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Best uses

A slow-growing, small shrub which would make an interesting addition when incorporated into mixed native and non-native plantings in semi-shade with some shelter. As this shrub is typically epiphytic, it can be easily grown in a large container in a sheltered position. It is slow-growing so will not outgrow its pot too quickly either.

Physical characteristics

A small woody shrub with an open and airy habit which grows slowly to around 2m tall and 2m wide.

Flowers and foliage

Leaves are round to oblong, dark green and glossy arranged in whorls around the stems. Clusters of 2-5 dainty red or yellow, sometimes streaked or tinted red-orange flowers are produced in spring ad are delicately scented. These are followed by orange capsules containing sticky black seed.

Preferred site

Prefers partial to full shade with shelter from cold drying winds in well-drained soil.

Preparation for planting

Always choose healthy, well-grown, plants and plant after autumn rains, when the soil is moist and warm allows plants 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 damaged stems off 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. Mulch with an organic mulch to help suppress weeds and retain moisture. Staking may be needed for young taller plants.

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 in spring as new growth begins. As this shrub is so slow-growing, hardly any pruning should be required.

Pests and diseases

Generally no issues.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Threatened Native Plant Garden

Interesting facts and tips

This plant in the wild actually grows epiphytically which means it grows on trees.