While the Bigfoot Cleyera is the largest Cleyera in the Southern Living Plant Collection, The Bronze Beauty is the most petite. Growing to heights of 8-10′ H x 5-6′ W, this evergreen shrub makes for a fantastic hedge screen.
Young foliage on the Bronze Beauty starts off as a light bronze green and develops into darker metallic-sheen emerald green. At the beginning of fall, the foliage transforms its deep green leaves into a breathtaking scarlet bronze that changes the landscape entirely. This plant is receptive to pruning or shearing and will hold shape nicely. Plant the Bronze Beauty in part shade to full sun and slightly acidic soil for best performance.
When your shrub needs a trim, spring will be the best time to do so. Instead of simply shortening the stems from the tips cut them back towards the center of the plant. Cutting them back to the plant will encourage new side branches to grow and allow them to retain their shape and style, but clipping the tips will encourage bushiness.
Hardy from USDA Zones 7 – 10. Once fully established this shrub is capable of withstanding temperatures between 0° and 30°.
Cleyera is tolerant of full sun, but grows best in partial shade environments. You will want to be sure that your soil is rich and retains moisture pretty well, but will also shed off any excess. Soil should also be acidic with a pH within the 5 – 6.5 range. Alkaline soil may lead to a reduction of bronze and green foliage and instead produce foliage with tones of yellow.
If you are looking to make your soil more acidic try one of these!
As stated earlier you will want to place your Bronze Beauty in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. Water regularly during the first growing season to establisn a sturdy root system. Alkaline soil is not tolerable for this Cleyera nor is over-watering. Excess watering will lead to root rot and black spotting of the foliage.
While both are Cleyera they are quite different, but equally wonderful broadleaf evergreen shrubs. If you were to look at each plant side by side you would quickly notice the differences. While the buds of the Cleyera Japonica are sharp and hooked the buds of a ternstroemia are small and rounded.
In addition to its dense and upright evergreen growth, the Bronze Beauty Cleyera is a fairly fast-growing shrub. In ideal conditions, it is not uncommon for these to add over 3 feet in a year. Because of this fast growth and size potential spacing is an important factor.
For a seamless appearance, you will want to place your Bronze Beauty 4 feet apart. If you are going for an approach that will cover more area you may plant them 7+ feet apart.