Melaleuca hypericifolia (Hillock bush) is a shrub which grows to a height of 3m and a width of 3m. It has a hardiness rating of 9 and is quite resilient to frost. Hillock bushes will flower in December to February.
The flowers from this plant are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and they are pollinated by insects.
Australia - New South Wales, S. Queensland
Introducing Melaleuca hypericifolia
Ideal Conditions for Planting Hillock Bush
Hillock bush will grow in light (sandy), medium (loamy), hard (clay) soil. It is important for the soil to be well drained. Hillock bush prefers moist soils. It can grow in semi or areas with no shade.
Usually on coastal headlands in wet soils, it is also found on moist ledges and cliffs on the Great Dividing range.
Melaleuca hypericifolia Cultivation Details
Requires a fertile, well-drained moisture retentive lime-free soil in full sun. Prefers a soil that does not contain much nitrogen. Succeeds in heavy shade and moist soils in Australian gardens but does not withstand heavy frosts. Tolerates salt spray.
A very ornamental plant, but it can be difficult to establish and is unlikely to be hardy in many areas of the country. Plants can tolerate temperatures down to about -5°C. Seed takes about 12 months to develop on the plant, the woody seed capsules persist for 3 or more years.
Any pruning is best done after the plants have flowered with the intention of maintaining a compact habit. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
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An essential oil obtained from the fresh leaves and twigs is anthelmintic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic and highly stimulant. It is used internally as a stimulating expectorant in laryngitis and bronchitis, as an antiseptic in cystitis and as an anthelmintic for roundworms.
It is used externally to treat various skin infections. It relieves headaches.
Melaleuca hypericifolia Propagation
Seed - surface sow in spring or autumn onto a pot of permanently moist soil in a warm greenhouse. Immerse in 5 cm of water and do not water from overhead. Grow on until the seedlings are 0.5cm tall then remove from the water and pot up a week later.
Seedlings are liable to damp off when grown this way, sowing the seed thinly, good ventilation and hygiene are essential for success. Grow the plants on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and then plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Consider giving the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe lateral shoots with a heel, July/August in a frame.
Plants can be used for hedging in climates suitable for their growth.
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. Author: Huxley. A.