Although mirror plant is considered a weed in its native New Zealand, it has naturalized in California where it is grown for its orange-red berries in late summer and its showy, fleshy foliage. It is an evergreen shrub that grows up to six feet tall and across with male and female flowers on different plants. If you want the decorative berries you must plant females and either hope a male is around or plant at least one male nearby. The leaves are glossy and bright colored, varying by cultivar. In addition to green, leaves may be variegated, pink, red or purple with deeper shades developing as the temperatures drop. Due to their salt- and drought-tolerance, plants do especially well in coastal areas. Their dense habit and positive response to heavy pruning make them a good choice for hedges, screens, or espalier but they are also attractive in borders.
Type: Deciduous shrub
Outstanding Features: Colorful fleshy foliage; berries
Form: Dense mound
Growth Rate: Fast to moderate
Bloom: Inconspicuous male and female flowers produced in spring on different plants
Size: 3-6’ H x 3-6’ W
Light: Full sun in coastal areas to partial shade in hot inland areas
Soil: Average, moist, well-drained, slightly acid; becomes drought tolerant once established.
Hardiness: Zones 9 and 10
Care: Prune to shape
Pests and Diseases: None of significance
Propagation: Seed; layering; division
‘Marble Queen’ (green and white) See photo to right
‘Rainbow Surprise’ (cream, peach, tinted with red in the fall )
‘Tequila Sunrise (green edged with gold, turning red and orange in winter).