Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Plant Profile: Coprosma

Coprosma australis (variegated)
I considered the Coprosmas we planted at PG to be insignificant filler plants initially. However, they've turned out to be lovely tough, evergreen shrubs, and I recommend them.

Latin name: Coprosma (pronounced "co-PROZ-mah)
Common name: Mirror plant
Originally from: New Zealand, Hawaii, Borneo, Java and Australia.
Blooms: The flowers aren't the point here - they're usually yellow and insignificant.
Light: Full sun!

Coprosma "Evening Glow"
Water: Drought tolerant and very tough
Drainage: Excellent
Height x width: Various - from low growing creepers to large shrubs.
USDA Zones: x
Where to find in P. Garden: In the left bed we have Coprosma australis (variegated), Coprosma x Kirkii "Variegata" and C. "Evening Glow" in the brights bed a couple C. "Sunset" and a C. "Evening Glow"

The name Coprosma means "smelling like dung" and refers to the smell (methanethiol) given out by the crushed leaves of a few species. I haven't smelled ours but don't let that put you off - the leaves are glossy and colorful. In fact they are so glossy that Coprosmas have been touted as a means of reducing over heating of the earth by reflecting sunshine away. I can't find the reference now but they are pretty shiny.

We have several Coprosmas in the garden:

Coprosma x Kirkii "Variegata"
Coprosma x Kirkii "Variegata" - this is a nice low growing ground cover. I buried several parts in the ground and it rooted, then I made border edging with them. A cute low hedge! Unfortunately it wants to revert to a non-variegated state so you have to cut those parts out.

Coprosma australis (variegated) is a wonderful bright shrub up to about 5' tall and wide with yellow and green shiny leaves.

C. "Evening Glow" and C. "Sunset" are beautiful smaller shrubs with the same shiny leaves but gorgeous red and orange shades.

Coprosma "Sunset
We'll look out for more Coprosmas for the gardens soon - they have been excellent and look great no matter how poorly you treat them. 

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