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Why Buy Cleyera Shrubs?

Written by: PBM Team



Time to read 5 min

Cleyera Japonica, more commonly known as the Japanese Cleyera, is a shrub native to Japan and China – and in recent times, a staple in most southern gardens. Cleyera shrubs grow in cool, well-drained soil, in full sun to some moderate shade. Full-grown shrubs can withstand drought, but they need to be shielded from strong winds. Generally, this kind of plant is used for landscaping gardens. It produces fragrant white flowers and red berries which later split to reveal black seeds, lasting throughout fall and winter.

How big do Cleyeras grow?

These shrubs typically grow up to 15 feet in height and their spread reaches up to 10 feet. They have a thick and rounded shape, making them perfect as hedges or screens. The Cleyera Japonica has leathery leaves with a deep, evergreen color on top and muted green on the bottom. From May to June, the shrubs grow white, bell-shaped flowers, usually followed by black seeds.

Cleyera Landscape Uses

Traditionally, the Cleyera japonica shrubs are used for rituals of the Japanese Shinto religion as a sacred plant and it is often found in Japanese shrines. It’s frequently used as timber for furniture and construction as well.

Nowadays, the shrubs are mainly used for landscaping – and they’re pretty practical too! Since it handles pruning well, it’s planted in groups as a privacy hedge or along entrances or walls. Because of the shrubs’ growth, they can be used to conceal certain unattractive features of your house – like pipes or pumps. Sometimes they can be even used as specimen plants if left alone to grow in their natural conditions.

Taking care of Cleyeras

When it comes to taking care of the Cleyera shrubs, it’s a pretty easy task!

Primarily, the shrub needs to be placed in full sun, as it is heat tolerant – though it may even survive in the shade as well. Ideally, you can place it in a setting where there’s partial shade. The Cleyera Japonica prefers rich, acidic, and well-drained soil.

The placement of the shrubs is also something you should keep in mind. If you want to use them as hedges or screens, you should plant the Cleyeras 4 to 6 feet apart. By following this distance, the plants are going to provide privacy, as well as some shade. Because of their wide variety, the shrubs can also be used as accent and container plants.

As it is a landscape plant, the shrub soars in an outdoor setting where it grows at a moderate speed. You can also grow it indoors in a pot, but be aware that the plant will grow up to 2 feet at most. Just make sure to avoid placing it in a windy setting! 

Once planted, you’ll need to water it moderately (in its first year or during hot weather). In addition, the evergreen shrub doesn’t require constant pruning. When in need of a light trim, you just need to cut the stems all the way to the center of the plant, allowing two new side branches to grow along the cut. It’s also pest and disease-resistant, so taking care of it will feel like a breeze.

Varieties of Cleyera we carry

The Cleyera shrubs come in different variations – each of them special in its own way. Take a peek at some of the varieties that we carry and some tips on how to handle them as well!

Bigfoot Cleyera

Ternstroemia gymnanthera ‘Sotall’

The Cleyera Bigfoot prides itself in an evergreen,  unvarying look. It enjoys both the sun and shade. The dimensions reach up to 20 feet in height and 6 feet in width. The shrub requires little attention and is heat and disease-resistant – ideally suited for a tall hedge or a privacy screen.

When autumn comes around, Bigfoot’s foliage develops a bronze-red hue that fits in perfectly with the season's new colors.

This evergreen shrub will respond to pruning and shearing, allowing one to sculpt their natural privacy screen to their liking. Plant the ‘Bigfoot’ Cleyera in part shade to full sun and slightly acidic soil for best performance.

USDA Zones: 7a – 10b

Bigfoot™ Cleyera Rated 4.75 out of 5 based on 4 customer ratings

Bronze Beauty Cleyera

Ternstroemia gymnanthera ‘Conthery’ PP11735

As the name suggests, this variation of the evergreen shrub comes with bronze-like foliage. Growing to heights of 8-10′ H x 5-6′ W, this evergreen shrub makes for a fantastic hedge screen.

This plant is receptive to pruning or shearing and will hold shape nicely. Plant the Bronze Beauty in part shade to full sunand slightly acidic soil for best performance. Hardy from USDA Zones 7 – 10. Once fully established, this shrub is capable of withstanding temperatures between 0° and 30°.

USDA Zones: 7a – 10b

Bronze Beauty™ Cleyera Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 6 customer ratings

Cleyera LeAnn

Ternstroemia gymnanthera ‘Contherann’ PP11737

Akin to the Juliet Cleyera, this evergreen shrub changes its colors in the fall to a beautiful maroon color. Its mid-high size makes it ideal as a privacy hedge or screen. The shrub is resistant to hot temperatures, so give it as much sun as possible! It can get fragrant during the late spring, giving your garden some aroma as well.

The LeAnn Cleyera grows to 10-12′ tall x 6-7′ W making it perfect for an in-between sized border or privacy screen. New foliage on the LeAnn will emerge with a copper-green shade that turns into a lustrous dark emerald green. Later into autumn, the leaves of the LeAnn morph into a glossy crimson-caramel coloring that reignites the landscape. Plant the LeAnn in part shade to full sun, and slightly acidic soil to allow for the best performance.

USDA Zones: 7a – 10b

LeAnn™ Cleyera Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating

Juliet Cleyera

Ternstroemia gymnanthera 'Broody' PPAF

The Juliet Cleyera from the Southern Living Plant Collection will make you think again! Bold, variegated foliage provides a dynamic twist on the conventional green Cleyera foliage. New growth emerges as a rich maroon before maturing to a gorgeous olive green with creamy white edges. This foliage is evergreen, and thus provides interest even in the dead of winter.

The Juliet Cleyera is perfect for anyone looking for the privacy of a Cleyera, but with a more unconventional look. At a mature size of 8-10′ H x 5-6′ W, this shrub is perfect for usage as a hedge or screen. Furthermore, a compact growth habit ensures that this Cleyera will keep dense foliage at any size.

USDA Zones: 7a – 10b

Cleyera Romeo

Cleyera japonica ‘Variegata’

This tri-colored variation of the Cleyera will definitely add some pop to your landscape. The variegation goes bronze-looking during the warm season, while in the cool goes into an elegant rose color. It’s pretty easy to take care of, resistant to diseases and pests, and tolerates heat pretty well too – making it an excellent year-round shrub.

USDA Zones: 7a – 10b

Romeo® Cleyera Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 6 customer rating

Why should you get the Cleyera for your landscape?

To summarize, where the Cleyera shrubs lack in showiness, it definitely makes up for in practicality and versatility of use. As we’ve listed above, there are several varieties of shrubs, depending on what kind of look you want for your garden – and we feature them all in our shop!

Finally, the Cleyera relishes itself in a soft yet delicate display of evergreens, bronzes, and maroons. It’s extremely easy to maintain and keep and you can experiment with the placement as well. If you’re looking for ways to elevate your garden – this shrub should definitely not be overlooked! If you are interested in including this plant in your landscape, don’t hesitate to discover the varieties of Cleyera shrubs we carry!

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