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Muehlenbeckia Astonii (The Wiggy-wig Bush)

Also known as the Shrubby Tororaro or Mingimingi, this super little plant hails from New Zealand, where although once prevalent it is sadly now rare. It can reach 2m in size and has a very definite inclination to spread. You could leave it to its own devices but you wouldn’t be taking full advantage of its best attributes. Delicate wiry branches give it a natural self-supporting volume and these in turn are covered by tiny ornate heart shaped leaves and little green flowers. It is therefore a perfect candidate for creative ground cover and coaxing into waves and other undulating architectural shapes or for tight clipping into substantial and dreamlike topiary. It’s a striking sculptural presence in your garden during the winter, too; the deciduous leaves, falling softly to reveal the lean fibrous branches arranged in perfect zigzags. Magical when bejewelled with droplets of morning dew.

It has a floaty, ethereal quality, but there is also a resilience to this plant. In spring, the female plant goes on to bear tiny, white, fleshy fruits that are sweet, juicy and eaten by birds, mice and New Zealand’s native gecko. Originally a plant of dry, scrubby areas, it has a deep root system, so once established it is reliably drought tolerant. It does need free-draining soil and full sun: too much moisture can lead to root rot.

Produced by cuttings and grown by us.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

Hardiness traffic light amber

Hardiness level Amber

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Hardy in the Home Counties if sensibly sited (avoiding severe frost pockets, for example). Many Amber Labelled Plants are from cuttings from well-established plants that have survived many harsh winters in the South-East.

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.