Japanese Ardisia, Marlberry

Ardisia japonica

Family: Myrsinaceae
Genus: Ardisia (ar-DIZ-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: japonica (juh-PON-ih-kuh) (Info)




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade




Provides Winter Interest

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


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

Anniston, Alabama

Wetumpka, Alabama

Paradise, California

Decatur, Georgia

Greenwell Springs, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Hartsville, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Austin, Texas

Beaumont, Texas

Conroe, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Houston, Texas

Richmond, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 14, 2014, bridgebaron from Chapel Hill, NC wrote:

Planted this in spring and loved it up until our freezing cold winter here in NC. All leaves have turned brown and I don't think it will come back. I have the variegated variety and I'm wondering if it's really suited to zone 7. It's a beautiful ground cover for a shady spot but maybe not in NC.


On Jan 14, 2014, mmtoad13 from Pharr, TX wrote:

I just received this plant as a gift. It is sure taller then 12" and the florist said I couldn't put it outside and to keep the soil moist. I hope I can keep it alive. It is a very pretty plant


On Jan 22, 2010, islandms from Galveston, TX wrote:

Am growing this around an old live oak with filtered shade. It is slow to spread, but it made it through Hurricane Ike salt water, a long hot summer, and a couple of days in the 20s without a whimper. Lovely berries in December - February; nice thick shiny foliage. Stays under 12 inches high.


On Apr 3, 2007, marysgarden from Wetumpka, AL wrote:

Has spread very fast in my zone 7b garden. Very attractive groundcover in part shade. Problem with leaf spot for the first time this spring--will try fungicide.


On May 8, 2006, mmanman from Houston, TX wrote:

I use it as a ground cover surrounding pedestals of ivy and coleus. The plantings are under a very large live oak in partial to heavy shade. Subject to a leaf spot, controlled with a systemic fungicide.


On Jan 24, 2006, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

great groundcover but lordie it is the one of the slowest things I've ever grown. Berries in winter provide interest and yes, it looks sickly if exposed to full sun. Mine is planted in shade and does well, but lordie, it is slow!


On Nov 11, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Excellant groundcover for shady areas; leaves yellow and subject to leaf spot in full sun. Spreads by underground runners, so the use of a thick layer of mulch aids in establishment. Displays red berries in the winter. Several varigated selections available.