Ardisia

There is little chance of the ardisias ever getting into the top ten house plants - not because they are unattractive, but simply because there will never be a sufficient supply of this painfully slow-growing plant.

The leaves are glossy, waved at their edges and quite plentiful on plants that seldom attain a height of more than 4 ft (l'25m). Besides the obvious decorative value of the glossy green foliage, masses of scarlet berries follow the white flowers. The berries are grouped in clusters and are the main attraction of the plant, particularly so as they remain colourful for much of the year and give the plant its common name of coral berry.

If obtainable, seed will not be difficult to raise in warm conditions but. having germinated, there will be a long delay before the plants reach maturity. Being slow growing there should be no anxiety to put plants into large pots where they will seldom do well. It is very much better with slow subjects to pot them gradually into slightly larger pots each year using John Innes polling compost No. 3. For example, when fully mature Ardisia crispa will only be about 4ft (1-25 m) tall, by which lime the ideal pot size will be one of about 7 in (18cm) in diameter.

Established plants should have a light, airy position and at no time should the temperature be excessively hot. As ardisia is a naturally glossy leaved subject it will be found thai regular cleaning of the foliage will greatly improve its appearance.

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