The genus Duranta includes a number of tree and shrub species that originate in the tropical Americas and include many garden hybrids with variegated or colourful foliage. These are cultivated extensively in the warmer climates as quick-growing hedges and for training into topiaries or standards.

‘Sheena’s Gold

Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’ is extremely versatile and strikingly conspicuous in the garden. This rewarding shrub is planted throughout the warmer regions of South Africa in a wide and diverse range of garden applications, including hedging and topiaries.

Initially thought to be a low-growing shrub, it soon became apparent that, in suitable conditions and left unpruned, the plants can become sizeable, up to 4m tall. However, they can be kept quite successfully as low hedges in formal gardens, pot specimens, trained as standards or as feature shrubs and filler plants in large landscapes.

In all applications, the plant requires regular trimming to keep it in good shape as it has a slightly brittle and vulnerable stem. When using Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’ as a standard (or topiary), strong support-stakes are necessary to compensate for this apparent weakness, especially when the head matures and becomes almost top-heavy. The suggested stem heights for Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’ standards are 50 cm to 100 cm.

Location : Use ‘Sheena’s Gold’ in full sun positions where the rich golden foliage shines and sparkles to optimum effect. It withstands light frosts only, so is best grown in warm, frost free gardens. It copes with seaside conditions and is suitable both for containers and out in the garden. In colder climates the foliage turns purple to black in winter, quite a natural phenomenon and nothing to panic about.

What Duranta Needs

A regular, monthly application of a balanced fertiliser, from spring through to autumn, improves the health and vigour of the shrubs

Note : the leaves and unripened berries of all Duranta species are toxic. Do not allow this plant to set seed. If you have children or pets that are prone to ‘tasting’ your garden, use Buxus sempevirens or another suitable alternative.

‘Gold Mine’

Duranta ‘Gold Mine’ is an exciting new addition to the range of Duranta species already available in South Africa and is available at leading nurseries countrywide. It is a dense, compact shrub that bears leaves which are larger than most other species. It is grown for its colourful foliage and bears hardly any flowers.

The serrated leaves are bright green, surrounded by a yellow edging, which intensifies to gold in the direct sun. It will grow to approximately three metres high and two metres wide, attaining its ultimate height in about three to four years. The new foliage emerges rapidly after each successive clipping. Left to grow unchecked, it forms a dense boundary hedge or screen and remains neat and tidy for most of the year. Yellow- or golden-foliaged plants stand out in the garden, contrasting strongly with the predominantly green leaves of most other plants.

Utilise this no-nonsense, foliage shrub to great effect in a variety of situations:

  • Plant it in a strategic position to highlight a view or, conversely, hide an unsightly element;
  • It works well as a container plant;
  • As it bears thorns along the mature stems and is an extremely fast grower, Duranta ‘Gold Mine’ is an excellent subject for a security hedge;
  • Being easy to grow and having a rapid growth rate also makes  it anexcellent subject for shaping.

Location : It requires a full sun position with well-draining soil and is semi-hardy to frost. In colder climates, frost damage is a problem and may kill off young plants.

What it Needs : A regular, monthly application of a balanced fertiliser, from spring through to autumn, improves the health and vigour of the shrubs.

The Gardener