Coastal plants for New Zealand Gardens.
Pseudopanax lessonii or 'Coastal five finger' has a waxy protective coating on the leaf that helps shield the plant from harsh salt air and coastal conditions. Pseudopanax lessonii is often used as a 'nursery' plant in the landscape garden, this means using the plant as a fast growing shelter species to provide protection for slower growing, less hardy plants.
Plant Pseudopanax lessonii in a growing position where it will get sun most of the day, provide enough space to grow to a mature height of several meters. Prune and remove lower branches on the maturing plant, this will encourage an eventual evergreen overhead canopy that will provide solid summer shade.
Pseudopanax lessonii can be managed at a hedging height, some plants will hollow out in the center after 5 years or so and will require replacing. Plants can also be susceptible to sooty blotch and may be treated with copper oxychloride. Planting to allow constant air flow around the entire shrub will help reduce attack from disease. Place a 12 month slow release fertiliser capsule or 2 at the base of the planting hole. Young plants will feed heavily for the first 2 years.