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 😉 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?

18 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 😉

    Best Wishes,


  3. gaetane zufferey on

    What spacing should they planted at for a hedge please?

    • Kath Gadd on


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

      Best Wishes,


      • 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!


  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,


  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!


  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,


  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,



  8. Dave Lascelles on

    Regarding age of Hakea salicifolia’ 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,


  10. Christine on

    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!

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