How to Grow an Ardisia Plant – Ardisia Elliptica

Judy do you know what kind of house plant this is?

Hi Benney,

Your plant is a type of Ardisia Plant; the variety is Ardisia Elliptica. It is also referred to as Shoe Button Ardisia or Duck’s eye because of the berries the plant produces.  The berries start out red and turn black/purple as the plant matures. The berries are edible but kind of  bland, and are mostly eaten by birds (in Hawaii) or birds and raccoons (in Florida).   The Ardisia Elliptica is a very invasive weed in tropical and sub-tropical regions and  grows mainly in wet forests (e.g. rainforests) & riparian areas. Here are some care tips:

Light: bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. but no direct sun.

Water: Keep the soil evenly moist but never soggy. Be sure there are drip holes in the bottom of the pot so excess water can drain out. Over-watering causes root rot and can result in the plant dying.

fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.: Feed monthly in spring and summer with a balanced plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Too much plant food or using water that has passed through a softener (too salty) causes leaf tip burn.Pot Size: Do not rush to move the plant to a larger container until the roots have filled the existing pot. Be sure there are drip holes in the bottom of the container so excess water an escape.

Propagation: Seeds from these plants tend to germinate well. There’s quite a few in each berry and you can plant the entire berry. Stem Cuttings also work. With cuttings, use  a 6-8″ piece from a young stem. Remove all but a few leaves that are at the top. Dip the cut end in a very small amount of rooting hormone.  An ardisia tree can also be propagated by air layering. Click the links to read complete propagation tips.