The Q&A Archives: Marlberry plants

Question: I like the Marlberry plants... are they invasive??? Anytime I see

Answer: Ardisia japonica is native to China and Japan and is a low evergreen groundcover that spreads by underground rhizomes. It is grown in shaded areas and gets only 8 to 12 inches in height. Japanese Ardisia flowers on the stem tips in the fall with small white flowers followed by red fruit during the winter.

I understand your concerns about introducing invasive plants into your garden, but according to the North Carolina State University, this plant is a nonaggressive spreader. Here's what they have on record for Ardisia japonica:

Habit: Evergreen
Growth Rate: Moderate
Size: 8 to 12 inches
Site Requirements: Shade; prefers cool, moist soil
Form: Nonaggressive mat spreader
Texture: Medium to coarse
Foliage: Shiny alternate, leathery dark green leaves crowded at the end of branches; sharply serrated margins
Flower/Fruit: 1/2 inch star-shaped, 5-petaled pink and white flowers in small groups in spring; 1/4 inch red fruit in fall persists into winter
Comments: Spreads by suckers; does not tolerate foot traffic; not drought tolerant.

Best wishes with your new groundcover!

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