Many native Australian plants are showing their versatility and value in our kitchens as well as in the garden and lemon myrtle, Backhousia citriodora, is an attractive medium sized tree that is a very worthy garden plant. Lemon myrtle has pretty white flowers in summer (pictured right) and rich lemon scented leaves, which can be used in chicken and fish dishes as well as desserts like cakes, cheesecake and puddings, not to mention teas and cordials.
Lemon myrtle prefers a warm climate, however can be grown in cooler areas in a sheltered spot. In an ideal location it can grow to up to 20 m tall, but in a home garden setting will usually be smaller and regular trimming can help to keep it more compact. Feed Australian native plants like lemon myrtle each spring and autumn with Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser, which provides plants with gentle, slow release organic nutrients.
Myrtle rust is a relatively new disease in Australia which attacks native plants such as lilly pilly, agonis, tea tree (Melaleuca), bottlebrush (Callistemon), Austromyrtus and Eucalypts. It initially causes bright yellow to orange powdery spots which may be surrounded by a purple ring and causes leaves to distort. Extensive myrtle rust infection can result in plant death. As soon as myrtle rust is noticed it’s important to initiate some control measures, which will help limit the spread both to other garden plants and also into our bushland.