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Corokia - Growing Guide
These are medium sized evergreen shrubs from New Zealand which are generally rather hardier than coprosma as they grow in forests and rocky areas at higher altitudes. They have alternate leaves which are needle-like or obovate and small star shaped yellow flowers with five petals which can appear to smother the whole bush when full out. Perhaps the most attractive, but often forgotten, feature of these odd shrubs is their red-black, orange or yellow fruits which can appear in profusion in the autumn.
C. buddleiodes has an upright habit and can grow up to 6ft tall. Its glossy dark green leaves have a buddleia like appearance. The flowers are yellow in spring and the fruits red-black.
C. cotoneaster is rightly called the ‘wire-netting bush’. It is the hardiest of the corokias and can grow to 8ft. It is intricately branched with interlacing dense patterns of shoots and ovate cotoneaster like dark green leaves. Fragrant yellow flowers singly or in clusters from the leaf axils in late spring and red or yellow fruits.
C. x virgata is a cross between the two species above and the flowers are a fragrant yellow in clusters of three. The fruits are yellow or orange.
Corokia are frost hardy providing they are grown in a sheltered spot. They like dry but fertile soil preferably in full sun to get the best results from flowering and fruiting. They can be grown up against a wall and we have seen them used successfully in Cornwall as a hedge. Certainly that is one of their prime uses in New Zealand gardens. Corokia will tolerate hard pruning to keep them in shape with no ill effects.
Fairly ripe new growth will root quickly and successfully on bottom heat when set in early summer shortly after flowering. That is how we propagate these plants ourselves. We have yet to try them from seed despite the number of fruits which we see on plants in the nursery after a dry summer.