Red Tip Cocoplum

Uses Hedge, foundation plant, specimen tree
Common Names Cocoplum
Scientific Name Chrysobalanus icaco
Cold Hardiness Cold hardy for Miami
Light Needs Full sun or partial shade
Flower Color Inconspicuous
Water Needs Very drought tolerant
Leaves Green, but red when sprouting
E/D Evergreen
Salt Tolerance Medium
Mature Height 10-20 feet tall
Growth Rate Fast
Red Tip Cocoplum
Red Tip Cocoplum – Click to Enlarge

Red tip cocoplum is a south Florida native that is frequently cultivated as a formal or informal hedge. It also makes a visually interesting foundation or specimen shrub in beds and borders.

In the wild, red tip cocoplum can reach heights of 20 feet or more, but in landscaping applications it usually tops out at a manageable hedge height of 7 to 10 feet. This charming evergreen has small, round, leathery green leaves arranged alternately on slender stems. New growth is reddish, ranging from pale pink to deep burgundy or bronze, creating a unique variegated appearance and giving this cultivar its name. Small white flowers bloom repeatedly throughout the year and are popular with bees and other pollinators. The purple cocoplums are about the size of a golf ball and edible. They are often used to make jellies or jams.

Red tip cocoplum doesn’t mind scattered shade, but it shows more color and better, faster growth when planted in full sun. Red tip cocoplum does well in sandy, rocky or limestone soils and is extremely drought tolerant, suitable for xeriscaping or all-native landscapes. Hand-prune red tip cocoplum hedges once yearly to shape. This variety is more sensitive to frost than the all-green cocoplum and benefits from covering during especially cold spells.

Left to its own devices, red tip cocoplum assumes a loose, somewhat rambling shape, but it is easily pruned up to suit more formal settings. Red tip cocoplum can also be grown alone or in pairs to anchor lawns or flowerbeds.