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Coprosma

Rubiaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs

Native to New Zealand. Where hardy, all are valued for ease of maintenance in difficult situations and for handsome, glossy foliage. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants; female plants bear attractive small fruits when a male is nearby for pollination.

Coprosma ‘Tequila Sunrise’ (photo courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company)
Coprosma ‘Tequila Sunrise’ (photo courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company)

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Coprosma hybrids

A dramatic group of colorful foliage plants, growing to 4–5 ft. tall and nearly as wide. Bright accents for borders or in pots. Avoid pruning in hot summer months. ‘Evening Glow’ has glossy green leaves that are variegated gold during the growing season and turn orange-red in fall and winter. ‘Rainbow Surprise’ bears leaves variegated with cream and pink, washed with red in fall and winter. ‘Tequila Sunrise’ produces shiny green new growth, edged with gold. As they mature, the leaves gradually pick up shades of gold and orange before turning bright red and orange in winter. More compact than others. ‘Coppershine’ can reach up to 6 ft. tall. Its leathery leaves are bright green heavily shaded with copper. New growth is even more heavily tinted; entire plant is bright copper in winter. Good hedge or screen.

Coprosma petriei

This spreading, mounding plant grows to 2–2 1/2 ft. high, eventually 6–8 ft. wide. Small, roundish oval leaves are bright shiny green. Set 2–2 1/2 ft. apart for groundcover in 3 years. Cut out upward-growing branches. Tolerates more cold and heat than Coprosma x kirkii. Egg-shaped fruits are translucent purplish red or blue.

Coprosma repens
Coprosma repens

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Coprosma repens

Rapid growth to 10 ft. tall, 6 ft. wide; much lower and more compact when subjected to seacoast conditions. Inland, an open, straggly shrub if neglected—but beautiful, dense form if pruned twice yearly (at any height desired). Oval or oblong leaves are 3 in. long, 1 1/2 in. wide, dark to light green, almost unbelievably shiny and glossy. Yellow or orange fruits. Use as hedge, screen, informal espalier.

Coprosma x kirkii

Grows 1–3 ft. high or nearly prostrate; spreading 4–6 ft. wide. Long, straight stems slant outward from base. Small (1/2–2-in.), narrow, yellow-green leaves are closely set on stems. White fruits are speckled red. Tough groundcover or bank cover; prune regularly to keep dense. Grows in a wide range of soils; tolerates coastal winds, salt spray. Slightly drought tolerant near coast. Give part shade inland.

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