Plant Library

Variegated New Zealand Laurel

Corynocarpus laevigatus 'Variegata'

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Variegated New Zealand Laurel (Corynocarpus laevigatus 'Variegata') at Green Thumb Nursery

Variegated New Zealand Laurel foliage

Variegated New Zealand Laurel foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Variegated New Zealand Laurel (Corynocarpus laevigatus 'Variegata') at Green Thumb Nursery

Variegated New Zealand Laurel

Variegated New Zealand Laurel

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  30 feet

Spread:  20 feet

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  8b

Other Names:  Karaka


This is a slow growing narrow evergreen tree, densely covered with large, deep green glossy leaves with cream variegation; berries are poisonous to consume, but this cultivar rarely, if ever, flowers or fruits; a great plant for screening in a shaded area

Ornamental Features

Variegated New Zealand Laurel has attractive creamy white-variegated dark green foliage on a tree with an upright spreading habit of growth. The glossy oval leaves are highly ornamental and remain dark green throughout the winter.

Landscape Attributes

Variegated New Zealand Laurel is an evergreen tree with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and usually looks its best without pruning, although it will tolerate pruning. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Variegated New Zealand Laurel is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Shade
  • Vertical Accent
  • Hedges/Screening
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Variegated New Zealand Laurel will grow to be about 30 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 4 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This tree does best in partial shade to full shade. Keep it well away from hot, dry locations that receive direct afternoon sun or which get reflected sunlight, such as against the south side of a white wall. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It may require supplemental watering during periods of drought or extended heat. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

Variegated New Zealand Laurel is a fine choice for the yard, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Shade  Articulation  Screening  Container 
Foliage Color 
Ornamental Features