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Best uses

Great for use as a ground cover in coastal gardens, as it tolerates dry, windy conditions and is good for erosion control. Coprosma repens is also excellent for hedging and shelters in Auckland, as it forms a dense hedge if kept trimmed.

Physical characteristics

An evergreen, spreading shrub. Grows to around 50cm tall and 1m wide.

Flowers and foliage

This coprosma has rounded, glossy, bright green leaves all year round.

Preferred site

Prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Will tolerate coastal conditions but is damaged by frost.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown plants. The best time to plant is from late spring to early summer. Planting success can be 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. Plant approximately 1m apart.

Maintenance tips

A great low-maintenance plant that can be used as a hedge. 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. Responds well to hard pruning.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

Attracts birds and good for erosion control.

Pests and diseases

Scale insects, rust and thrips may occasionally be a problem.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Native Plant Ideas

Interesting facts and tips

Common coastal shrub. Several common variegated coprosma forms originate from this species. Female plants produce orange berries. This species is named for where it grows naturally (the Poor Knights Islands ). Historical references first point to it being first collected in 1769 by botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on the HMS Endeavour, near the eastern coast of the North Island.