The dense, unusually dark green foliage takes on various shades of red depending upon the season and exposure, but always remains shinning and evergreen. The small, white, fragrant flowers are borne in clusters at the leaf axils and are followed by yellow to dark red fruits, eventually splitting open to reveal shiny, black seeds, which persist through the winter.
Cleyera is tolerant of full sun but grows best in partial shade in rich, moisture-retentive but well-drained, acid soil. The leaves will turn yellow if the soil is alkaline. Pruning is not usually necessary on slow-growing cleyera but new growth maybe pinched to encourage compactness, particularly in the shade. The neat, clean, upright growth of cleyera makes it a good choice as an accent plant as well as a screen or hedge. Plant on three-foot centers to form a hedge of mass planting. Cleyera makes a good background plant for a shrub border, which is to act as a screen or windbreak.
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