with age. Flowers are small, white to cream, arranged in loose, short terminal panicles appearing in late spring through summer; inconspicuous. Fruit are greenish brown capsules, inconspicuous.

Environmental Constraints: The species performs best in full sun though will tolerate partial shade. Grows in a variety of soil types from clays to sands though prefers well drained sandy loams slightly alkaline to acidic. Highly tolerant of drought, moderate aerosol salt and wind tolerance.

Root space: Using the Crown Projection Method (CPM), a specimen with a mature canopy diameter of 6m or 11m respectively a single specimen would require approximately 28m 2 /95m 2 area or 17m 3 or 57m 3 volume. Considering a 35 year growing period, the tree mature tree crown could be expected to be in the range of 6-11m and would therefore require 17m to 57m 3 volume.

Water Requirements: The following table provides a guide to the watering requirements of establishing trees. Irrigation frequency will vary depending on the soil type, and daily climatic conditions.

Water Requirements: The following table provides a guide to the watering requirements of establishing trees. Irrigation frequency will vary depending on the soil type, and daily climatic conditions.

Guide to water requirments for tree establishment in Melbourne

Watering Requirements

  • < 5cm Daily for 2-4weeks; every other day for 2 months; weekly until established
  • 5-10cm Daily for 1- 2 moths; every other day for 4 months; weekly until established
  • 10cm Daily for 2 months; every other day for 5 months; weekly until established

Adapted form Gilman (1997)

Notes: Wilga is an attractive small tree, which provides all year greenery. Its graceful pendulous foliage gives it some similarity to the Salix babylonica (Weeping Willow) from a distance. The dense canopy makes it suitable as a screen or barrier planting and as a small shade tree. The fastest growth is achieved in an aspect providing full sun.

Once established they require low maintenance. The branches form strong unions, and are not easily broken. As it branches low some pruning may be required for height clearance, left unpruned and the foliage will reach the ground. The root system is not regarded as vigorous (Poor, 1984).

The specimen is an underutilized Australian native tree that has potential as an urban landscape plant. The symmetrical form (photograph 1) and evergreen nature provide an attractive silhouette all year. The foliage has a slender gracefulness (photograph 2) contributing to its pendulous form. The single trunk that develops becomes stout. Initially covered with smooth grey bark (photograph 3), this becomes rough and fissured with age. The flowers (photograph 4), whilst attractive are small and not showy


Annon (n.d.)
Gilman, E. F., 1997, Trees for urban and suburban landscapes , Delmar Publishers.
Kellow. J in 2000 The Burnlery plant directory version 1.05. Burnley College
2000 The Burnlery plant directory version 1.05. Burnley College


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7 Responses to “Geijera parviflora (Wilga, Australian Willow )”

  1. James Martens-Mullaly Says:

    Thank you Helen for your enquiry,

    A quick web based search revealed several links to American websites providing information regarding the use and suitability in the United States of Australian Willow (Geijera parviflora) as an ornamental plant. I have included two of these links below, which I hope are of some help.


  2. Helen Says:

    Most interesting reading everyone’s comments about the Australian Willow
    (Wilga). We recently came across this tree, waiting to be planted in a neighbors front garden here in San Diego, CA. We are looking for drought tolerant trees for our back garden, so I was pleased to read that these trees are very tough and drought tolerant and can survive in our clay soil. I was very much struck by the delicate, whispy look of the foliage, much like a willow tree. I jotted the information from the container and went online to read up on it. Any more tips for growing this tree in San Diego would be welcomed. Thank you cheers Helen

  3. danny Says:

    john, i have guite a few narrow leaf & a few broad leaf wilgas in 5 inch pots(all very healthy).If your interested contact me at

  4. john Says:

    Jim. Your note interesting re germination of Wilga and variation in species,is there any chance of obtaining(purchasing) from you some small plants.
    Cheers John

  5. Jim Says:

    My location is Darling Downs Qld.
    There appears to be two distinct varieties of Wilga here – a broadleaf and a narrow leaf. The former is a larger tree with a more visible trunk while the narrow leaf is/can be semi shrub like (in earlier stages). The do handle quite clay soils OK with little drainage
    Generally propogated by passing through birds – they come up next to old fence posts etc.
    Young seedlings to 60 cm high transplant well and can be left bare rooted for a few days with no detrimental effect (they are really tough). Nost young trees seem to come up in drought conditions quite happily.
    A great wind break try and also a fine host for mistletoe which doesn’t seem to worry the tree and the mistletoe flower is the prize of a certain butterfly (can’t remember the name).
    We are constantly planting them.

  6. Greg Pollard Says:

    Thanks for your query Simone.
    The following is an excerpt from the Australian Native Plants Society Website which I hope is of some help. Unfortunately, we don’t have any direct experience ourselves.
    “Propagation of G.parviflora from seed is difficult. It is usually recommended that seed be sown when fresh but, even then, germination is unreliable. The book ‘Growing Australian Native Plants from Seed’ by Murray Ralph suggests that the seed coat be fractured and then removed prior to sowing.”

  7. Simone Says:

    Can anyone tell me how to grow a Wilga from seed? I have a lovely tree with plenty of seeds, but haven’t had any success.

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