Wilga, Australian Willow
Wilga is a tree that is highly sought after by many urban horticulturists because of its extremely ornamental character, tolerance to a wide range of soil and climate types, and its diminutive size, rarely reaching 9m in height and 8m broad. It has elegant, leathery, ovate foliage that is extremely dark green when grown in some shade. The flowers are white and strongly-scented—similar to citrus, to which Wilga is related.
G. parviflora is indigenous to much of the east coast, extending from Queensland to the dry inland areas of Victoria. It is highly tolerant of soils where irrigation is limited, and will grow well on any well-drained soil, including alkaline soils. It grows well in full sun, although the foliage may be slightly yellow. Wilga will also thrive in some shade, probably that from tall eucalypts, and the foliage is very rich, dark green. In dense shade, Wilga will not grow well, and will not flower at all.
The market does not produce enough G. parviflora because it is extremely difficult to germinate from seed, and cutting propagation is unreliable. Because of this difficulty in cutting propagation, few selections have been made, although in California there is a selected form at the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation near San Francisco (called the Australian Willow).
Metropolitan Tree Growers are proud to have Wilga available, allowing Melbourne horticulturists to take advantage of this excellent, infrequently-available street tree.
A very slow-growing tree that will take up to 36 months to produce a 1.5-1.8m tree.
Typical mature height: to 9m
Useful in: streetscapes, height-restricted areas
Sites for best growth: well-drained, all pH