90227Classic but simple mirror plant, Coprosma X kirkii, was a utilitarian shrubby ground cover for many years before all the colorful modern cultivars that are so popular now were invented. Individual plants can cover quite a bit of ground without getting any deeper than two feet. It is particularly useful in coastal landscapes, because it is so resilient to wind and exposure, as well as sandy soil.

Modern cultivars are remarkably variable. Some are variegated with white, yellow or bronze, either as foliar margins or blotches. Others are very dark purplish bronze. One cultivar is dark bronze with pink foliar margins. Most of these modern cultivars have nicely rounded and undulate leaves, although some have narrow leaves that are comparable to those of the now rare original cultivar.

The more colorful modern cultivars do not grow quite as large or as efficiently as the original, so are not quite as practical as ground cover on large areas. However, they should work just as well for smaller areas, and are even better in conjunction with other plants. Some types of mirror plant are shrubbier. Yet, others cascade nicely from terraces and big planters, and over retaining walls.

9 thoughts on “Mirror Plant

  1. Yep, the small-leafed Coprosmas are really diverse, even at the species and sub-species level, we have dozens to choose from, altho’ I’m always seeking ones with blue berries – they’re just so useful – also good for feeding the native birds – I’ve seed fruigivorous bird getting right into them at ground level

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    1. I really do not know how tolerant they are of frost, but I would guess that if one must ask, then the degree of frost of his or her particular climate likely exceeds the tolerance of Coprosma X kirkii. I say that because, although they are quite tolerant of them mild frost here, they were killed in the Big Chill in December of 1990, which is more comparable to ‘normal’ frosts in other regions. I have seen a few killed by frost in cold spots even since then. I would guess that they are not tolerant to frost in zones with colder winters than ours in USDA Zone 9. (We are technically in Zone 9B, but I know that Coprosma X kirkii does as well in Zone 9A. Those that sometimes get frosted are in Zone 10 nearby.)

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  2. I wonder if this could be a good candidate for the changing climate in central Alabama. I know it can tolerate dry periods but how about prolonged rain?

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    1. It rots easily if watered too much while the weather is warm. However, for us,, it does not rot during the rainy season because the temperatures are cooler. By the time the weather gets warmer, there is less rain.


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