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Coprosma - damn stupid inaccurate GC Plant labels!

NollieNollie Posts: 7,326
I admit, it was an impulse buy, but I picked up a Coprosma Lemon and Lime at the GC. The label said it was a compact evergreen shrub of 50 x 50cm. I liked the glossy, lemony lime leaves and thought it would fit well in my ‘Oranges and Lemons’ border. Having since looked it up, most reputable sites say it grows to up to 2 x 1.5 metres. Aargh, that’s FAR too big for the intended spot!

Oh and in tiny lettering at the bottom of the label, which I didn't initially spot, it said it needs a PH of 4-5. So peat bog then. Actually, that appears to be nonsense too, neutral to acid say most, so thats probably ok. My soil is alkaline, but I could add a ton of ericaceous compost or grow it in a pot sunk into the ground to be on the safe side.

Anyway, despairing rant at GC label information over and a question - does anyone know if coprosma be pruned to keep it compact?
Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.


  • My RHS book is 24 years old and doesn't list Lemon and Lime but shows pruning like camellias. Annually after flowering but just a light trim.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,974
    Not something I have any experience of @Nollie - they wouldn't survive here. 

    I think a pot would be better if your soil isn't suited. You can't change it for any sustainable length of time. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,326
    Thanks @Mrs-B3-Southampton,-Hants, that’s very helpful. It’s a fairly new cultivar, but if coprosma in general can only take light pruning, its not the plant for that bed. I do push the boundaries by planting plants that like a ‘neutral to acid’ soil in the ground (well, they are all raised beds, really), but it does take a lot of ericaceous compost and feed to keep them going @Fairygirl, so I guess it is destined for a pot. I once bought some Salvia Guaranitica Black and Bloom labelled as 60cmH which at least I knew grew much larger, so I should know better than to believe the labels 🙄 Why can’t they get it right though? How hard is it? Drives me crazy!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    I don't know that one, but I do grow another one called Pacific Sunrise. It's in normal neutral soil and gets no special treatment at all. It doesn't seem to be suffering. It is however grown in a container. Very slow growing and I doubt you need to worry about that. In New Zealand, they are treated as hedges, so pruning back to how you like. If you want to plant in the ground, I would enrich the soil with ordinary compost and see how it goes.
  • I have being growing Pacific Dawn in the ground for a year and it has been very healthy and hasn't been getting too bulky so far. Love the texture the variegation adds. It was a total impulse purchase as they were on a half price offer at a nursery and the novelty overtook my more critical faculties ;) 

    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,326
    Thanks @Borderline and @amancalledgeorge, that sounds more encouraging! There is always a climate element to how big something grows of course, but if it’s slow-growing, can take a prune and is happy in neutral soil, I will try it with amended soil in in the intended location. If it’s unhappy in a year or so I can always move it, I guess.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Good luck with can only but try 😉
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Out of interest, did you question anyone at the Garden Centre about the label information? The labels are sent in with plants from a nursery. If there is an error with a description a good GC manager would be only too happy to contact the supplying Nursery. I wonder if your plant was imported from Europe, the labelling from there is quite often inaccurate.
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,210
    Yes, I agree about the inaccurate labelling of plants imported into garden centres - particularly from Holland.  I worked in a large garden centre in West Yorks, making signs and bed labels for plants, and would often find the pot labels worse than useless for supplying anything other than the name (not always accurately spelled) and the instruction "Do not eat"...  I'd research the plant properly, looking at books and at several internet sites, and include growing conditions, hardiness, size etc.  Particularly with conifers this often conflicted with the label info - they'd give "height 1.5m", but the eventual height would be more like 10m after 30 years.  I tried to find the height in 10 years, but put on the eventual height as well... which didn't always go down well with the management...
    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,326
    Thanks @amancalledgeorge, can’t seem to find out how long it will take to get to full size, but hopefully I can keep it happy and under control.

    @yorkshirerose and @Liriodendron, well do I live in Europe - very disheartening that we no longer think of the UK as Europe, I was most upset when I received my new UK passport and it was blue! I think it is a Dutch PBR, but the breeder’s website gives the correct information, the label is that of the Spanish importer, so can’t blame the Dutch this time. Here you’re lucky to get ‘Salvia’ or some such on the label, often it’s just ‘perennial, various’. The GC’s don’t care. I pointed out to one that the Salvia Guaranitica I had bought grows to three times the size of the stated 60cm and they refused to believe me, to yet another that the plant they were selling as Echinacea was actually Gazania. That didn’t go down well either. No information is at least better than incorrect information! 
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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