Ardisia crenata

Common Name: hen's eyes 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Primulaceae
Native Range: Japan to Northern India
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Pinkish-white
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10 where it is easily grown in average, acidic, moist but well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Foliage may burn in full sun locations. Prefers organically rich soils. Established plants have some tolerance for drought. Avoid wet soils. Freely self-seeds to the point where it has escaped gardens and naturalized in parts of Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and the Hawaiian Islands.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ardisia crenata, commonly known as coralberry, is a compact evergreen shrub that is native to forest understories from Japan to Southeast Asia and northern India. It typically grows to 4-5' tall and as wide. Alternate, glossy, thick, elliptic-lanceolate, dark green leaves (to 4-8" long) with crenate to undulate margins and reddish petioles are evergreen. Small, fragrant, pinkish-white flowers (to 1/4" long) bloom in late spring to early summer. Flowers are followed by shiny, coral (hence the common name) to scarlet red fruits (fleshy one-seeded drupes) which often remain on the plant year round. Fruits eventually fall to the ground around the parent plant, usually resulting in growth of a number of seedlings around the parent. Fruit-consuming birds help distribute the seeds to additional locations. High seed germination rate often translates into a weedy (sometimes invasive) spread of this plant, particularly into mesic forest areas where an undesired reduction in native species begins to occur.

Genus name comes from the Greek aradis meaning a point in reference to the pointed anthers of these flowering trees and shrubs.

Specific epithet means crenate (with rounded teeth) in reference to leaf margins.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Uses

Group in shrub borders, shade gardens or woodland areas. Also effective in naturalized areas where possible colonial spread is not a concern. May be grown as a houseplant in containers that are overwintered indoors.