Japanese Cleyera (Ternstroemia gymnanthera)

Japanese Cleyera

Sometimes you don’t need a showy shrub. You don’t need a star specimen plant. You don’t need the ‘wow-factor’. You just need an easy-to-grow, plant-it-and-forget-it, give me nice greenery all year-round and cover-up that eyesore, fill out that area, or block-the-view kind of plant! Hello, Japanese Ceyera (Ternstroemia gymnanthera)! This carefree, broadleaf evergreen shrub is large, but can easily be pruned to fit the space you need – and fill any niche you need it for!

The leaves are glossy and big and start bronzy-red when they are new and mature to dark green with tints of bronze, red or purple depending on the season and the weather. Cooler weather brings out more red tints. In the summer it even blooms! The creamy-yellow flowers aren’t big or showy, but they smell nice and after they’re gone, orange-red holly-like berries take their place.

Japanese Cleyera is a good substitute for other overused, disease-prone landscape shrubs like Fraser Photina or Euonymus. It’s largely pest and disease-free and mostly ignored by deer unless they’re especially desperate.

Planting and Application:

It makes a great foundation planting to hide utilities and rough edges. It is the perfect backdrop for big flowerbeds and makes a great anchor to shrub borders. Use them around pools as a screen or to cover pool equipment. Deer resistant for en masse plantings along the back corners of your yard, or as a workhorse hedge to divide you from your neighbor’s prying eyes, Cleyera can do it all!

They are good in the shade so they work well with Azaleas, Nandinas, Camellias and Pieris. You can also cut the branches for filler in your bouquets. The cut foliage keeps a long time and adds a nice glossy-leaved element to your vases. Fill shade gardens with big glossy foliage or line the shaded side of your home’s foundation with these year-round specimens!

  • Very Easy To Grow Broadleaf Evergreen
  • Beautiful Glossy Bronze-Red to Deep Green Foliage
  • Scented Flowers & Colorful Berries
  • Bird-Friendly, Pollinators & Cut Flower Greenery
  • Makes A Big Hedge Or Foundation Plant

Tips for Care:

Ternstroemia do best in full shade to partial shade and will burn in full sun. These shrubs do need consistently moist soil and appreciate a layer of arborist mulch chips over their roots to keep them cool, hold in moisture and stop evaporation. Any well-drained soil that’s organically enriched helps hold in more moisture.

  • Full Shade & Partial Sun/Part Shade
  • Water Consistently
  • Mulch Well To Keep Roots Cool & Moist
  • Deer Resistant
  • Disease Resistant

Japanese Cleyera (Ternstroemia gymnanthera) Details

Common name Japanese Cleyera
Botanical name Ternstroemia gymnanthera
Plant type Broad-Leaved Evergreen
Hardiness zone 7-10
Growth rate Medium, Slow
Height 8 - 10 ft.
Width 5 - 6 ft.
Sunlight Full Shade, Partial Shade
Moisture Water Weekly - Keep Cool & Moist
Soil condition Must Be Well-Drained
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Pruning time After Flowering
Flower color White and Yellow