What is a Mirror Plant?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Various glossy shrubs make up the mirror plant, or Coprosma repens, family. These perennial plants range from a light shade of green to a nearly white hue. The plants change color during seasonal changes, becoming pink or red as colder weather sets in.

In New Zealand, where the shrub is considered a native grower, its inner bark is sometimes used to create dyes.
In New Zealand, where the shrub is considered a native grower, its inner bark is sometimes used to create dyes.

A member of the Rubiaceae family, the mirror plant is small and dense. It usually grows as wide as it grows tall, up to 4 feet (1.2 m) in height. The brightness and glossiness of the plant's leaves combined with its vivid display of seasonal colors make it a popular choice for hedging or container gardening. Many people compare the plant's colorful, bright leaves with jewels.

Several popular varieties of mirror plant exist. The Evening Glow Mirror Plant grows in a triangular shape, and is known for its golden-tinged leaves. Variegated Mirror Plants may grow two to three times the size of other varieties. These flowering shrubs grow white flowers as well as decorative berries.

Rainbow Surprise Mirror Plants are favorites for many growers. They change color throughout the entire year, providing gardens with vibrant displays of hot pink, cream, gold, and many other hues. Though the plants continually change color, they are evergreen shrubs just like other types of mirror plants, and are considered easy to care for year-round. Over 50 varieties of mirror plant are available overall.

When first planting these tropical plants, regular watering may be necessary. Regularly watering the garden plants will ensure their optimal health. In extreme heat, the plants should be watered frequently. They are considered hardy, however, and will tolerate drier conditions. Soil should be kept moist, though growers should also be careful to avoid over watering this plant.

Fertilizer should be used to keep the plants healthy. The mirror plant grows best in partial to full sunlight. Like many other shrub varieties, the mirror plant should be pruned as necessary. Pruning can help shape the plants into a desirable decorative formation, as well as rid the shrubs of any dead leaves or misshapen areas.

In addition to being used as an eye-catching garden plant, this plant can be used for other purposes. In New Zealand, where the shrub is considered a native grower, its inner bark is sometimes used to create dyes. Some native tribes of the area also claim the plant can be used for medicinal purposes, such as treating wounds. The shrub is also native to Australia and Borneo.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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