All About Flame Tree | How to Keep It Flourishing

Indigenous to Australia, Illawarra flame trees are a sight to see. They bloom only every three to five years under ideal circumstances, but their attractive palmate foliage, which grows in compact canopies resembling lobed Acer leaves, is a major draw for gardeners. This article will discuss the growth and care of this flame tree in your home garden. Keep reading to know everything in detail. 

Illawarra Flame Tree’s Natural Habitat

The Illawarra flame tree grows to around 35 metres in height in its native environment due to competition from other trees and the need to outgrow them to access the sun. Insights like these provide crucial information for optimising their growth in your gardens. 


An Illawarra tree probably won’t grow to its full height of 35 metres in our gardens, but it should still reach a respectable 10 metres. Its roots, however, will expand outward by the same amount, so it’s best to place these spectacular trees some distance from the home.


The Illawarra tree, found in the rainforests of Eastern Australia, actively seeks out the sun, especially during the noon hours, when its canopy is at its most photogenic, but it maintains its roots in the shadow to prevent them from drying up.


Without additional trees, it may be difficult to replicate this effect in your gardens, but a ground cover of nasturtiums or geraniums can be an easy-to-manage alternative to produce shade around the roots of flame trees. Whenever you order these plants online in Sydney, ask everything about their care from the vendor.  

Illawarra Flame Tree Care Guide



Putting down mulch every spring is a must if you want your Illawarra tree to thrive. This isn’t vital for nutritional absorption, but it does provide a more natural habitat for these forest trees, which like to have their crowns basking in the sun while their roots repose in the cool shade.


Keep a ring around the trunk open while mulching a flame tree to allow air circulation at the tree’s base, and then add a skirt of mulch 1–2 inches thick around the tree’s roots.




Although they require consistent watering while they’re getting started, flame trees may tolerate summer droughts after they’ve been planted in the garden for four or more years.


Most mature native trees can endure periods of drought, and flame trees are especially resilient.

Fertilisers aren’t necessary for flame trees, but if they’re not thriving in your soil, you can find out what kinds to use in the pest and disease guidelines below.




As with native trees, mature flame trees are great for bird watching. Due to the presence of nests, late spring, summer, and fall are the worst times to cut Illawarra flame trees because of the foliage.


Flame trees are best pruned in the winter to promote new growth and more fanned branches, which may lead to larger canopies on shorter trees. 


Australian Flame Tree Pests


The Dichocrocis Clytusalis moth is home to the Kurrajong leaf-tier caterpillar. Caterpillars lay their eggs on the leaves of native trees and shrubs, where they will feed on the tender new growth until they are ready to pupate and fly south as adults in the fall.


Extreme fungal diseases may result from this. However, trees in sunny locations normally bounce back. These annoying caterpillars are best dealt with by slicing apart leaf bundles enclosing them, and letting the birds feast on the caterpillars. 

The Bottom Line

The Illawarra flame tree should be at the top of your list of must-have plants if you want to cultivate a genuine native paradise in your own garden. Red bell-shaped blossoms on these native trees are a magnet for birds and other animals and may be used as bush tucker with little work. 


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