Cousin It Plant. You Won't Believe What This Rare Plant Looks Like

May 29, 2024by Neha Singh

The Ultimate Guide to Cousin It Plant (Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It')

The Cousin It plant, scientifically known as Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It', is a unique and versatile ground cover that adds a distinctive texture and appearance to any garden. Known for its dense, cascading foliage that resembles green dreadlocks, this Plant is a favourite among gardeners for its low maintenance and adaptability. This comprehensive guide, supported by academic research and expert advice, covers everything you need to know about growing, caring for, and enjoying the Cousin It Plant.

Trivia on Cousin It Plant (Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It')

Care Aspect Description Details
Scientific Name Botanical Name Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It'
Common Name Common Names Cousin It, Prostrate Swamp Oak
Family Plant Family Casuarinaceae
Plant Type Type Ground cover, Shrub
Hardiness Zones USDA Zones 8 – 11
Sun Exposure Light Requirements Full sun to partial shade
Soil Type Soil Preference Well-draining soil, prefers sandy or loamy soils
Soil pH Soil Acidity Slightly acidic to neutral (6.0 to 7.0)
Height Maximum Height Up to 1 foot (30 cm)
Spread Spread 3 to 6 feet (90 to 180 cm)
Spacing Plant Spacing 3 to 6 feet (90 to 180 cm)
Bloom Time Flowering Period Rarely blooms, primarily grown for its foliage
Flower Colors Flower Appearance Inconspicuous
Watering Water Needs Moderate watering; drought-tolerant once established. Water deeply but infrequently.
Fertilizing Fertilization Schedule Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in spring if needed. Generally low-maintenance in terms of feeding.
Pruning Pruning Requirements Minimal pruning required. Trim to maintain shape and remove any dead or damaged stems.
Propagation Propagation Methods Propagate through cuttings. Take semi-hardwood cuttings in spring or early summer.
Pests and Diseases Common Issues Generally pest-free. Watch for root rot in poorly draining soils. Ensure good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.
Winter Care Winter Protection Mulch around the base in colder regions to protect roots. Suitable for mild winters; protect from frost.
Special Features Additional Benefits Excellent ground cover for erosion control, low maintenance, and drought tolerance once established.

Unique Features of Cousin It Plant

The Cousin It plant (Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It') stands out in gardens due to its distinctive features and adaptability. Here are some key characteristics:

  • Distinctive Appearance: The Plant's cascading foliage creates a unique, shaggy appearance that can add texture and interest to any garden setting.
  • Ground Cover: It forms a dense mat that effectively covers the ground, making it an excellent choice for ground cover in both residential and commercial landscapes.
  • Low Maintenance: Cousin requires minimal care once established, making it ideal for low-maintenance gardens.
  • Versatile Planting Options: It can be used in various settings, including slopes, rock gardens, and as a living mulch under trees and shrubs.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Cousin It Plant

  1. Light Requirements:
    • Full Sun to Partial Shade: Cousin thrives in various light conditions, from full sun to partial shade. However, it performs best with at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
    • Adaptability: While it can tolerate partial shade, full sun promotes vigorous growth and dense foliage.
  2. Soil Requirements:
    • Preferred Soil Type: The Plant prefers well-draining soils and can thrive in sandy, loamy, or rocky soils.
    • Soil pH: It is adaptable to a wide range of soil pH levels, from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (pH 6.0-7.5).
    • Drainage: Good drainage is essential to prevent root rot. Amending heavy soils with organic matter can improve drainage.
  3. Temperature and Hardiness Zones:
    • Suitable Hardiness Zones: Cousin is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11, making it suitable for various climates.
    • Temperature Tolerance: It can tolerate high temperatures and is moderately frost-tolerant once established.

Planting Cousin It Plant

Best Time of Year for Planting Cousin It Plant:

  • Spring: Planting in spring allows the Plant to establish roots before the summer heat.
  • Fall: Early fall planting is also suitable, giving the plant time to root before winter.

How to Plant Cousin It Plant:

  • Step-by-Step Planting Guide:
    1. Select a Location: Choose a site with well-draining soil and the appropriate amount of sunlight.
    2. Prepare the Soil: Amend the soil with compost if necessary to improve fertility and drainage.
    3. Dig the Hole: Dig twice as wide and deep as the root ball.
    4. Remove the Plant from the Pot: Carefully remove the Plant from its container without disturbing the roots.
    5. Plant the Cousin It: Place the Plant in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
    6. Backfill the Hole: Fill the hole with soil, pressing down gently to eliminate air pockets.
    7. Water Thoroughly: Water the Plant deeply immediately after planting.

Spacing Requirements and Depth:

  • Spacing: Space plants 3 to 4 feet apart to allow for their mature spread.
  • Depth: Plant at the same depth as in the nursery pot.

Initial Care for Cousin It Plant:

  • Watering: Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged during the first growing season to establish the roots.
  • Mulching: Apply a 2-3 inch mulch around the base to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Essential Care Tips for Cousin It Plant

  1. Watering:
    • Frequency and Amount: Water regularly during the first year. Once established, the Plant is drought-tolerant and requires less frequent watering.
    • Adjusting Watering: Increase watering during hot, dry periods and reduce during cooler months.
  2. Fertilizing:
    • Recommended Fertilizers: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring.
    • Tips for Healthy Growth: Avoid over-fertilizing, as excessive nutrients can promote leggy growth.
  3. Pruning:
    • Importance of Pruning: Pruning helps maintain the Plant's shape and promotes healthy growth.
    • When and How to Prune: Cut back any dead or damaged foliage in late winter or early spring.
  4. Mulching:
    • Benefits: Mulch helps retain soil moisture, reduce weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
    • Types of Mulch: Use organic materials like wood chips, bark, or compost.

Common Problems and Solutions for Cousin It Plant

  1. Pests and Diseases:
    • Identifying Common Pests: Aphids, spider mites, and scale insects can occasionally affect the Plant.
    • Effective Treatment: Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat infestations. Maintain good air circulation and avoid overwatering to prevent fungal diseases.
  2. Bloom Issues:
    • Causes of Poor Growth: Insufficient light, poor soil drainage, and nutrient deficiencies can affect growth.
    • Ensuring Healthy Growth: Provide adequate sunlight, ensure well-draining soil, and fertilize appropriately.
  3. Yellowing Leaves:
    • Diagnosing and Treating: Yellowing leaves can indicate overwatering, poor drainage, or nutrient deficiencies. Adjust watering practices and ensure proper soil conditions.

Propagation of Cousin It Plant

  1. Softwood Cuttings:
    • Timing: Take cuttings in late spring to early summer.
    • Step-by-Step Guide:
      1. Select a healthy, non-flowering shoot.
      2. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in the rooting hormone.
      3. Plant in a well-draining medium and maintain high humidity.
  2. Growing from Seed:
    • Collecting Seeds: Harvest seeds from mature plants in the fall.
    • Sowing Seeds: Scatter seeds on a well-draining seed starting mix and moisten the soil.

Styling and Display Ideas for Cousin It Plant

Garden Design:

  1. Ground Cover: Use Cousin It as a ground cover to fill in bare spots and create a lush, green carpet.
  2. Rock Gardens: Plant in rock gardens to add texture and contrast to rocky landscapes.
  3. Slope Stabilization: Use on slopes to prevent soil erosion and create a cascading effect.

Container Gardening:

  1. Patio Containers: Plant in large containers for patios and decks, combining with other drought-tolerant plants.
  2. Entryway Decor: Use containers to frame entryways and add a unique touch to your home's exterior.

Indoor Displays:

  1. Hanging Baskets: Plant in hanging baskets to showcase the cascading foliage.
  2. Terrariums: Use in large terrariums for a dramatic indoor display.

Best Companion Plants for the Cousin It Plant

Here is a list of the best companion plants for the Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant, along with their characteristics and benefits:

best companion plants for cousin it
Companion Plant Scientific Name Description Benefits
Lavender Lavandula spp. Aromatic shrub with purple flowers. Prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Attracts pollinators, adds fragrance, and has similar water and soil requirements.
Rosemary Salvia rosmarinus Woody perennial herb with needle-like leaves and blue flowers. Prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Attracts pollinators, adds fragrance, and has similar water and soil requirements.
Blue Fescue Festuca glauca Clump-forming grass with blue-green foliage. Prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Provides contrasting texture and color, drought-tolerant, and low maintenance.
Sedum Sedum spp. Succulent plants with fleshy leaves and star-shaped flowers. Prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Drought-tolerant, attracts pollinators, and provides year-round interest.
Echeveria Echeveria spp. Rosette-forming succulent with various colors. Prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Drought-tolerant, low maintenance, and adds visual interest with rosette shapes.
Agapanthus Agapanthus spp. Clump-forming perennials with strap-like leaves and large blue or white flower clusters. Provides vertical interest, attracts pollinators, and complements the cascading form of 'Cousin It'.
Thyme Thymus spp. Low-growing aromatic herb with small leaves and pink or purple flowers. Prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Drought-tolerant, attracts pollinators, and can be used as a ground cover or edging plant.
Gazania Gazania spp. Low-growing, clump-forming plants with daisy-like flowers in various colors. Prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Provides bright, colorful flowers, drought-tolerant, and attracts pollinators.
Dusty Miller Jacobaea maritima Silver-foliaged perennial with a mounding habit. Prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Adds contrast with silver foliage, drought-tolerant, and low maintenance.
Rockrose Cistus spp. Shrubs with evergreen leaves and showy flowers. Prefers full sun and well-draining soil. Drought-tolerant, adds color and texture, and provides a naturalistic look.

Environmental Benefits of the Casuarina 'Cousin It' Plant

The Casuarina 'Cousin It is plant (Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It') is an attractive ground cover with unique aesthetic qualities and provides several environmental benefits that contribute positively to the ecosystem. Here is an in-depth look at its role in erosion control, air purification, and other environmental benefits.

Erosion Control

One of the most significant environmental benefits of the Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant is its exceptional ability to control soil erosion. Its dense, mat-forming growth habit makes it an ideal ground cover for stabilizing soil on slopes, embankments, and other areas prone to erosion. The plant’s extensive root system helps to anchor the soil, reducing the impact of wind and water erosion. By holding the soil in place, 'Cousin It' prevents the loss of topsoil and maintains soil fertility, which is crucial for the health of surrounding vegetation.

Additionally, the plant's thick foliage provides a protective cover over the soil, reducing rain impact and surface runoff velocity. This not only helps prevent soil displacement but also promotes water infiltration into the ground, enhancing groundwater recharge and reducing the risk of flooding.

Air Purification

Like many other green plants, the Casuarina 'Cousin It' improves air quality. Photosynthesis absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, contributing to cleaner and fresher air. The plant's dense foliage can also trap dust, particulate matter, and other pollutants, helping to reduce airborne contaminants.

Moreover, 'Cousin It' can reduce greenhouse gases by sequestering carbon dioxide, one of the primary contributors to climate change. By integrating this plant into urban and suburban landscapes, we can enhance green cover and contribute to mitigating air pollution and climate change.

Other Environmental Benefits

Beyond erosion control and air purification, the Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant offers several other environmental benefits: (source NLB)

  1. Habitat Creation: 'Cousin's dense, ground-covering nature provides habitat and shelter for various small wildlife, including insects, birds, and mammals. This contributes to biodiversity and supports the ecological balance in the area.
  2. Water Conservation: Once established, 'Cousin It' is drought-tolerant and requires minimal watering. This characteristic makes it an excellent choice for xeriscaping, which aims to reduce the need for supplemental irrigation. Using plants like 'Cousin It' in landscaping can significantly conserve water resources, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions.
  3. Soil Health Improvement: As it grows and sheds leaves, the plant contributes organic matter to the soil. This organic matter decomposes and enriches the soil with nutrients, enhancing soil structure and fertility. Healthy soil supports robust plant growth and promotes a thriving ecosystem.
  4. Aesthetic Value: The unique appearance of the 'Cousin It' plant adds visual interest to landscapes. Its cascading, needle-like foliage can soften hard edges and create a more natural, appealing environment, enhancing human well-being and promoting outdoor activities.

FAQs about Cousin It Plant

  1. How does the Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant adapt to different soil types, and what are the implications for soil health?
    • The Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant is highly adaptable to various soil types, including sandy, loamy, and even poor soils. Its extensive root system improves soil structure by enhancing aeration and increasing organic matter through leaf litter decomposition, which promotes overall soil health and fertility.
  2. What specific pruning techniques can enhance the growth and aesthetic appearance of the Casuarina 'Cousin It is planted?
    • While minimal pruning is required, strategic pruning can enhance growth and aesthetics. Removing dead or weak stems encourages new growth and maintains a dense, uniform appearance. Light trimming after the growing season can help shape the plant and stimulate more vigorous growth.
  3. How does the Casuarina 'Cousin It plant contribute to the microclimate of its surrounding environment?
    • The dense foliage of the Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant provides ground cover that moderates soil temperature, reduces evaporation, and maintains higher humidity levels at the soil surface. This microclimate can support the growth of understory plants and beneficial soil microorganisms.
  4. What are the best companion plants for maximizing the ecological benefits of the Casuarina 'Cousin? It is planted in a landscape.
    • Companion plants such as Lavender (Lavandula spp.), Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus), and Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca) can maximize ecological benefits. These plants share similar growing conditions, attract pollinators, provide habitat diversity, and enhance the overall resilience of the landscape.
  5. How can the Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant be integrated into sustainable landscape design practices?
    • The Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant can be integrated into sustainable landscapes by controlling erosion, conserving water through xeriscaping, and enhancing biodiversity. Its low maintenance and adaptability to various soil types make it an ideal candidate for sustainable and low-impact landscaping.
  6. What role does the Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant play in coastal and dune stabilization projects?
    • In coastal and dune stabilization projects, the Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant's robust root system helps bind sandy soils and reduce erosion from wind and water. Its ability to thrive in sandy, well-draining soils makes it particularly effective in stabilizing coastal dunes and preventing sand movement.
  7. How can the Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant be used in urban green spaces to mitigate urban heat island effects?
    • The Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant can mitigate urban heat island effects by providing ground cover that reduces soil temperature and reflects less heat than bare ground or hard surfaces. Its green foliage and low maintenance make it suitable for urban green spaces, enhancing cooling and improving air quality.
  8. What are the specific water management practices for optimizing the health of the Casuarina 'Cousin It is plant in arid regions?
    • In arid regions, optimizing the health of the Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant involves deep, infrequent watering to encourage profound root growth. Mulching around the base can help retain soil moisture and reduce evaporation, and drip irrigation systems can provide efficient water delivery directly to the root zone.
  9. How does the Casuarina 'Cousin It's plant interact with native wildlife, and what are the implications for local biodiversity?
    • The Casuarina 'Cousin It' plant provides habitat and shelter for various small wildlife, including insects, birds, and mammals. Its dense foliage offers protection and nesting sites, promoting local biodiversity. It also supports beneficial insects that contribute to pollination and pest control.
  10. What are the potential challenges in propagating the Casuarina 'Cousin It is plant, and how can they be overcome?
    • Propagating the Casuarina 'Cousin It's plant can be challenging due to its slow rooting process. Overcoming these challenges involves using semi-hardwood cuttings taken in the growing season, ensuring they are kept in a humid environment with indirect light, and rooting hormones to encourage root development. Patience and careful monitoring of moisture levels are essential for successful propagation.


The Cousin It plant (Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It') is a versatile and rewarding addition to any garden. Its unique, cascading foliage and hardy nature make it a gardener's favourite. Here is a quick recap of crucial care tips and the benefits of growing these elegant shrubs:

Key Care Tips:

  • Planting: Best planted in the spring or early fall. Ensure well-draining soil and a location with full sun to partial shade.
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during the first year. Adjust watering based on weather conditions to avoid overwatering or drought stress.
  • Fertilizing: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring to promote healthy growth.
  • Pruning: Prune in late winter or early spring to maintain shape and encourage new growth.
  • Mulching: Apply a 2-3 inch mulch around the base to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds.

Benefits of Growing Cousin It Plant:

  • Low Maintenance: Once established, the Plant requires minimal care and is highly drought-tolerant.
  • Versatility: Suitable for various garden designs, including ground cover, rock gardens, and container planting.
  • Environmental Benefits: Helps prevent soil erosion and supports garden biodiversity by providing habitat for small wildlife.

Growing the Cousin It Plant allows you to enjoy its unique beauty and practicality while adding structure and texture to your garden. Embrace the opportunity to cultivate these versatile shrubs and experience the joy they bring to your outdoor spaces.

Happy gardening! Enjoy the unique charm of the Cousin It plant in your landscape.

Like our content? Explore more detailed plant care guides and expert advice on our how-to Plant Care Guides.

Grow plants for a sustainable future. Take our ESG certification to learn more.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Leave application Questions? Answers.

The watering frequency depends on the type of plant, soil, and climate. Generally, it's best to water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Ensure thorough watering until excess water drains out from the bottom of the pot.

Most plants thrive in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. Use a general-purpose potting mix for houseplants, and amend garden soil with compost to improve texture and fertility. Specific plants may have unique soil requirements, so check individual care guides.

Light requirements vary widely among plants. Most houseplants prefer bright, indirect light, while succulents and cacti need direct sunlight. Shade-loving plants thrive in low light conditions. Always check the specific light needs for your plants.

Fertilize during the growing season (spring and summer) when plants are actively growing. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. Reduce or stop fertilizing in fall and winter when growth slows down.

Pruning helps maintain plant health and shape. Remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches and spent flowers. Use clean, sharp tools to make precise cuts. Pruning encourages new growth and flowering.

  • Overwatering signs include yellowing leaves, root rot, and moldy soil. Underwatering signs include wilted, dry, or brown leaves. Adjust your watering schedule based on these signs and the plant’s needs.

Increase humidity by misting plants regularly, placing a tray of water and pebbles near the plants, or using a humidifier. Grouping plants together also helps create a more humid microenvironment.

Identify the pest type first (e.g., aphids, spider mites, mealybugs). Remove visible pests by hand or with a strong stream of water. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil as treatments. Isolate the infested plant to prevent spread to other plants.

Repot when the plant outgrows its current pot or roots start emerging from drainage holes. Choose a pot one size larger, gently remove the plant, loosen the roots, and place it in the new pot with fresh potting mix. Water thoroughly after repotting.