Cleyera grows in the more temperate climates of the United States, in USDA zones 7-10, and will need little extra care over the winter months. Broadleaf evergreens in these zones typically only require protection from drying winds or unusual snowfalls.
Protecting Cleyera in Winter
Wind can easily desiccate broadleaf evergreens that are not grown in protected locations and with ample humidity. The easiest way to protect the foliage from wind burn is to cover the shrubs with old sheets or horticultural fabric during periods of storms and wind. For long rows of Cleyera hedging, using a product such as Wilt-pruf may help to protect the foliage. One application of the spray in the fall while temperatures are still above 40 degrees F will last all winter long, slowly being washed off by regular rains.
Cutting Back Cleyera For Winter
Cleyera needs minimal pruning and should not be cut back later than early fall to protect the shrubs from any early freezes. Sometimes Cleyera is damaged by an unusual cold snap or heavy snow. The first instinct for gardeners is to immediately tidy up any damaged branches and foliage. Actually, leaving the shrub to recover until new growth emerges in the spring is a better plan. This not only allows the shrub to heal itself but will protect it from further damage if the winter continues to be colder and snowier than normal. Pruning during extremes in weather will stress the shrub further, and the pruning cuts may not heal up, allowing more damage from pests or disease.
Cleyera Winter Care in Pots
Sufficient drainage is the main requirement for Cleyera grown in pots over winter. Pots will drain better when placed on bricks or dedicated “pot feet”. The extra couple of inches of air circulation keeps the pot from sitting in any standing water on a patio or garden. Gardeners in USDA zones 7 and 8 may need to insulate the pot or move containers to a more protected location. Planters provide far less insulation for the roots compared with ground soil during periods of extreme cold. Wrapping the pots in layers of horticultural fabric or burlap provides extra protection for the roots and can be left in place until the worst of the cold weather has passed.
Watering Cleyera in Winter
Cleyera planted in the ground will require regular watering, even during the winter. Cleyera will continue growing when daytime temperatures are over 45 degrees F, although growth will be much slower than normal. Allow for ½ -1 inch of total water a week, and only water if no natural rainfall is predicted.
Growing Cleyera Indoors
Cleyera does not grow well indoors. This broadleaf evergreen should be left to grow in the garden year-round.
Steps To Care For Cleyera in Winter
Cleyera are easy to care for, even in the winter, and perfect for including in a low-maintenance garden plan.
Step 1 - Move containers to a sheltered location out of the path of prevailing winter winds.
Step 2 - Continue watering Cleyera when daytime temperatures are over 45 degrees F and rain is not predicted.
Step 3 - Wrap pots in the colder growing zones to provide more insulation for the soil and root system.
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Author Robbin Small - Published 4-26-2023