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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Coprosma ‘Pacific Sunset’: new in garden centres and nurseries

Posted by Graham Rice on 17 May 2010 at 08:10 PM

Coprosma,Pacific Sunset,Pacific Night,Graham Hutchins. Image: ©John Woods NurseriesWe’ve become used to some fairly wild colouring in perennials in recent years, and in heucheras in particular. Just take a look at this earlier post and this one to see some of the shades now available. But now there’s an evergreen shrub with leaf colouring the like of which I’ve never seen before.

The foliage of Coprosma ‘Pacific Sunset’ is vivid coral red in the centre, chocolate-bronze at the edge and, in between, there’s an irregular zone in which the two shades are mixed. Each leaf is prettily waved, and the colour is at its most intense in the spring, and again in the autumn, but is always striking. It’s also evergreen so you can enjoy this extraordinary colouring all the year round.

This is a fine patio shrub for a container. It’s not as tough as some other colourful evergreens like variegated hollies, it starts to suffer when the temperature drops below -5C/23F. But when grown in a pot it can be moved to a porch or into the conservatory for the winter. Happy in full sun or partial shade, it will eventually reach about 1.5m/5ft so is quite manageable.

Coprosma ‘Pacific Sunset’ arose as a sport on a plant of the chocolate-leaved ‘Pacific Night’ at the wholesale nursery of John Woods in Suffolk. ‘Pacific Night’ with uniformly deep chocolate brown foliage (about the same shade as the edges of the leaves of ‘Pacific Sunset’) was developed by Graham Hutchins of County Park Nursery who has been such a pioneer grower of New Zealand plants.

You can buy Coprosma ‘Pacific Sunset’ from these three RHS PlantFinder nurseries.

Coprosma ‘Pacific Sunset’ is also available in garden centres.

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