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Ternstroemia gymnanthera
‘Variegata’, photo courtesy of Jerry Pavia
Ternstroemia gymnanthera ‘Variegata’, photo courtesy of Jerry Pavia

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Zones 4-9, 12-24
Partial SunNo Sun
Partial, Shade
Ample WaterRegular Water
Ample, Moderate

Ternstroemia gymnanthera

Evergreen, Shrubs

Camellia relative from Chinaand Japan grown for its glossy,leathery foliage. May eventuallyreach 6–8 ft. but is usuallyseen as a rounded plant 3–4 ft.tall, 4–6 ft. wide. Red-stalkedleaves are rounded oval to narrowlyoval, bronzy red whennew; color at maturity varies.In deep shade, mature foliagetends to be dark green; withsome sun, it may be bronzygreen to purplish red. Red tintsare deeper in cold weather.Creamy yellow, 1/2-in. summerflowers are fragrant but notshowy. Fruits (uncommon onsmall plants) resemble smallyellow to red-orange holly berriesor cherries; they split toreveal black seeds. Use asbasic landscaping shrub, informalhedge, tub or poolsideplant. Cut foliage keeps well.

Grow in well-drained soil. Leavesturn yellow if soil isn’t acidenough; fertilize with acid plantfood if necessary. Tip-pinchto encourage compact growth.Good companion for shade-lovingplants. Tolerates full sunin cool-summer climates.

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