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Best uses

Great for coastal gardens as an informal low hedge, or screen, or incorporated into mixed plantings. Also good for growing in containers.

Physical characteristics

A medium-sized evergreen shrub growing to around 1m tall and 1m wide.

Flowers and foliage

Small tubular rosy-red flowers are produced in clusters on the end of branches from late spring through summer. Leaves are small, rounded and dark-green.

Preferred site

Prefers full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil. Tolerant of coastal conditions but not cold winds. Frost will damage new growth.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown plants and plant after autumn rains, when the soil is moist and warm allows trees and shrubs to establish a good root system well before summer. Planting is often improved on clay soils by adding extra topsoil and forming raised beds. Incorporate coarse sand, bark, peat, compost or other organic material to improve soil structure. Before planting ensure the root ball is saturated and remove the planter bag or pot with minimal root disturbance. Trim any broken roots or branches and plant at the same level as in the container. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball to plant in. Long-term slow-release fertilisers may be added at this stage. As soil is placed in the prepared hole, tread firmly to bring soil in close contact with the root ball. Unless the soil is very wet, water thoroughly making sure that moisture penetrates to the depth of the root ball.

Maintenance tips

Apply an organic mulch annually to help suppress weeds and conserve moisture. Feed annually in spring with a balanced fertiliser such as blood and bone at a handful per square metre. Give plants a trim after flowering to keep growth healthy and compact, especially if they are been treated as a hedge. A couple of trims may be called for throughout the growing season to keep the growth in check.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

Flowers attract beneficial insects to the garden.

Pests and diseases

Generally trouble free

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens