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Best uses

Corokia cotoneaster is a versatile garden plant. Its tight growth habit means the species is suitable for both small and large hedges; it rewards with flowers even when clipped. It also has considerable potential for use as formal and informal topiary. It also tolerates windy situations, so is good for coastal plantings. However, it will not tolerate salt spray.

Physical characteristics

Very dense, divaricating, evergreen coastal shrub growing up to 3m.

Flowers and foliage

New growth is a greyish-green colour contrasting with greener older foliage. A profusion of tiny yellow flowers in spring are followed by red or yellow berries.

Preferred site

Prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, well-draining soil. Can tolerate strong winds but not salt spray.

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.

For hedging, select small-grade plants as they generally establish quicker than larger ones. They can also be pruned to shape from an earlier stage. Planting a double staggered row of hedging plants to produce a denser screen. Another tip is to plant at an angle to induce more lateral growth, which will also have a similar effect.

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. Regular pruning after flowering helps keep it compact.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

It is visited by a wide range of insects, but a single species of native bee appears to be the effective pollinator.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Native Identification Trail