Marlberry is an evergreen shrub or tree that occurs naturally in coastal strands and hammocks and pine rocklands throughout Central and South Florida. It blooms and fruits intermittently throughout the year, with peak blooming in summer through fall. Marlberry’s abundant fruit is enjoyed by birds and small animals and is also edible to humans. Its dense foliage provides significant cover for wildlife.
Its fragrant flowers may be creamy white or pinkish, have distinctly noticeable yellow anthers, and are born in dense terminal or axillary panicles. The plant’s thick, dark green leaves are glossy, lanceolate to elliptic and tend to reflex upward. They are petiolate and alternately arranged. Leaf margins are entire. Bark is smooth, thin and whitish-gray. Fruits begin as small green to reddish drupes that turn shiny and black when mature. Each fruit bears a single hard seed. Marlberry is both attractive and versatile. It works well as both a specimen plant and when used as a hedge or buffer, as it can easily be pruned or trimmed to maintain a desired shape or size. The plant is salt- and drought-tolerant and will grow in sunny and shady landscapes.
1. Soak the seed in water for several hours.
2. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
3. Put the seeds on the soil.
4. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
5. Water the seeds.
6. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
7. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.