Botanical Name: Ardisia crenata
Type: Foliage/ Flowering
Origin: Ardisia crenata originates from Southeast Asia.
Height: A Coral Berry may grow up to 90 cm (3 ft) tall.
Soil: This house plant is quite happy in any good, balanced potting mix.
Light: Like many other house plants, the Coral Berry likes bright like. It is acceptable for the plant to get a little direct sunlight.
Temperatures: Similar to the Coral Bead Plant, the Coral Berry prefers to be kept fairly cool - average temperatures should be around 7 to 18 degrees C (45 to 65 degrees F).
Water: The soil should be kept evenly moist throughout the year and should never be allowed to dry out.
Fertiliser: From the beginning of spring to the end of summer, the plant needs to be fed once a fortnight, using a diluted (1:1) balanced liquid fertiliser. Throughout autumn and winter, feeding should be reduced to once a month.
Propagation: Coral Berry plants can be grown from seed (sown in spring) or via stem tip cuttings. The cuttings, which should be approximately 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in) in length, need to be taken in spring and have to be placed upright into moistened peat-moss potting mix. Cutting and pot should then be covered with a plastic bag to retain humidity. It should be noted that propagating this plant is not easy - it is, in fact, very much hit and miss - whichever method is used.
Description and Care Tips
The delightful Coral Berry is a slow growing evergreen. In its tropical native habitat, this plant will grow to heights of up to 1.8 m (6 ft), but as a house plant, it typically does not exceed around 90 cm (3 ft) - and it will take quite some time to get there.
Deep-green, glossy leaves - which will grow to approximately 5 cm (2 in) in width and 10 cm (4 in) in length - feature serrated edges, adding to the Coral Berry's overall beauty. In summer, tiny pale pink or white flowers emerge from the leaf axils of the plant's lower branches. Slightly aromatic, these flowers will be followed by 6 mm (1/4 in) round, red berries.
Arriving around Christmas, these berries are the plant's main attraction, and will last more or less until the plant begins to flower once again. If the Coral Berry is reluctant to bloom, it may require more sunlight and humidity, particularly during spring, when it begins to form buds. Misting the plant regularly (with water at room temperature) will increase humidity and help to keep spider mites at bay, as they prefer drier conditions.
If the flower buds drop off, the plant may be exposed to drafts or air that is too cold. Though it likes to be kept cool, it does not appreciate temperatures below 7 degrees C (45 degrees F).
To keep the Coral Berry compact and in shape, it needs to be pruned back in spring, before flowering begins. Repotting should be done in late winter - never while the plant is flowering - when the roots have filled the container. The new pot should only be one size larger than the previously used one.