Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sakaki
Cleyera japonica

Family: Theaceae (tee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cleyera (klay-YER-uh) (Info)
Species: japonica (juh-PON-ih-kuh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By cvetence
Thumbnail #1 of Cleyera japonica by cvetence


1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Buddmorm On Nov 6, 2007, Buddmorm from Hamilton, AL wrote:

I have a few small shrubs of cleyera japonica. The shrubs are established here 3 years in a partially shaded area, and seem to need more light because they are leaning over toward a sunnier spot...(I'm planning on moving them). They are currently growing in soil that is probably acidic since they are beneath oak trees. We are in a terrible drought this year but they survived the lack of rain and I only watered them once or twice. The shiny leather-like leaves are beautiful deep green and at the (apex?) the stems are a bright red. Up close they are beautiful and wonderful to the touch. In the fall and winter, the leaves take on a mottled appearance of bronze, burgundy and gold but they are green again the next season. I've never seen these 3 year olds bloom yet. Their beauty is in their keeping leaves all winter and adding their foliage texture and color to the garden and they seem hardy here in spite of extreme heat waves, drought, and occasional freezes during January.

Neutral escambiaguy On May 4, 2007, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This shrub is commonly grown as a landscape plant along the gulf coast. They are somewhat boring to look at and therefore have never been a favorite of mine.

Neutral Monocromatico On May 2, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

Cleyera japonica (do not mix up with Japanese Cleyera, species Ternstroemia gymnanthera) comes from the humid forests of China and Japan, where itīs known as Sakaki. It is a short tree or shrub that reaches 5 m tall. It has shiny, deep green, evergreen foliage, with medium sized leaves (6-10 cm long). The flowers are small, scented, axilar, with cream coloured petals. The fruits are globous or conical capsules.

It is hardy in zone 7, but I donīt know how much heat it can take. It needs full sun to partial shade, high moisture and fertile but acidic soil. There is a variegated cultivar, on which the leaf edges are white.


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

Atmore, Alabama
Hamilton, Alabama
Ledbetter, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Greensboro, North Carolina
Hillsborough, North Carolina
Katy, Texas
Spring, Texas

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