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 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.

Fertilizer: 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.