Quick Screen & Habitat: Hakea salicifolia

This is the Willow Leafed Hakea or Hakea salicifolia, friend to Hakea sericea, the reason I think they are friends is that they have a lot in common, plus they were growing so happily together when I took these photos ๐Ÿ˜‰ as you can see in the image below.

Hakea salicifolia is a fast growing large shrub reaching between 4-5 metres high and 3-4 metres wide. It has a large tough leaf and flowers profusely in winter and spring attracting bees and many small birds.

The dense habit provides excellent protective cover for small birds and the flowers offer food sources for birds of all sizes.

Hakea salicifolia is a very quick grower and therefore makes a useful screening plant, an annual prune will ensure it remains thick and bushy and doesn’t get too tall. It prefers an open open, well drained sunny location in an area with moderate rainfall, it is also frost tolerant. So if you are looking for a hedge or back ground screening plant that will also provides for the wildlife why not give it a try?

33 thoughts on “Quick Screen & Habitat: Hakea salicifolia

  1. Glenn King - Coonabarabran NSW on

    Beautiful Shrubbery screen plants….easy to grow, hardy survivors in challenging climates in the Central West….Ours have been with us 18 years.
    Can you give an indication of their longevity please?

  2. Kath Gadd on

    Hi Glenn,

    If yours are 18 years old you are doing really well, do you regularly prune them?
    If they are looked after with fertiliser, regular pruning and watering they shouldn’t be as susceptible to pests like borers which are often the culprits for killing quick growing native plants.
    I would say 20 years would be a pretty good innings ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Best Wishes,

    Kath

  3. gaetane zufferey on

    What spacing should they planted at for a hedge please?

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi,

      I would space them between 1.5 and 2 metres apart for a thick screen,

      Best Wishes,

      Kath

      • Claire on

        Hi Kath – How fast will these grow? I’ve about to plant mature 2m tall plants and am hoping they’ll grow pretty quickly to block out our neighbour’s house. Any suggestions when planting them? I’m a novice (to say the least).

        • Kath Gadd on

          Hi Claire,

          Hakeas should grow about a metre a year, especially in full sun with well drained soil and regular watering. I would keep them tip pruned to encourage a nice dense habit.
          Good luck!

          Kath

      • Karen Heatley on

        When is the best time to plant them?
        How far from my rural fence should I plant them?
        Thanks Karen

        • Kath Gadd on

          Hi Karen,

          The best time to plant them would be late Winter or Spring, depending when you think you have the kindest weather ๐Ÿ˜‰
          If you have lots of room in your garden I would position them 2-3 metres from the fence and the same distance apart.

          Happy Gardening,

          Best Wishes,

          Kath

  4. Emily Wilson on

    Hi we have just planted a hedge with tube stock and I was wondering how I should prune them?

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Emily,

      If you have put them in quite small, an all round tip prune twice a year should give you a lovely dense green,

      Best Wishes,

      Kath

  5. Gaetane Zufferey on

    Could you please advise what fertiliser to use on my hakea salicifolia hedge. I planted tube stock and they have been in the ground maybe 2 years and have gone rather yellow. They are also not thriving. We have soil that is a bit clayey but made a mound and planted them on top. I tried a slow release native fertiliser which seems to have made no difference. Our soils ph is slightly alkaline. It’s in part shade. thanks for your advise. I have some neutron rapid raiser, could I use that? Regards, Gaetane

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Gaetane,

      Sometimes the yellowing of the leaves can signify too much water? is that a possibility? if its not that then try giving it some iron, it could be an iron deficiency if you have found the native fertiliser to be unsuccessful,

      Good luck!

      Kath

  6. I have had my willow leaf Hakea in for two and a half years, they were tube stock and are now 2 metres tall and doing well except I have had no flowers, just wondering why . Thank you

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Liliana,

      Sometimes Hakeas take a while to mature enough to flower, it may take 4 or 5 years before you get a decent flower flush. If you wanted to try to encourage it, you could give it some potash and make sure you are not giving it too much nitrogen, this will just make the plant put on new leaf rather than flower.

      Good Luck,

      Kath

  7. Peter VALENTINE on

    Growing the willow leaf hakea in Woodside and Balhannah South Australia, I have found that the white or cream tailed black cockatoo loves the seed pod. They found a young three foot tall young plant buried in a thick garden in a small back yard in Balhannah as soon as it had seeds. 6 blackies hanging on a 3 foot stick is a sight to see. I have moved to Lameroo in the Murray Mallee now. I miss the blackies.!!

    • Kath Gadd on

      Oh Yes,

      I would plant anything to attract Black Cockatoos, such majestic birds!
      It seems the harder the seeds to open the more attractive to them,

      Best,

      Kath

  8. Dave Lascelles on

    Regarding age of Hakea salicifoliaโ€™ I have 7 now growing as trees in my backyard in Canberra that are well over 30 years old and no signs of dieing yet, although 2 other trees died in the last 3 years.
    I write this because there is very little information in the literature about the age of Hakeas.

  9. Jane Rich on

    You mention pruning, mine has sprawled somewhat. What are the best seasons for this and should I even consider moving it to a more spacious setting?

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Jane,

      The best time for pruning is after flowering, just a 20% all over prune should encourage enough new growth to thicken its habit.

      Happy gardening,

      Kath

  10. Christine on

    Hello,
    Our Salicifolia is about a metre tall now and is one main trunk without any shrubbing. Will it be ok to prune it back fairly hard, so it will become more shrub-like? It is not coping in the wind and without staking is leaning almost horizontally. Otherwise it is healthy.
    Advice would be much apprecited here, still learning!

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Christine,

      Yes, you should be able to prune your Hakea back so it becomes more wind tolerant and thickens up to create a more dense screen. I would recommend a 20% all over prune.

      Happy gardening,

      Kath

  11. Trish Kelly on

    I’ve 40 Hakea Salicifolia been in 7 years at least 4m high and bushy.in 7 years at least 10 have died,were healthy and lush within two days they die.now another one is looking sick leaves in middle are yellow tips are still green.l gave it a dose of season
    doesn’t seem to have made any difference.you mentioned iron would that week.hope l can save it
    Cheers Trish

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Trish,

      Did your Hakeas die after a period of extended rain and humidity?
      They also are pretty short lived, as they get older they can become weak and prone to attack from pests and fungal disease.
      As they belong to the Proteaceae Family they can become deficient in Iron so a does of Iron Chelates or Sulphates is a good idea.

      Best Wishes,

      Kath

  12. Belinda Foley on

    Hi Kath,
    After reading your article about Hakea salicifolia, l am interested in using them as a paddock hedge. I am just curious if they are fire resistant or not?

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Belinda,

      I know that some Hakea species are hard to burn. The Vic Plants Society lists H. salicifolia as a fire resistant species on the following webpage https://apsvic.org.au/fire-resistant-and-retardant-plants/ and their plant list is supposed to represent species that have shown some protection to various properties during fire. You could try contacting them if you wanted more specific info.

      Best of luck,
      Kath

    • Chris on

      Hi, I have a friend down Wyndam where fires went through in 2019/2020 And he said houses that had hakea salicifolia around them didn’t burn. The fireside of the plant got a little scorched but have since recovered.
      I am about to build a fire/ thermal barrier around or house and shed in Cooma

      • Kath Gadd on

        Hi There,

        Wow! thanks for letting me know! I have seen Hakea salicifolia in lots of Fire Retarding plant lists but am never sure how any of these plants really cope in real life bushfire scenarios, that’s great real life info.
        Thanks again,
        Best Wishes,

        Kath

  13. Lea-Ann Ledden on

    Would these be okay to plant 2m away from a dam, are their root system invasive? Love the photo’s by the way, amazing looking trees.

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Lea-Ann,

      I probably would plant H. salicifolia that close to your dam. Perhaps there’s somewhere else in your garden they could fit?!

      All the best,
      Kath

  14. Sue Upton on

    I have a mainly grevillea garden on the far North Coast of NSW. My neighbour has recently cut down trees next to our fence and the soil is fairly root bound on my side. I am thinking of putting a 300MM l mound next to the fence and planting hakea salicifolias as I am keen to restore privacy. The area gets about half a day of sun. Do you think that these hakeas would be a good choice? I would be very grateful for any advice.

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Sue,

      What a shame it is to have your privacy taken away so suddenly! I have experienced a similar thing with my neighbours before. I think H. salicifolia is a good choice to get a screen back up quickly, they will still grow vigorously in part shade. I’m not sure how the root-bound soil might affect them but they tend to be happy in most soil types. If the roots are from the neighbour’s trees that have been cut down then they should break down over time and be good for the soil health in the long term.

      Good luck with your gardening,
      ๐Ÿ™‚ Kath

  15. Sue Upton on

    Kath,

    Thank you so much for your advice. I very much appreciate it as I have been agonising between H. salicifolia and Lilly Pilly Resilience. I will go with the Hakeas now as I think that they are more interesting and I am encouraged that they grow quickly and that they are happy in part shade. . It certainly was a shock to suddenly see a two story house instead of trees. Thanks again. Sue

  16. Molly O'Neill on

    Hello Kath, do you know where I would be able to purchase more mature Hakea?

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