Recently in my role as a Mississippi State University Extension specialist, I had the opportunity to promote horticulture and bring back great tips from friends in Florida.
On Saturday, I co-hosted Better Lawns and Gardens on WFLA-Orlando with my great friend Teresa Watkins.
We answered questions and shared our best garden and landscape tips for two whole hours. We had a great time. You can hear the podcast by going to the Southern Gardening Facebook page and clicking the link.
I also had the privilege of making a keynote address to the Florida Master Gardener Volunteers. I made the case that, in this crazy world of ours, we need to embrace the idea of a modern-day Victory Garden. I will try to share a link to this speech with the Southern Gardening Nation.
My background in horticulture is nursery/greenhouse production. When I get the chance while traveling, I like to visit production nurseries and greenhouses. I got to see what nursery crops are being grown right now in central Florida for 2023.
I found another new-to-me landscape shrub that I had to bring back with me to Mississippi. Coprosma reptans — which is a mouthful of Latin — is commonly called mirror bush.
The variety that caught my eye was Waxwing Gold.
This plant is a colorful, evergreen shrub that reminds me of a succulent. The plants grow densely, with a well-branched growth habit. I really like the high gloss of the foliage that helps reinforce the mirror bush common name.
The variegated foliage also has a range of vivid colors. Individual leaves are clear gold —meaning they’re a pure gold color — with a painted green stripe down the center. The leaf margins display an orange cast that is variable depending on temperature and light conditions of the season.
Waxwing Gold is a member of the series that includes Waxwing Lime, which has a variety of yellows and greens with thin, red margins in the spring. In the fall and winter, this selection has earthy bronze, red and orange tones. Waxwing Orange is a compact grower with colorful layers in a variety of orange hues.
Unfortunately, Waxwing Lime and Orange weren’t available, or they would have been in the car returning with me to Mississippi, too.
The only downside — and to tell you the truth, it’s not that big of a deal — is that Coprosma is hardy for U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 11. That means for most of Mississippi, this will be considered a great annual plant.
Waxwings would make a fantastic container or patio/porch specimen. If you wanted to overwinter them inside, they would be good interior house plants. And the best news is that they’re as easy to take care of as any succulent. Remember, I mentioned that Coprosma reminds me of a succulent.
You won’t see these in nurseries this fall, so go to your local independent garden center and tell them you want one or a few of these for your garden and landscape in 2023.
Dr. Gary Bachman is an Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also the host of the popular Southern Gardening television and radio programs. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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