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RIBERRY CARE GUIDE

Riberry (Syzygium luehmannii) is one of Australia’s most popular native plants and a delicious bush food addition to your garden!

Riberries are a member of the Lilly Pilly family and are a highly ornamental, small-medium, fast-growing tree adapted to grow in the sub-tropical rainforests of the East Coast of New South Wales and Southern Queensland. Its glossy green foliage, striking pink/purple new growth and large, decorative pink to red fruit makes the Riberry appealing as an edible hedge, screen, windbreak or shade tree.  

Glover’s Seedless is a new cultivar of Riberry with mostly seedless fruit. Bursting with unique spice flavours such as clove and cinnamon, their tart, apple-like berries can be eaten straight from the tree as a tasty snack or used in jams, chutneys, syrups, dressings, sauces, glazes, ice cream, yoghurt, cakes and beverages. Riberry also comes from the clove family and makes a great addition to sauces or marinades for poultry, lamb, pork and game meats.

In this comprehensive guide on how to grow Riberries, we will cover:

  • A quick guide on Riberries.
  • What to do when my plant arrives.
  • I’m ready to plant, what do I need?
  • Repotting and planting steps.
  • Ongoing care of your Riberry tree.

Riberry trees offer a range of possibilities for your landscape, from edible privacy hedges to ornamental focal points. By following these care instructions, you'll be able to enjoy the beauty and benefits of this versatile tree. Happy gardening!

CLICK HERE to grow your own Riberry tree!

1. Quick Guide - Plant Info

Botanical Name: Syzygium luehmannii

Plant Type: Small to medium evergreen tree.

Climate: Sub-tropical

Mature Height: 2 – 15m, but height can be controlled with pruning.  

Position: Full sun to part shade. 

Water: Moderate watering

Soil: Reliable moisture during hot and dry periods. Keep well-mulched.

Fertiliser: Organic, slow-release fertiliser at least once a year.

Frost Tolerance: Tolerates light frost once established.

Drought Tolerance: Will tolerate dry conditions once established.

Fruiting: Cutting grown Riberries can produce fruit from their second year of growth. Fruit matures between December and February, depending on location/climatic conditions.

Harvest: Fruit can be picked by hand into fruit picking bags or containers. Using nets under trees has been trialled and found successful.

Storage: Riberry fruit will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks and can be frozen for up to 2 years.

Pots:Grows well in pots.

2. What to do when my new Riberry baby arrives.

After transit, plants become extremely stressed. It’s important to allow your Riberry tree to adjust to its new environment before you repot or plant in the ground.

  • Remove the packaging around your tree, but keep it in its original pot.
  • Place your Riberry in a position that is lightly shaded and sheltered from the wind.
  • Water your tree extremely well.
  • Allow to acclimatise in its original pot for at least two weeks before repotting or planting.
3. I'm ready to plant, what do I need?

Repotting:

  • A pot that is at least double the size of the original pot.
  • Premium, well-draining potting mix.
  • Seaweed solution.
  • Organic mulch (e.g. pine bark, sugar cane or pea straw).
  • Slow-release fertiliser.

Planting in Ground:

  • Compost and well-rotted manure.
  • Seaweed solution.
  • Organic mulch (e.g. pine bark, sugar cane or pea straw).
4. Repotting & Planting

Position: Place your Riberry tree in full sun. Choose a sheltered location with protection from strong winds and frost.

Planting in Pots:

  • Mix 5mL of seaweed solution in approximately 2L of water and soak the soil in the original pot. This will help prevent transplant shock, boost root regrowth and loosen the soil to make transplanting easier.
  • Choose a pot that is at least double the size of the original pot.
  • Fill half of the pot with premium, well-draining potting mix and sprinkle some slow-release fertiliser. 
  • Carefully grab the tree by the trunk with one hand while supporting the pot with the other. Gently remove the Riberry from the pot and place in the centre of the new pot.
  • Fill the pot with the remaining potting mix, leaving a gap for a layer of mulch. Firm the soil around the plant using gentle pressure. 
  • Sprinkle a large pinch of slow-release fertiliser on top of the soil.
  • Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant to help conserve water. Keep the mulch away from the trunk to prevent collar rot.
  • Water in well.

Planting in Ground:

  • For the best results, Riberries prefer rich, moist, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH (5.5 to 6.6pH), but can also adapt to grow in both sandy and clay-based soils.
  • Dig a hole at least as wide and as deep as the root ball. 
  • Enrich the soil by digging in compost and well-rotted manure.
  • Make sure the hole is adequately moist and water before planting if necessary.
  • Gently remove the Riberry from the pot and place in the centre of the hole. 
  • Back fill, firm the soil around the plant and water in well with a 5mL seaweed solution to 2L of water mix.
  • Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant to help conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Keep the mulch away from the trunk to prevent collar rot.
5. General Care

Soil: Riberries prefer rich, moist, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH (5.5 to 6.6pH), but can also adapt to grow in both sandy and clay-based soils. Ensure good drainage to prevent root rot. Mulching is beneficial for moisture retention and weed suppression.

Watering: Water your Riberry regularly, especially during its establishment period. Once established it can tolerate dry spells, but consistent moisture is preferred, particularly during the warmer months. Extremely dry soil conditions should be avoided.

Fertilisation: Fertilise your Riberry at least once a year with an organic, slow-release fertiliser.

Pruning: Riberries are often grown for hedging or screening, so regular pruning will be required to maintain density.Frequency of pruning will vary with the variety and climate, but the general rule of thumb is to prune lightly after a growth flush. Riberries can tolerate a hard pruning if required, so if they ever get out of shape or become too unruly, don't be afraid to prune them back hard.

Pests and Diseases: Monitor your Riberry for common pests such as psyllids. Psyllids cause pimple-like deformations on new leaves. Prune off all damaged foliage, then collect the fallen material, seal it in a bag and disposes of it. Riberries can also be affected by scale insects and associated sooty moulds. Natural oil sprays can efficiently control scales and remove mould. 

Harvesting: Cutting grown Riberries can product fruit from their second year of growth. Fruit matures between December and February, depending on location/climatic conditions.

Winter Care (for cooler climates): Riberries grow naturally in a sub-tropical climate. However, they can tolerate quite low temperatures in winter and mild frost, particularly after establishment. No damage has been shown to occur with temperatures as low as 0°C.