Corynocarpus Laevigatus ‘Alba Vanegatus’
The tough leathery leaves of this plant resist pest and disease attack, and will withstand the damage caused by passers-by; this tolerance makes the variegated Karaka Laurel ideal for a hallway or cool conservatory. A large plant in its native Pacific Islands and New Zealand, C. 1. ‘Alba Variegatus’ rarely exceeds 2.5m (8ft), especially if the roots are restricted in a tub. Variegated cultivars always grow more slowly than green ones, which helps this particular plant, as the species is weak of growth in youth and needs support for the first few years – both growth rate and strength will remain compatible in the cultivar shown.
To ensure retention of the leaf markings, bright but indirect light is essential: if grown in a conservatory, ensure that the plant is screened from the sun’s direct rays. The broad and creamy-white edges of the leaves make this a pretty and useful plant for bright, airy, cool rooms where it will need minimal care. In Winter, provision of low temperatures will ensure that the plant takes a rest period. Small, insignificant green flowers appear in Summer and are followed by poisonous orange fruits.
Grow this plant in a frost-free environment, providing draught-free ventilation when temperatures rise above 15°C (60°F). A range of 7-13°C (45-55°F) is preferred, although this plant will tolerate temperatures as low as 3°C (37°F) for short periods. In Summer, C. l. ‘Alba Variegatus’ can be moved outdoors to a position out of the wind.
Position in good, bright, but indirect, light: this is important in Winter.
In Summer, provide light shade. Water carefully, but thoroughly, reducing the amount given when temperatures fall: water when the surface of theis dry.
Given the recommended temperatures, this plant has no need of additional humidity. However, in Winter, many homes are hot and dry-aired, and a light misting every other day can be helpful.
During the growing period, feed fortnightly, using a proprietary houseplant food. Large plants may be top-dressed in Spring.
Overcrowded plants can be repotted in Spring: use free-draining, loam-based compost. This plant needs the root restriction given by container culture, so do not repot too often.
Growth may be pruned a little in Spring to shape or restrain the plant. It is an excellent companion to some of the Citrus, which also benefit from a spell outside in Summer.
Cultural problems: Corynocarpus laevigatus ‘Alba Variegatus’ is well known for its immunity to pest and disease attack; any problems which do arise are likely to be cultural. Overheating or excessively dry air will cause leaf-fall.