The genus Ardisia includes 250 species of evergreen trees and shrubs that are grown for their whorled or spiralled leaves, their clusters of white or pink flowers, and their bright red fruits. They are native to moist woodland in tropical and warm-temperate areas of Asia, Australasia, and North and South America. A. japonica is a fundamental herb in Chinese medicine.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsLeaves in whorls or spirals; flat clusters of white or pink flowers; showy red fruits.
CareGrow in a sheltered, shady site in moist but well-drained, humus-rich soil. Prune in mid- or late spring by trimming lightly.
PropagationIn spring, sow seed at 55°F. Root semi-ripe cuttings in summer.
ProblemsSusceptible to many fungal root rots, as well as a number of fungal stem and leaf diseases. Mealybugs can be a problem. Basal stem gall may occur when seeds germinate at excessively high temperatures.