Boronia mollis

Soft boronia

Family: Rutaceae

Boronia mollis grows in NSW, occurring naturally around Sydney, ranging as far north as Coffs Harbour, south to around Moss Vale, and inland as far as the Dividing Range, in open forest and woodlands on sandstone.

It is a small shrub of about 1–2.5 metres in height by a similar width. The foliage is pinnate (compound leaves made up of a number of leaflets) with leaves to around 40 mm long. They are softly hairy when young but may become smooth on the upper surface as they mature. The hairy foliage is one of the features that distinguishes B. mollis from the closely related B. fraseri. The flowers are 4-petalled with a star-like appearance and are pink. They are about 10–15 mm in diameter, well displayed in clusters from the upper leaf axils. Flowering occurs from mid winter to mid spring.

In the garden

This is a very popular species in cultivation and is hardier than many other boronias in the garden although difficult to maintain for long periods.

It requires a well-drained moist soil, preferably in semi shade although full sun is tolerated. It seems to be reasonably tolerant of dry conditions once established and is tolerant of at least moderate frost. It is best to mulch plants to provide a cool root run.

Boronias are subject to root rot and thus a well-drained soil without excess watering is needed to prevent this.

The cultivar ‘Lorne Pride’ is especially good and forms a rounded shrub to about 1 metre in height.


Propagation from seed is difficult but cuttings usually strike readily from current season’s growth.

Other information

Boronia….after Fransesco Borone, an 18th century Italian botanist.
mollis…. From Latin mollis soft, referring to the foliage.

Although rare in the wild, it is not considered to be at risk.


By Jeff Howes