Florida Landscape Hedge: The Cocoplum

Updated on October 26, 2017
Red-tipped leaves with clusters of young fruit
Red-tipped leaves with clusters of young fruit

Why the cocoplum is a great Florida landscape choice

The red tip cocoplum is a common sight these days in Florida landscape. In particular, this plant has become prevalent in South Florida in recent years. If you live in Florida, you may see this plant so often that it has never really stood out. Because of the durability and attractiveness of the plant, it has become common in parking lots and roadsides. The growth rate is desirable for many people as well. Cocoplum varieties can be found at many nurseries in Florida and are priced reasonably. Typically, they can be found at stores such as Lowe's or Home Depot. It is common, in South Florida, to find a plant in the $10 to $15 range. Different sizes of the plant are often available as well.

This plant makes a great landscape plant for Florida yards. It can be grown as a shrub or can grow as a tree and reach heights of around twenty feet tall. The plant thrives in the direct Florida sun and can be grown in various soil conditions, from wet to sandy. In favorable conditions, the redtip cocoplum can grow well without any fertilizers. It is not susceptible to very many pests or diseases. The plant typically does not require very much care once it is established. These factors make this plant easy to care for and a favorite for landscapers. It is also a good choice for growing as a privacy hedge because it will grow to a good size and the foliage is relatively thick.

Red leaves on a cocoplum
Red leaves on a cocoplum | Source
Young cocoplum fruit
Young cocoplum fruit

Although this plant is said to have a medium growth rate, it can grow fairly fast. Typically, it does not grow very fast in the first few years. Fertilizing may help speed the growth rate. Growing it in clusters will make it very dense and bushy. A single plant can bush out and take up a large amount of space, so keep plant spacing in mind when planting. The cocoplum can be hedged to shape, and cuts will grow back at a good rate. Cutting it too much will keep it from producing the showy red leaves that make it so attractive and give it the "red tip". Hedging it less often will give it a more natural and native look. Additionally, the plant grows small white flowers that arrive in Spring. The flowers will attract pollinators, such as bees, to the landscape.

This plant is suitable for growing on edges of property, acting as a barrier or windbreak. Also, the plant can go grow well along walls, and can grow very dense. Another good use for this plant is using it as a component of passive cooling for a home. The thick growth can shade exterior walls, act as insulation to the wall, and reduce solar gain into a home.

Younger plants are more sensitive to cold weather and should be protected if temperatures reach freezing. Older plants are more resistant to cold, but may have severe damage if temperatures drop much below freezing. The plant is best suited for growing in zones 10 and 11. In South Florida, it is rare that it is cold enough for extended periods of time that the cocoplum will sustain cold damage. Heat and sun exposure isn't a problem for the cocoplum.

The cocoplum grows an edible fruit. This fruit is small and has a purplish color. It can be eaten raw, right off the plant. It is juicy and has a mildly sweet flavor, but is a tad pulpy with a single pit inside of it. These fruit can be used to make jam or jelly. Being that it is a fruiting plant, it is attractive to wildlife. This is another benefit of having it in your yard. The clusters of fruit add visual interest to it and give it additional color to go along with the green leaves with red tips.

Add the cocoplum to your landscape if you are looking for an easy to care for, hardy, heat-tolerant, and attractive plant. The red leaves are a delightful sight among other plants. It can be hedged to the size and shape you desire. The fruit serve multiple purposes and add interest to your landscape. Other than trimming and hedging, you will find this plant to be rather easy to care for.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        KMS 3 weeks ago

        You mention, that the growth rate is desirable for many people as well. However, you do not mention what the growth rate is.

      • onthegrind profile image

        onthegrind 8 months ago from Florida, United States

        It should grow in a pot, but will provide more care to keep it healthy. They grow rather large as well. In ground is your best bet.

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        Doreen 9 months ago

        Can i grow coco plum in containers?

      • onthegrind profile image

        onthegrind 5 years ago from Florida, United States

        Peggy W, I know what you mean about not having room to add shrubs. These things can get pretty big too, but I love their look and how low maintenance they are. Thanks for the comment.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Interesting article about the cocoplum. Although we do not have any more room to add shrubs to our landscaping, I am always interested in learning about plants. This one sounds like a winner for all the reasons you stated. Voted up, interesting and useful. Thanks!

      • onthegrind profile image

        onthegrind 6 years ago from Florida, United States

        Thanks for taking time to comment, thumbi7. I will do my best to add some more pictures of fruit, but I don't have any on my plants quite yet.

      • thumbi7 profile image

        JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

        This is new information to me.

        It is interesting to know about new plants. If possible, please add some photographs of fruits.

        Thanks for SHARING:)

      • onthegrind profile image

        onthegrind 6 years ago from Florida, United States

        Thanks for the comment. Although, I'm not sure how much I would miss Florida if I was in the Carolinas!

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

        Interesting to learn about the cocoplum--sometimes I miss Florida! Maybe we'll see some of the fruit in the Carolinas.