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Coprosma is a genus which includes ninety species of evergreen shrubs and small trees. These plants are native to grasslands, rocky areas, and forests of Australia, New Zealand, and some Pacific Islands. Because they evolved in a much warmer and dryer climate than we have here in the Pacific Northwest, Coprosma is considered borderline hardy here and will need to be protected or moved to a greenhouse for overwintering.
Coprosma is commonly called mirror plant or looking glass plant for its beautiful, glossy leaves. The leaves present a variety of colors depending on the species and are simple, rounded, and often thick or leathery.
Coprosma can be found in both upright and creeping varieties. Its flowers are inconspicuous and tubular or narrowly funnel shaped. Male and female flowers grow on separate plants with berries showing on female plants in late summer and autumn. The berries are not poisonous and range in color from vibrant orange and yellow to deeper shades of red or blue.
Coprosma is a fairly quick growing plant that makes a great addition to fall containers. It pairs well with fall colored pansies, dahlias with darker foliage such as Mystic Spirit, or the beautifully orange tinted blades of Carex ‘Toffee Twist’.
Rich dark brown foliage darkening to near black in winter. This can grow up to 4’ tall and 5’wide. It can tolerate some shade and tends to be a slightly more hardy variety.
Glossy yellow and green leaves splashed with rusty orange add bright color to your fall garden. This compact shrub grows 4-5ft tall and 3-4ft wide. Can tolerate full sun to part shade. Deer resistant.
Beautiful purple-red leaves. Makes a great container accent when paired with silvery green foliage. This variety prefers full sun and can grow up to 4’.
This is a newer variety with small, glossy chocolate green leaves that turn purple-red in winter. Prefers full sun. Grows 4’ tall and 4’ wide.
Shiny lime green foliage with a darker green mid-rib. Turns orange in fall and continues to darken to burgundy in winter. Stays compact growing to 2’ tall and 2’ wide. Great container plant. Prefers full sun.
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Common Name: Mirror Plant
Origin: Found in forest, swamp, grassland, and rocky areas of Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands.
Culture: Grows well in many different soil types but needs good drainage. Likes full sun. These plants are borderline hardy in Portland’s climate and will need protection or a greenhouse for overwintering.
Maintenance: Coprosma likes regular watering but does not like soggy soil. Water liberally in summer but let the soil dry out between watering in the winter. It is best to repot around March. Pruning for shape can be done as soon as new growth begins.
Pests and Diseases: Occasionally damaged by root rot and scale insects, but generally pest free.