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Coprosma 'Rainbow Surprise'

 Mirror Plant


Coprosma-Rainbow-Surprise.jpg


Coprosma ‘Rainbow Surprise’ has small, yellow-green and pink leaves that darken during winter. It is a very pretty candidate for a low, formal hedge. Mature size about 1,2 x 1 m.

In windy coastal gardens, one could always rely on the hardy Coprosma repens, with its glossy green foliage. This old stalwart does not need much water and enjoys the good drainage typical of the sandy soils at the coast. In the interior (except for the coldest climates with harsh winter frost), the mirror bush has also always played its part as a reliable foliage plant that you could plant and then forget about, leaving it to grow in peace. This evergreen has now undergone quite a metamorphosis, thanks to talented plant breeders, and today we can pick and choose from a large collection of hybrids, some relatively large, some petite and some that are very low growing. What they all have in common is the ability to resist diseases and pests, and the fact that they are ridiculously easy to propagate.
Their biggest virtue, however, is that in winter the colours of the glossy, bright foliage intensify daily. Depending on the specific hybrid, the leaves take on almost pitch black, rust-brown, pink, cream or golden-yellow shades. Few other evergreen plants can hold a candle to this (and these gorgeous hues make them a flower arranger’s delight).
Coprosmas are indispensable as filler and framework plants in mixed shrub beds, but they can also be used as hedging plants, either trimmed for a formal hedge or left to their own devices for a more natural look. They grow equally well in pots and some of the smaller hybrids are also good candidates for gardens with an Eastern theme. Actually, you should plant a coprosma wherever you want to see something pretty every day.
Most suitable climate
The genus Coprosma occurs naturally in New Zealand and is known for its ability to grow in any soil type and any climate that does not get frost and snow.
 
What they need
Location: full sun (the warmer the better) is best, but they will also grow in light and deep shade. Just remember, in shade the colours of those with variegated foliage will be paler.
Soil: any soil type is acceptable, but the drainage in heavy clay soil must first be improved by adding coarse compost and river sand.
Water: being very drought tolerant, these plants can survive for long periods without water, but regular water will keep the foliage glossy and healthy and ensure luxuriant growth. Too much water distresses the plants and they begin to lose leaves.
Fertilizing and pruning: a light feed in spring, using ordinary fertilizer such as 2:3:2, or an organic equivalent, keeps the leaves healthy. For potted plants you should also do additional foliar feeding. Coprosma species react very well to pruning, which is usually only required if the plants have grown too big and need to be reduced in size. You can also use coprosmas (especially those with smaller leaves) for topiary, including spheres and cubes.
Quick tip
If you have an old C. repens in your garden and it is overpowering all the surrounding plants then set to work on it with some pruning tools. First remove all the lowest branches, then select one or two of the best looking stems. Retain crowns of foliage on these stems while removing all the other growth. Such drastic pruning gives you a cute little tree with lots of character, and provides space for planting other new plants in its vicinity. The pruning stimulates new growth that you can control easily.
In a nutshell
* Pest and disease free.
* Lovely foliage colours, which deepen in autumn and winter.
* Evergreen and grows everywhere