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PlantFiles: Japanese Cleyera
Ternstroemia gymnanthera

Family: Theaceae (tee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ternstroemia (tern-STROE-mee-uh) (Info)
Species: gymnanthera (jim-NANTH-er-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Ternstroemia japonica
Synonym:Taonabo japonica
Synonym:Cleyera gymnanthera

One vendor has this plant for sale.

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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5 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive kim1961 On Jul 24, 2013, kim1961 from Villa Rica, GA wrote:

I love this shrub. I planted 25 of these across the front of my yard as a privacy hedge. They grew pretty fast. About 15 years later they are beautiful and at least 10ft tall, thick and healthy. I didn't lose any of them. They are near the ditch/road in full sun. They also shade out undergrowth. Many years in drought conditions and acidic soil. Out-performs the photinia as they are much more reliable, disease and bug resistant. I am thinking about planting them down both sides of the yard for more privacy. Birds love them and nest in them too.

Positive N2tropicAL On Oct 25, 2010, N2tropicAL from Anniston, AL wrote:

durable and pretty much pest free...i like this evergreen. most literature states the height as 6-8 ft, but in my garden it is pushing 20 ft. i have seen large tree-like specimens in lower alabama that are in the 40 ft plus range. it will occasionally ressed in my garden, but not to the point of being a problem.

Neutral escambiaguy On May 7, 2007, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is for sale at all of the big box stores in my area. I have never cared for it because I think it is rather plain looking. It does make an effective screen however.

Positive GrandmaLillie On Apr 21, 2006, GrandmaLillie from Hamer, SC wrote:

Japanese Cleyera (Ternstroemia gymnanthera) can be purchased also through the Wal-Mart stores (Myrtle Beach, Conway, Marion & Dillon, SC)

Positive dogbane On Nov 9, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Frequently used for specimen or hedges in the New Orleans area. Fewer problems than photinia or camellia. Does require acidic soils for best performance and dislikes hot, dry, sunny locations. Slow growing - mine get direct light only in the late afternoon and maybe twice a year require light shaping. Wonderful dark green leaves with bronze colored new growth. Overwatering can cause root rot and black spot.

Positive Monocromatico On Aug 7, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

I don't know the plant itself, but I've been searching for more information about it. I've seen interesting pics of the flowers, larger than other species of Ternstroemia (the largest genus of the Tea Plant family), that are a very good secondary atractiveness. I've read that the leaves are used against malaria

Neutral Terry On Aug 30, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A good substitute for Red-Tip Photinia, (which is prone to powdery mildew), this evergreen shrub's new growth is tinged red, turning dark glossy green as it matures. Can get tall, but is easily kept in check with pruning.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama
Atmore, Alabama
Northport, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Martinez, California
Keystone Heights, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Lula, Georgia
Villa Rica, Georgia
Ledbetter, Kentucky
New Orleans, Louisiana
Paulina, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Centreville, Maryland
Greenville, Mississippi
Raymond, Mississippi
Cary, North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Oxford, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Waxhaw, North Carolina
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Anderson, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Hamer, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Germantown, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Houston, Texas
Palestine, Texas
Rowlett, Texas
Terrell, Texas

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