Q Will pruning back revive my drought-affected ‘Black Pearl’ shrub?
David Betchley, Cambridge A Lophomyrtus ralphii ‘Black Pearl’ is a small, borderline hardy, evergreen shrub with rounded, puckered, dark purple leaves and small pink flowers. Related to myrtle – it’s a hybrid of two species native to New Zealand – it makes a compact, upright shrub to 1.5m (5ft) that needs good soil in partial shade.
To check if it’s still alive and will recover, scrape the bark on one or two of the shoots. If it’s dry and brown beneath then that shoot is dead. Continue down the plant to see if you can reveal creamy-white, moist tissue beneath the bark. If so, wait until next spring when you can prune the dead shoots back. It should reshoot well.
However, if it’s brown beneath the bark to the base of the plant it’s dead.
‘Black Pearl’ is a pre y shrub native to New Zealand