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17 April 2014

Griselinia - Ideal for Coastal Gardens

If you are looking for a large shrub for a coastal garden, then Griselinia could be the plant for you. They are also known as the New Zealand broadleaf, and come in two types - littoralis and variegata. I have both types in my breezy garden, close to the North Sea.

Griselinia are upright evergreen shrubs with simple, ovate leaves and tiny yellow-green flowers, with male and female appearing on separate plants. They are ideal plants for coastal hedging.

G. littoralis is a fast-growing, large evergreen shrub with an ultimate height after 10 - 20 years of between 4 and 8 metres, and spread of 2.5 to 4 metres. It has light green, broadly oval leaves, and very small yellow-green flowers, followed by purple fruits on female plants, if both sexes are grown together.

They prefer to grow in full sun, so are best planted in a south or west-facing position, though this can be either sheltered or exposed. They are tolerant of most soil types as long as it it well-drained.

'Variegata' is an upright evergreen shrub, having bright green, ovate, leathery leaves up to 10cm in length, edged in creamy-white. As with G. Littoralis, it has tiny yellow-green flowers, male and female on separate plants.

This is a smaller shrub, having an ultimate height and spread after 10 - 20 years of 1.5 - 2.5 metres. It prefers to be in full sun, in either an exposed or sheltered site, but is less tolerant of soil type than G. Littoralis, preferring a light, well-drained, fertile soil.

Both varieties are generally pest free but may be affected by leaf spot.

Propagation is by semi-hardwood cuttings.

Little pruning should be needed, but the best time for it is mid to late spring.
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