Coprosma repens

Coprosma repens cultivar

This evergreen shrub (ht 1-1.8 m) hails from New Zealand and is sometimes called the mirror plant or looking-glass plant, presumably because of its extremely glossy foliage, which is its stand-out feature: the flowers are insignificant. The foliage is leathery and rounded, and whilst the original species has plain green leaves, there are a number of cultivars with decoratively coloured leaves, including 'Gold Splash' (with golden-yellow leaves), 'Marble Queen', with pale green and cream leaves, and 'Picturata', with green leaves having a central yellow blotch. Sometimes individual stems on variegated cultivars may revert to a single colour, as shown in the photo above.

These tough shrubs are renowned for standing coastal positions very well, but they also grow quite well away from the sea. They do best in a sunny, well-drained position. They need to be pruned to shape when necessary - the best time is probably late winter before new growth begins. After a while, the stems touching the ground may layer - a good way to propagate it! I sometimes find the plants suffer from a degree of dieback on the ends of the stems - I usually just cut this off. It is possible that the problem is more pronounced when the shrub is grown in a sheltered spot. The shrubs are not really suitable for very cold regions.