134 Ardisia crenataCommon Names: coralberry, coral ardisia, spiceberry, Christmas berry Family: Myrsinaceae (myrsine Family)
Coral ardisia is a small upright shrub, from 2-6 ft (0.6-1.8 m) high. It is evergreen unless killed back by very hard freezes. The dark green, serrated leaves are glossy and very attractive. The flowers are white or pinkish and rather inconspicuous. The berries, which hang down in clusters, are quite showy as they ripen and turn to shades of coral and finally bright scarlet. The berries are long lasting and usually persist throughout the winter and cedar waxwings and other birds feed on them. Usually ardisias are seen in fairly large colonies, since the plants re-seed freely.
Coral ardisia's (Ardisia crenata) native range stretches from Japan to northern India. It has escaped cultivation and become established in much of northern and central Florida. In some areas it has become a serious pest, displacing native species.
CultureCoral ardisia likes deep soil rich with lots of organic matter but it can also thrive in almost any non-soggy soil. Mulch around plants or allow leaves and needles from overhead trees to fall down naturally around them. Ardisia may be topped off to maintain height. Light: Coral ardisia tolerates some direct sun but not much without showing signs of distress. It grows best under a canopy of trees in fairly deep shade. Moisture: Moist to average is preferred but coral ardisia is able to survive drought. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 10. Propagation: Propagate from seeds. It is easy to harvest loads of volunteer seedlings wherever ardisia is found growing.
For winter color in a forest grove, plant coral ardisia under trees and allow to colonize freely, thinning as necessary. A more formal use can be made of these lovely plants in shade gardens. For best effect, plant a group of at least three. In frost-free areas, ardisia can become quite large and a single specimen might occupy the same space allowed for two or three elsewhere. Where freezes are severe, ardisia should be placed in a protected area or covered. A hard freeze will kill the plant to the ground. Ardisia is easily transformed into a houseplant and is attractive for the shiny foliage even if berries do not form.
Red berries, glossy foliage and low maintenance distinguish this beautiful little shrub.
Coral ardisia is listed by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (a non-governmental organization) as a category I species, defined as an introduced species that is invading and disrupting native plant communities in Florida. In many areas, coral ardisia has become a significant pest.
Steve Christman 06/07/97; updated 02/16/00, 6/5/00, 1/13/05, 7/6/06