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Plant type Ground Covers, Natives
Plant Uses

Best uses

Best used as a dense ground cover over sloping banks and retaining walls. Retains a compact habit without clipping.

Physical characteristics

An evergreen, prostrate shrub that grows up to 30cm tall and 1.5m wide.

Flowers and foliage

Possesses shiny, dark green foliage that turns purple in winter. Produces tiny, inconspicuous flowers that are followed by bright blue berries in autumn. This is a vigorous prostrate shrub.

Preferred site

Prefers full sun to partial shade. Will grow in a range of conditions, including dry positions, but will not tolerate heavy frosts.

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.

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 plant maintains a compact habit without pruning.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

The berries attract birds and geckos.

Pests and diseases

Scale insects, rust and thrips may occasionally be a problem. Prune scale and thrip-infected stems. Remove leaves damaged by rust, or select more resistant cultivars.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens


Interesting facts and tips

Sourced from the Chatham Islands and named after an endangered endemic petrel from the same area.