This is a genus of about 90 species of evergreen shrub-like plants as well as small trees, many of which are endemic to New Zealand, with others originating in Australia and the Pacific regions. Some of the shrubs have a spreading habit and others are divaricating, which means that the stems have a branching habit. They are commonly known as the Mirror bush due to the high gloss of the leaves.
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There is a Coprosma for every landscape purpose, from groundcovers to specimen shrubs, hedging and shelter. They are a very tolerant group of plants, adaptable and hardy, will grow in sun or shade and don’t mind much about their soil conditions. They are low maintenance, quick growing, hardy and will benefit from a pruning in winter. Coprosmas can be found in a variety of environments from the mountains to the coast and there’s a place for them in all ornamental designs.
Many hybrids feature strong greens, bronzes, creams, pinks, apricots, bronze-blacks and mottled colours in the larger leaved species. The smaller leaved species have quirky textures and finely interwoven stems, which are sometimes a feature in themselves as they have a golden colour. The female plants produce an abundance of berries that feed birds such as wax eyes and lizards. They create good habitats for small birds and are ideally suited to revegetation projects and school grounds.
And just for some trivia, the name Coprosma means smelling like dung and refers to the smell given out by the crushed leaves of a few – not all - species! Nice dinner party conversation stoper!
This little Coprosma was discovered growing on the South Wellington coast so you know how tough and hardy it is to have survived there. Strong red/orange coloured leaves and stems. Tolerant of wind, salt and dry periods. Excellent ground cover that is happy to be trimmed. Evergreen.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 100cm
Tightly branching shrub with very small leaves, green in shade but can be plum-purple in full sun. Plant several to get dark red fruit on the female. Clip for size and shape, great for low hedging especially in shady spots. Evergreen. Hardy.
Colour: Assorted Habit: Tight brunching rounded f Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m
Native. Commonly known as Karamu this evergreen native shrub has small dark green leaves with pale under-sides. Insignificant pale green flowers are followed by small orange berries that birds love. Easy to grow in sun or part shade with protection from harsh frost. Trim regularly to keep tidy.
Early Maori used Karamu as a food source and of course native birds love the berries. Believe it or not Coprosma are in the same family as the coffee plant but we wouldn't recommend substituting Karamu for your favourite brew!
Colour: Green Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 1.5m
Native. A tough little native plant that is a useful ground-cover for large areas or difficult sites. Dainty dark green foliage, inconspicuous flowers that are sometimes followed by little blue berries. Hardy and easy to grow. Evergreen.
Habit: Ground-cover Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 150cm