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Grow Guide: Correa Alba (White Correa)

I’ve only recently been introduced to Correa Alba as it’s native to my area. I purchased a small plant about two years ago and it’s thriving in my garden and has more than doubled in size since planting.

Featured Image: Correa alba / Photo by Krzysztof Ziarnek / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

I’ve grown different varieties of Correas over the years and just love how easy they are to grow and how well they respond to tip pruning to create a nice shape.

This particular species has lovely grey-green foliage and the prettiest small white flowers throughout the cooler months.

Correa alba varieties 

Correa Alba White Correa 1 | Plant care
Correa alba / Photo by Krzysztof Ziarnek / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

Apart from the standard Correa Alba that I’m growing, there are a small number of cultivars that have been bred over the years.

Correa alba ‘Star Showers’

This is a prostrate cultivar that makes an excellent ground cover. It only reaches a height of around 0.4 metres but can spread to cover up to 1 metre of ground. This makes it great for growing along borders or beside paths and driveways.

The pretty white flowers will adorn the plant from autumn right through to spring. The plant will grow happily in full sun or part shade and is fairly drought tolerant and can also handle a little frost. It’s also perfect for coastal gardens and will live happily in a container.

Correa alba ‘Compacta’

This cultivar is similar to the original species but a little more compact in growth. It will only reach a height of 30 cm but will spread quite broadly to a width of up to 2 metres.

Correa alba ‘Dwarf’

This cultivar is quite small in its growth habit. It only reaches a height of around 0.4 metres and a width of 0.5 metres. It also flowers from autumn through to spring and is ideal for attracting nectar-feeding birds to your garden.

Correa alba ‘Coastal Pink’

Coastal pink is a cultivar that has very pretty pale pink flowers. The flowers are also a little more tubular than the standard white flowers of the main species. 

This is a larger growing variety and will reach a height and width of around 2 metres. This makes it ideal for a low-growing hedge since it responds so well to regular tip pruning.

Choosing a location and preparing the soil

Correa alba prefers to grow in full sun but it can handle some afternoon shade. If grown in a more shady spot, it won’t produce as many flowers. 

The other important consideration is to ensure that the soil is well-drained. However, this Correa will grow in most soil types but loves sandy-type soils.

Correa alba Pinkie | Plant care
Correa alba Pinkie / Photo by peganum / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

There’s not much you need to do to prepare the soil before planting your Correa. Just make sure that it’s free-draining and not overly compacted. If you do happen to have heavy clay soil, consider breaking it up with some gypsum or digging some well-rotted compost through it.

However, I’ve grown different varieties of Correas in Melbourne in an area with clay soils and they did well once they became established. I’m lucky to have a nice sandy loam where I live now, so my Correa alba has been happy since the day I planted it.

How to plant Correa alba

There are no special techniques required to plant your Correa alba. Just dig a hole slightly larger and as deep as the rootball of the plant. Take the plant out of the pot and place it in the hole.

hole for tree | Plant care

Backfill the hole with soil and water well so that the soil settles around the roots of the plant. It’s also a good idea to place some mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture.

How to care for Correa alba

To be quite honest, my Correa alba doesn’t need much attention except for some supplementary watering during the hotter months. It handles the colder winter weather quite well but I’ve planted it next to the house so it’s sheltered from any heavy frost that we might get.

The plant also lets me know when it needs watering by wilting a little. This is quite useful because I don’t have to worry about watering schedules. If I see the tips of the branches wilting, I just give it a good soaking and it will be fine for another few days.

You’ll find that extra watering is only required during the hotter months and your plant won’t ask for water during winter. 

Correa Alba White Correa | Plant care
Correa alba / Photo by JJ Harrison / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Being a native Australian plant, I don’t feed it with any additional fertiliser except to give it an occasional tonic of Seasol and water while I’m giving this to the rest of the garden.

However, if you do want to give your Correa a boost, just make sure that you use a fertiliser that is low in phosphorus. Standard Seasol is fine as it only contains a trace amount of the major nutrients.

What you do want to do is tip prune your Correa alba quite frequently as it’s growing, in order to give it a nice shape. 

Correa alba problems, pests, and diseases

When grown in well-drained soil, Correa alba has virtually no pest or disease problems for you to worry about. That’s one of the beauties of growing native plants as they’re adapted to our climate and environment. 

Gardeners in more humid regions may have a problem with root rot but this can be avoided by ensuring that the plants always have adequate drainage and are never waterlogged.

Another problem I’ve come across while doing some research is that occasionally the leaves will turn yellow. If this happens to your plant, it’s most likely suffering from a nitrogen deficiency. This can be caused by adding uncomposted plant material to the soil.

This then starts the decomposition process by the micro-organisms in the soil and uses up all the available nitrogen so there is insufficient left for your plants to use. You can easily avoid this problem by only using mulch on top of your soil and not digging it in.

To remedy the problem, however, it’s a good idea to give your plants a feed using a native fertiliser such as Searles Native Plant Food that is low in phosphorus. Make sure that you stick to the recommended quantities on the pack and don’t overdose your plants.

How to use Correa alba for a hedge

Correa alba makes a beautiful hedge that is fairly low-maintenance. Space your plants around 100 cm apart when planting your hedge and make sure that you tip prune constantly as the plants are growing.

FAQ

How tall does Correa alba grow?

A fully grown Correa alba plant can reach a height of 1.5 metres.

Is Correa alba fast growing?

Yes, Correa alba is fast-growing. My plant has more than doubled in size in under 2 years.

Is Correa alba native to Australia?

Yes, Correa alba is native to Australia and grows naturally around the eastern coastal regions of Victoria, NSW, Tasmania, and eastern South Australia.

Is Correa alba frost tolerant?

Once your Correa alba is well-established, it’s quite frost tolerant. However, it should be protected from heavy frosts while young.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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