RHODODENDRONS are no doubt the best of the flowering evergreens that we can grow – with the exception perhaps of Camellias; and they require more care and attention than many other evergreen shrubs and trees. Soil conditions must be right. Adequate preparation is necessary – deep digging; trenching on poor ground; adding peat or leafmould are jobs which often have to be done. But there are evergreens which don’t give any trouble at all when grown in the average garden, the garden, that is, where the soil has been cultivated for some years.
Virgin soil (in a new garden) may or may not be good. It needs enriching with plenty of organic manure if it’s shallow and sandy; and certainly it will have to be cleared of weeds and rubbish before anything can be planted.
Yet there is an evergreen shrub which will succeed even in the poorest soils, or in full sun, or deep shade, and exposed places -high or low. That remarkable shrub is Mahonia aquifolium (having ‘pointed’ – Holly-like leaves), formerly known as Berberis aquifolium, and called the Holly-leaf Berberis. It is an excellent choice for planting in a new garden, where the soil is especially poor and starved.
It is a perfect weed smotherer, provided it is kept down to about 18 inches by pruning it back regularly every year. If you leave it unpruned, it will go up to a height of 5 feet or more and make an open, straggling shrub which in shape, at least, is not particularly attractive. (You can incidentally train it into a standard, by leaving a single stem and cutting out all side shoots and suckers from the base as they appear. In time the stem will become thick and trunk-like.)
The leaves are roughly Holly-shaped and spiny and turn a charming bronzy-red in autumn and winter (some on slightly damaged or broken branches, I’ve noticed, turn vivid scarlet).
The flowers are singularly beautiful; they are a bright lemon-yellow and are carried in erect racemes or clusters about 3 inches long, sometimes in full bloom very early in the year -February – but usually in March and April. In autumn the stems are crowded with clusters of blue-black berries, which are conspicuous against the glossy green foliage and persist till the frosts come.
If you leave them where they drop – even on a gravel path -they will germinate and make sturdy little seedlings the following year. Propagation by seeds (berries) is easy and costs nothing; and you can increase your stock a hundredfold, if you wish. Another method is by cuttings; and unflowered shoots strike easily out of doors: choose pieces about 6 inches long and insert them in sandy leafy soil in a shady spot.
You can fill a whole border with this amazing plant (at Kew you will see long borders of it – and no weeds!); you can plant it all over your garden, if you wish; it doesn’t mind drought and dry soils. You can have a hedge of it, a low one, however, if you want it neat and dense. Plant two rows, the shrubs 18 inches apart and the rows 2 feet apart.
I have interplanted a group with the winter-blooming Jasmine nudiflorum, the well-known yellow-flowered climber which is mostly grown (and is really best) on walls. Its long thin stems covered with star-shaped yellow flowers in winter fall across the bronze-red foliage of the shrubs and give a bright bit of colour through the grey months of the year.
Owners of large estates use the shrub for game-coverts, since it thrives and grows well in deep shade among any kinds of trees, deciduous or evergreen. The only place where it fails is on water-logged ground.
We used to be able to buy the shrub quite cheaply by the hundred or the thousand; but now a single specimen costs a lot. However, you can raise your own by seeds. It is everybody’s plant. It heads my list of easy-to-grow evergreens. Others, almost as accommodating, belong to the Berberis family.
Mahonia and Berberis are closely related to one another and at one time both were described under the genus Berberis.
Mahonias are easily distinguished from the Berberis by their compound leaves , and spineless stems. Furthermore, they are all evergreens, whereas may of the Berberis are deciduous. Before we choose any more of the ‘easy’ Mahonias, let us look at some of the Berberis – those that are almost as tough and as attractive as M. aquifolium.
Berberis X stenophylla (with narrow leaves) is one of them. It is a hybrid (B. darwinii X B. empetrifolia) and grew first in a nursery near Sheffield in i860. Like Mahonia aquifolium, it will flourish in practically any garden; it is not fastidious as to soil; it should however be started off in some good loam; but once established, it needs no further attention apart from pruning it back when it gets too big for the^place where you’ve planted it (ultimately it makes a big bush 10 feet high and 10 or 12 feet through).
It makes a fine specimen shrub for a lawn; it does well on slopes, and is often used, like Mahonia aquifolium, for covering them and keeping the weeds down. As a hedge it is magnificent and soon forms an impenetrable mass of spiny arching stems wreathed in April and May with tiny rich golden-yellow flowers. The leaves, narrow, are a fresh green, hard and spine-tipped.
The plant is easily propagated by cuttings; these are inserted in sandy soil (or in pure sand) under a cloche during the summer. But plants raised from seed are reversions, having mostly the character of B. darwinii.
B. darwinii (named in honour of Charles Darwin, the eminent naturalist and scientist); it needs ordinary loamy soil and does best sheltered from cold north and east winds during its early years, but apart from that, is no trouble. It has been described as one of the loveliest of all evergreen shrubs; and the colour of the flowers is the most striking of all the Berberis flowers – a vivid golden orange, practically the same colour as the fruit itself. The flowers come in small drooping clusters and bloom in April. The leaves are small and a dark glossy green and spiny.
A specimen shrub after many years’ growth will probably reach a height of 12 feet and measure twice that through. It is a favourite plant for hedging and for screens, and most attractive in autumn when it bears clusters of pea-sized, plum-coloured fruits.
Another good screening Berberis is the species B. julianiae. It is a dense evergreen, with small spiny-toothed leaves in clusters, and small yellow flowers. It will grow in any garden and in practically any soil. Tall specimens may be seen in gardens around London, measuring 8 feet tall and more than that in diameter.
And another good hedging Berberis is B. gagnepainii (named in honour of Father Gagnepain of the Museum National of Paris. Botanist. Born 1868). It was introduced by Wilson from Szechwan, China in 1904. A shrub, spiny all over – one has to be careful when pruning it (use gloves). The flowers are bright yellow, small and come in clusters; they bloom in late May and are lovely against the dark green narrowish leaves.
The flowers of many of the Berberis are small and come in clusters; those of B. darwinii are conspicuous because of their brilliant orange colour. Those of B. candidula stand out well, being carried singly on slender stalks and measuring nearly 2-inch across. They are an attractive bright yellow. The leaves, a shining green above and a vivid whitish colour beneath are an excellent foil. B. candidula (shining, dazzling) is a fine choice for small gardens, forming as it does, a roundish, or dome-shaped shrub about 3 feet high. It’s a cheerful sight in winter and as it is so slow in growth, it makes a good plant for a rockery. An excellent background for any of the brilliantly-coloured spring Alpines.
One can learn much from other people’s successes and failures. Several gardeners living in different parts of the country have sent me lists of evergreen Berberis that they considered the most ornamental and the most suitable for growing anywhere. These shrubs succeed in any soil, limy or leafy or sandy and in any situations; though Berberis japonica and its varieties, and B. pinnata want a little more care and attention than the others.
These two Berberis are now described under the genus Mahonia and will be found in catalogues under that name.
First, three of the true Berberis:—
B. hookeri, a dense evergreen shrub up to 5 feet tall; leaves glaucous (green above, white beneath); and the flowers, small, pale yellow with reddish sepals. (The plant is named in honour of Sir W.J. Hooker, 1785-1865, Director of Kew; or of his son Sir Joseph D. Hooker, 1817-1911, traveller in the Himalaya, who succeeded is father as Director of Kew.)
The variety: vtridis (green) has leaves coloured bright green beneath. Both shrubs are ideal for a limited space, since they retain their dwarf character without any pruning.
B. verruculosa (somewhat verrucose: covered with wart-like excrescences). Familiarly known as the Warted Barberry: the branches are covered with tiny wart-like growths. The leaves, of a leathery texture, are glaucous, and the flowers, golden-yellow, bloom in May. The shrub has attractive blue-black berries in autumn. Another low-growing compact evergreen.
The Mahonias were:—
Mahonia japonica (of Japan). A tall shrub with delightfully fragrant flowers which open in February (the scent is reminiscent of Lily-of-the-Valley). They are a lemon-yellow colour and come in great abundance in erect racemes, 6 to 9 inches long, and are one of the joys of the garden in winter. They don’t seem to mind frost. The foliage is particularly handsome and striking – it has in fact an exotic look about it – the leaflets are dark green, hard and stiff, and number 7 to 13 on each long, leaf-stalk. As in all the Mahonia, the leaves are pinnate (feather-like in arrangement) or compound, the leaflets coming on each side of the petiole or leaf-stalk.
The actual length of the compound leaf is from 1 to ii-feet long, the leaflets varying from 2 to 5 inches in length. The purple berries are 1 inch long and oblong in shape.
M. bealei (named in honour of Thomas Chay Beale, who helped Robert Fortune in his collecting); it is sometimes listed as a variety of M. japonica. It is more striking even than that shrub, its leaflets are larger (8 inches long and often 6 inches wide); its flowers finer. Both grow to a good height: often 10 feet or more. One gardener who had these two Berberis at the top of his list, stated that both shrubs when first planted should have overhead protection during the winter, if it is very severe. There is usually a sheltered spot in most gardens; and such magnificent shrubs as these certainly deserve it.
M.pinnata (pinnate leaves). It has been described as a variety of the popular M. aquifolium ; but it differs from that shrub in several ways: it grows much taller as a rule; it has been known to reach a height of 12 feet in south-west Ireland, and its evergreen leaves are a dull grey-green and are composed of as many as 13 leaflets to each leaf. The rich yellow flowers carried in erect racemes appear on the stems as well as at the top of the shrub. They are wonderfully fragrant and valuable for cutting for indoors.
Laurel and Privet sound the most uninteresting of all evergreens; yet there are at least two Privets which are fine garden shrubs and very ornamental: one is Ligustrum lucidum, sometimes a tree up to 30 feet high; the other, L. delavayanum, a small-leaved spreading shrub, usually not more than 6 feet tall. These Privets display then beauty to best advantage when grown as specimen shrubs.
L. lucidum (clear, shining) makes a tall, handsome tree up to about 30 feet or more. (In its habitat Hupeh, China, it has been found 60 feet tall.) The leaves are ovalish in shape, 3 to 6 inches long; and the flowers, white, come in erect terminal panicles 6 to 8 inches long. These are very conspicuous during the early autumn and welcome during a time when there is a scarcity of flowers in the garden.
The variety tricolor is not so hardy, but very striking in the colour of its foliage; the leaves have a broad band of white; and when young, this is a pretty pink colour.
L. delavayanum (named in honour of l’Abb£ Jean M. Delavay, 1834-95, who collected many plants in West China), sometimes called L. pratti. It is a native of Yunnan, China, and was raised in France by a nurseryman from seed sent to him by the Abbe Delavay in 1890. The dark, shining green leaves are smaller than those of the common Privet; the flowers white; the berries black. It is a fine Privet for a small garden, making a flat-branching, spreading shrub up to about 6 feet high. As the plant matures, it becomes more rounded. In gardens along the south coast I have seen some specimens 10 feet or more in height.
The common Privet, L. vulgare (common) is only partially evergreen, and an inferior garden plant; in fact I can’t think of any place where it could be grown effectively – perhaps it is best for filling up places where nothing else would grow. It is considered to be a native of this country and is found wild in our hedgerows. I advise gardeners to choose other species for hedging, however, if they want Privet. The Oval-leaved Privet (L. ovalifolium) is a much superior plant. The popular Golden Privet, a favourite hedging plant, is a variety called aureum of the oval-leaf species.
Privet thrives in any soil, but it won’t grow well in very stony ground; like every plant, it should be given a good start off.
Plants are easily raised by cuttings inserted in sandy soil in a shady spot out of doors. This is the cheapest way of obtaining a good stock for hedges.
The common Laurel is Prunus laurocerasus (Laurel-Cherry) and is a more handsome foliage-shrub or tree than any of the Privets. It comes in for more criticism perhaps than any other evergreen we grow, yet it has many virtues. Its dark, shining green leaves are among the most attractive of all evergreen leaves; it makes a magnificent tall shrub or tree if left un-pruned – a fine specimen tree 20 feet or more tall, which is an excellent wind-break. It flourishes in any ordinary soil, it doesn’t even mind dry soils and revels in windy exposed places. Like Mahonia aquifolium, it thrives in woodland, where it makes a good dense undergrowth.
On the other hand, it quickly impoverishes the soil where it grows, depriving all other plants near it of the sustenance they need. It has very little floral beauty: the flowers, a dull white, come in small terminal racemes and are scarcely noticeable; and it is sometimes damaged by frost during a severe winter and is not so hardy as P. lusitanica (the Portugal Laurel).
Both species are used for hedging and screening; but unless one can have a double row of the shrubs, the result will be a rather thin open hedge. Pruning and shaping the plants is a lengthy job, since the growths should be cut back with a pair of secateurs, not with shears, which easily mutilate the leaves. (I’m afraid I always use shears, since clipping is much quicker than systematic pruning.)
There are several good varieties of the common Laurel; two of the best are caugasica, which has dark green, rather narrow leaves; and schipkaensis, the hardiest of all the Laurels; it survives severe frosts, snow, winds and storms. Its leaves are narrow, usually about 4 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide. These two are probably the most useful for the average garden.
The plant is a native of E. Europe and Asia Minor and was introduced into Britain at the beginning of the 17th century.
P. lusitanica (Portuguese) is a native of Spain and was introduced into England round about the same time as the common Laurel. As already mentioned, it is somewhat hardier than the common sort, provided it grows in well-drained, sandy soils (start it off in some good loam).
It vies in beauty of flowers and fruits with any of the other numerous varieties; the flowers come in long, slender racemes in June and are hawthorn-scented and the fruits which follow are large and a dark reddish-purple. The shrub is seen at its best when left unpruned and grown as a single specimen.
Var. azorica is the largest-leaved form (in hot climates it goes up to a height of 60 feet or more). It received a F.C.G. In 1896.
Cotoneaster and Pyracantha are two families of evergreen shrubs which are very easy to grow.
Cotoneaster (pronounced with the accent on the second syllable: co-/o-ne-as-ter) will grow and flourish in any soil that isn’t waterlogged or boggy, and they settle down well in the poorest soils. They are all very hardy, and as garden shrubs their greatest attraction is their bright coloured berries. Their flowers are small and by no means showy. (Mention Cotoneaster to a gardener and he’ll immediately think of berries, not flowers.)
There is a good number of evergreen species and varieties; those I recommend do not take up a great deal of room. I think most of them can be accommodated in the average-sized border; and several are suitable for the rockery.
One of these is C. conges la (congested; arranged very closely together: referring to the branches); the short branches which form mound-like masses of green, are covered in autumn with bright red berries measuring ½ inch across. It seldom goes above a height of 2 feet and gives a touch of colour to the rock-garden late in the year – and how much we appreciate it! Several grouped in a semi-shady border make a perfect dull green background for the dwarf Japanese Azaleas.
C. microphylla (small leaves); it has small glossy green leaves (grey and woolly beneath) and scarlet berries. I have seen the shrub used for covering a sunny slope – perhaps a dozen plants altogether and very attractive in autumn, the berries remarkably showy against the deep glossy green foliage. The variety cochleata is more compact and more striking in fruit: the berries, a deep scarlet colour, are borne freely in October. The shrub received an A.M. In 1931. (Beautiful fruiting sprays were exhibited at the R.H.S. Show at the beginning of October of that year.)
There are taller kinds, which make fine specimen shrubs for lawns. C. salicifolia (with willow-like leaves) and its varieties are good shrubs for this purpose. They carry heavy crops of berries in autumn and are tall graceful plants.
Var. flocgosa has leathery narrow leaves and bright red fruits; and Var. RUGOSA has larger leaves and fruit than flogcosa and is a coarser-looking, more vigorous plant. Both varieties were discovered by the collector Wilson in Western China, who described them as some of the most beautiful of all berrying shrubs for the garden.
C. pannosa (like coarse cloth in texture; woolly); this is another Cotoneaster which makes a fine specimen shrub. It goes up to a height of 10 feet or more, with slender arching branches covered with small oval leaves, dull green above and white and woolly beneath; and red fruits in October.
I prefer C. turbinata (top-shaped – the fruits), perhaps because I know it better; it is about the same height as C. pannosa and is of the same graceful habit and it grows quickly. Its leaves are about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, dark green above and white beneath. The fruits are deep red in October and pear-shaped (top-shaped). Both species are natives of China.
These berrying Cotoneasters are seen to best advantage when they are massed in a large bed, one kind only being used. The berries are obviously more conspicuous then. You need plenty of room, of course – you get the most striking effects when you grow a plant in a mass.
In a small garden, however, this isn’t possible. All we can do is to grow something else with a plant to enhance its beauty. With the Cotoneasters we could use some autumn-tinting shrub as a background-piece – one of the lovely yellow-coloured Maples, for instance. The scarlet ones would naturally eclipse the beauty of the red fruits. Autumn Crocuses that bloom in October and November, is another suggestion. These should be massed round the shrub or planted in drifts in front of it. Crocus kotschyanus (rosy-lilac) blooms at the end of September. C. speciosus var AITCHISONII (pale lilac) and C. salzmannii (lilac), bloom at the beginning of October; and C. pulchellus (bluish-lilac) usually begins to open its flowers in November. Try any of these with, say, Cotoneaster turbinata.
Pyracantha, related to Cotoneaster, are more often than not grown against a wall and scarcely need any companion plants – the grey stone or the red brick affords sufficient contrast. ‘Firethorns’ is the popular name of these evergreens; the colour of the berries is mostly a fiery-red and the branches are thorny. On a wall the plants often attain a height of 15 feet or much|more, depending on the climate. But when grown in the open garden as bushes, they are not so tall.
Practically any soil suits them, though a light loam is better than a heavy clay.
The favourite and possibly the most successful species is P. coccinea (scarlet), a European plant, known by its French name Buisson (bush) Ardent (burning); it was introduced into this country at the beginning of the 17th century. Its leaves are oval shaped, dark glossy green above, and paler beneath. The flowers, small and insignificant like those of the Cotoneaster, are white and open in June. The fiery-red berries stand out remarkably against the green foliage and are a magnificent sight through the autumn and winter months. (Unfortunately birds devour them.) Some people net the shrubs to keep the birds off; but I’ve found that they usually tire of them after one good feed.
The variety lalandii is a bigger, finer shrub, with large berries of an enchanting deep orange-red colour.
P. angustifolia (narrow leaves). One of the great virtues of this plant is that the orange-yellow berries last an astonishingly long time, often till the spring – long after those of P. coccinea have fallen. It is a large shrub, usually reaching a height of 12 feet and of a bushy, spreading habit. The leaves are an attractive dark green colour and covered with grey felt beneath. A more tender plant than the common species, described above. It is a native of China and was first grown in Britain at Kew Botanic Gardens in 1899.
P. rogersiana (named in honour of Mr. Coltman-Rogers of Radnorshire, who first exhibited the plant at one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Shows in 1913); it is described by many gardeners as the best of all the Pyracantha, both as a specimen shrub and as a wall-plant. The berries are a reddish-orange colour – very brilliant – and the leaves exceptionally small: about 1 inch long and 1 inch wide. The flowers (white) come in small panicles in June; but, as with all the Pyracantha flowers, they are not much to look at.
Pyracantha grown against a wall must have their side shoots trained in the direction required; and the foreright (frontal) shoots must be cut back to keep the plants neat and compact.
Some years ago in a garden on the south coast I saw the species P. rogersiana used for a hedge and covered with berries in late autumn. The hedge was about 6 feet high and was clipped back every year; apparently hard clipping does no harm.
The great drawback to planting such a hedge is the expensiveness of the plants. Each. Fortunately Pyracantha can be propagated both by seeds and by cuttings. Set the cuttings (select firm, leafy twigs) in sandy soil in a shady frame; the best time is the end of August.
In the same district were hedges of the glossy-leaved evergreen Euonymus japonica. It isn’t a plant everybody likes, yet it seems to be a favourite for hedges – especially in the south, where it actually grows best. North of London it often succumbs to frost. It does well enough here, in South Bucks., but its leaves are nearly always attacked and disfigured by swarms of caterpillars which spin thick ugly cobwebs over the plants and feed on the leaves. Spraying with one of the insecticides is necessary every spring to get rid of the pests.
The species is a native of Japan, where it grows up to a height of 30 feet or more, making a tree of densely leafy habit.
There are many varieties, mostly variegated, such as Var. alba-marginata, with leaves margined with white; Var. microphylla variegata: leaves margined with silver.
E. radicans (having rooting stems); this is a creeping evergreen, used for a ground cover or for training up walls; grown in the latter way, it will reach a height of 20 feet or more. The leaves are a pleasing dark green colour, smooth, and ovalish in shape, about 1 inch long.
In some countries where the Ivy is not hardy, E. radicans is used instead of that plant for training up walls of houses, and it is also clipped down small for an edging like Box. It resembles Ivy in that when it reaches the adult, flowering stage, its shoots become erect and bushy; and, like the Ivy, it will flourish in deep shade. The leaves of these bushy forms are larger: and the plants when pruned back regularly make useful evergreen. E. radicans, like E. japonica, is also a native of Japan, and has produced several charming variegated forms. Var. roseo-marginata has pinkish markings, and I think the most attractive.
These Euonymus will grow in any ordinary soil and they do extremely well in chalky, limy ground.
I am mentioning Cistus Xpurpureus here among the easy-to-grow evergreens because it was described to me recently by a gardener as being the loveliest of all flowering evergreen shrubs and one that would grow in any poor soil. This is only partly true; there is a serious omission in the description. And that is that the plant is not truly hardy. It succeeds only in warm maritime districts such as Cornwall and Devon.
The finest specimens will be found on dry, sandy slopes facing die Mediterranean. The open flowers (like crinkled silk) are purplish-pink, with a red blotch at the base of each petal, and practically cover the shrub – the narrow dull green leaves are visible only after the flowers have fallen – usually late in the evening. It is regarded as the best of all the Cistus and is actually one of the most beautiful of evergreen shrubs. Unfortunately there are few gardens in this country where it will live very long.
The Periwinkles, Vinca major and V. minor flourish in sun or shade and in any soil. They flower more profusely in sun and make a good undergrowth for shrubs like the Brooms. The blue of the Periwinkles looks well beneath the yellow of these shrubs.
V. major (large) blooms from May to September and carries its flowers on upright stems about 18 inches high; its long trailing stems are barren, but produce dark glossy green leaves which are attractive all through the year. Plenty of new young plants can be obtained from the stems which root where they touch the ground.
V. minor (little, small) is a dwarf, trailing plant, the stems rarely more than 6 inches long. It is easily distinguished from the other species by the smaller flowers and leaves – it is smaller in all its parts.
There are some very charming varieties, viz. Var. alba, with white flowers; Var. plena, with double flowers; Var. punigea, purple. But the type plant, with its ‘Periwinkle blue’ flowers I consider the best.
Both species come from Southern Europe, and they are found growing wild in Britain but are probably escapes from cultivation. As the Periwinkle does not perfect its seed here, it is doubtful whether they are natives.
Finally, the popular Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus), a valuable easy-to-grow evergreen for screening. It also makes a good hedge, but doesn’t flower freely when clipped every season. As a flowering hedge it is rather untidy and in time grows very wide, with long straggling shoots. This is how I like to see it and it is all right in a large garden; but for boundary hedges the plant is usually clipped to make the growth fairly uniform. And it seems to do better when planted in a mass.
Laurustinus thrives in any ordinary soil, provided it is of a reasonably good depth and well drained; and in sun or shade. In shady, sheltered places it grows taller but does not bloom so freely. Around London the plant can be damaged by frost during a severe winter; but is not usually killed; in my garden in South Bucks., parts of the shrubs (20-year old plants, now 10 to 12 feet high) were damaged by frost two years ago. The leaves turned brown after some months and died, and later some of the stems died back. But strong new shoots have sprung up from round the base, and new growths have also developed on the lower branches. There are still one or two gaps in some of the shrubs, but most of them are again thick with fresh green foliage from top to bottom.
One of the beauties of this excellent evergreen is that no main stem or trunk, or branches can be seen through the mass of foliage. No shrub could be better for screening in the average garden; but I wouldn’t recommend it for cold northern gardens – though many gardeners do.
The flowers come in flattish clusters (cymes). They are about 4 inches across, pinkish in the bud and turn white as they develop. They begin to open about October and, depending on the weather, bloom freely till April. The leaves are a delightful glossy green, pale beneath; and the berries which often remain on the branches till the flowers come again are blue-black in colour.
V. tinus has produced several attractive varieties – two decidedly on the tender side.
Var. lucidum (clear, shining); this is looser in habit than the type plant; and the leaves and flowers are larger, the former often 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, and a striking polished green. It does well in gardens along the south-west coast; but is a failure in districts around London.
Var. hirtum (hairy); the shoots, stalks and the base of the leaves are covered with hairs, the leaves slightly thicker in texture. It is often grown in a cool greenhouse, the winter flowers being much in demand by florists.
Var. purpureum is a charming hardy variety with dark green leaves, which are tinged purple when young.
Var. variegatum has variegated leaves, part of the leaf, sometimes all one side, a golden-yellow.
Like the trailing stems of the Vincas, the lower stems of the Laurustinus trail on the ground and often root there; this is the easiest way of propagating the shrub. And all the Laurustinus are easily increased by cuttings put in a frame; if bottom heat can be given, they root much more quickly.