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Evergreen, Shrubs

New Zealand natives grown for zigzag branching habit; small, starlike yellow flowers; and red, orange, or yellow fruits. Night lighting from below emphasizes bizarre branch pattern and casts interesting shadows. Sculptural form is enhanced by selective removal of a third or more of the branches and by heading back strong new shoots to maintain a compact outline. If intertwining branches are left intact, plants make dense hedges. Need good drainage. Thrive in containers.

Corokia cotoneaster
Corokia cotoneaster

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Corokia cotoneaster

Slow growing to 8–10 ft. high and wide, but usually seen as a 2–4-ft. container plant. Slim, contorted, reddish to nearly black branches. Sparse, oval leaves to 3/4 in. long, dark glossy green above, white beneath. Yellow, 1/2 -in. flowers are followed on older plants by small orange or red fruit.

Corokia x virgata ‘Sunsplash’ (photo courtesy of Martin Hughes-Jones/Garden World Images)
Corokia x virgata ‘Sunsplash’ (photo courtesy of Martin Hughes-Jones/Garden World Images)

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Corokia x virgata

A series of hybrids with more erect growth habit than C. cotoneaster; eventually reach 10 ft. tall, 6 ft. wide. Most have spoon-shaped leaves up to 1 1/2 in. long. Use in pots, as accent plants in garden, as hedge or screen. ‘Red Wonder’ and ‘Yellow Wonder’ are named for the color of their showy fruits. ‘Bronze King’ has tiny bronze-tinged leaves; ‘Bronze Lady’ has darker bronze foliage (of the usual size) and bright red fruit. ‘Sunsplash’ has bronzy stems and bright green leaves margined with creamy yellow.

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