Meryta sinclairii, Puka

Meryta sinclairii

Family: Araliaceae
Origin: New Zealand
Large shrub 5-10 ft tallSemi-shadeFull sunRegular waterOrnamental foliageSeaside, salt tolerant plant

This large shrub, Meryta sinclairii (Puka), is native to New Zealand and can grow to a height of 5-10 ft tall. It is an ornamental foliage plant and ideal for coastal gardens, being both salt tolerant and wind hardy. While it is hardy and can survive in USDA Zone 9-11, it should not be subjected to heavy frost.

For optimal growth, Puka requires full sun, though it may tolerate some semi-shade. The soil, meanwhile, should be deep, well-drained, and moist. The plant is also quite responsive to regular watering, though it should be avoided in waterlogged soil.

In colder regions and if grown in a pot, planters should choose sheltered areas that are not prone to sharp frost and grow the plant in containers filled with multipurpose compost mixed with a small amount of sharp sand. The compost should be kept moist and the pots should be taken indoors during seasons with harsh frost. After the frost has passed, the pots should be returned outdoors slowly and acclimatized for the period of a week.

Overall, Meryta sinclairii or Puka is an ideal choice for any native or tropical setting. Its glossy green and large, wavy leaves add an exotic uniqueness to any garden, while the small and green winter blooms and shiny black fruits make it a beautiful and interesting specimen tree to cultivate.

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