Ardisia crenata, popular as Christmas Berry, is a great festive plant. It is also known as Houseplant with Red Berries.
If you want a Houseplant with Red Berries, that too during the festive time, then grow Ardisia crenata, which is also popular as a Christmas Berry plant, with the help of this care and growing guide.
Common Names: Coral Bush, Hen’s-Eyes, Spiceberry, Scratch Throat, Chrismas Berry, Australian Holly
Christmas Berry Information
Also known as spiceberry or Australian holly, in its native habitat in Asia and Australia, this compact shrub from the Primulaceae family grows up to 3 to 6 feet tall in the right growing conditions indoors.
Ardisia crenata has wide glossy deep-green leaves with serrated margins. The mildly scented clusters of small, white, or pale pink blooms develop from the leaf axils on the lower branches during summer.
The flowers are followed by 1/4 inch of beautiful red round berries that appear around Christmas time. The next round of berries on this shrub comes when it blooms again in the next growing season.
Propagating Ardisia Crenata
Chrismas berry plant can be grown from seeds in early spring or stem cuttings in spring or summer.
Propagate from Seeds
Sow seeds during spring in a seed-starting mix. Maintain the soil moisture and keep the pot where it gets plenty of bright but indirect light. The seeds will sprout in 3-5 weeks.
Propagate from Cuttings
Take a 5-6 inches long healthy stem cutting in spring or summer and plant it in a pot filled with moist peat moss-based potting mix. Water well, cover it with a plastic bag to keep the humidity, and place the pot where it gets bright and indirect light.
Pro Tip: To save time and effort, it would be a good idea to get a well-grown plant from a garden center, with berries, around the festive time.
Requirements for Growing Christmas Berries as Houseplant
While growing indoors, keep your Christmas Berry Plant, where it receives as much daylight as possible, exposure to all day long bright filtered sun and indirect light helps the plant grow well.
To ensure the plant flowers profusely and then proceeds to grow berries, it needs to get a minimum of 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight every day.
Avoid keeping it in complete darkness and shade, as it will result in leggy growth with little to no flowers.
The best location for the perfect Ardisia crenata care is a spot close to the window or door. If you have a small balcony or porch, you can keep it there as well.
The ideal soil for Ardisia crenata must be well-draining, though it’s quite versatile and withstand all kinds of growing mediums.
You can plant it in your regular potting mix that you use for other indoor plants. However, if the soil is compact, amend it with worm castings, compost, or mix in a little peat moss or coconut coir. Good soil will help in root penetration and better transportation of nutrients.
Strike the right balance of watering the plant by moistening the growing medium when the topsoil feels slightly dry to the touch–a simple watering rule to follow for any houseplant. Do not let the growing medium dry out completely, and also avoid watering the plant very frequently.
Water the plant till it seeps out from the drainage holes. Also, use room-temperature water, as cold or hot water can shock the roots.
Promote the plant’s growth with a monthly application of a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Dilute it to 1/2 of its strength. Feed the plant in the spring and summer months, and avoid fertilizing from mid or late fall till the end of winter unless you live in a frost free climate.
Take a close look at the plant when warm weather arrives–if it is rootbound, re-pot. Use a one-size large pot than the current one. Also, use a fresh growing medium.
Prune the plant in early spring before the new growth emerges. Shape your Christmas berry as you desire; if you want a pop of color in late fall to winter, leave the berries.
Pest and Diseases
Your Christmas berry plant can be attacked by leafcutter ants, mealybugs, and aphids that can hide in the foliage. Keep them away by using neem oil spray or an insecticidal soap solution.
Fungal root rot can appear in overly wet soil and destroys the roots. Make sure never to overwater the plant and keep it at a spot that gets plenty of bright light and air circulation.
When Does it Grow Berries?
The plant starts to flower from late spring to summer. After it blooms, the plant starts developing clusters of red berries that stay on the stems for 2-3 months, mainly in the middle part of the plant.