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Best uses

Best used as a ground cover in raised beds, on sloping banks and directly on the ground. Also great for coastal gardens.

Physical characteristics

An evergreen, compact plant with a spreading habit. Grows up to 20cm tall and 1m wide.

Flowers and foliage

This coprosma has beautiful small dark brown/purple foliage, darkening to near black in winter. Flowers are produced but are insignificant. These flowers are followed by small green berries, which the birds love.

Preferred site

For best results, plant in full sun to partial shade, with well-drained soil. This coprosma tolerates coastal conditions and is frost hardy.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown plants. The best time to plant is from late spring to early summer. Planting success is often improved on clay soils by adding extra topsoil and forming raised beds. Incorporate coarse sand, bark, compost or other organic material to improve soil structure. Dig a hole in the ground twice the size of the root ball. Before planting, ensure that the root ball is saturated and remove planter pot with minimal root disturbance. As soil is placed in the prepared hole, tread firmly to bring soil in close contact with the root ball. Water thoroughly, making sure that moisture penetrates to the depth of the root ball.

Maintenance tips

Apply mulch annually to suppress weeds and conserve moisture. Organic material, such as sawdust and bark, contribute to soil structure. However, make sure to keep mulch away from plant stems. The first summer and autumn after planting are critical for young plants, so water thoroughly during dry periods. A light application (50g/m2) of general-purpose fertiliser in spring is beneficial. Sprinkle evenly and work into the top 2 to 3cm of the soil, taking care not to damage surface roots. This coprosma only requires minimal pruning to keep the desired shape.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

The berries attract birds and geckos.

Pests and diseases

Scale insect rust and thrips may occasionally be a problem.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Native Plant Ideas