Eugenia rated by ArtisTree Plantopinions experts


“I admire Eugenia, but there always seems to be one or two in a hedge that never look good. Do they not do well in Sarasota? I live in Lakewood Ranch.” — Tony D.

Ah, a good observation. Eugenia shrubs in Sarasota would enjoy a stellar reputation if it weren’t for certain fungal diseases and insects. Still, if you’re willing to keep a close eye on this Florida native, you’ll enjoy its regal good looks and the privacy it has to offer. You can sculpt these fast growers as a six-foot buffer or let them grow naturally to 15 feet. And because of their fine-textured foliage, they make elegant topiaries. Still, those pest problems…

Our ArtisTree landscape experts weigh in.

Joe Mantkowski, VP of Landscape Design

Some years ago, my in-laws needed a nice, upright hedge to go along the fence they had along their courtyard pool. They lived up against a golf course and only had a few feet to work with. I showed them the Eugenia and they liked its dense formal look and how slender it was. We installed several that were 5’ tall and they provided an instant buffer. You do have to watch for insects, though. In their case, they never had any problems.

— Thumbs sort of up

Clinton Lak, ArtisTree Landscape Designer

A hedge of Eugenia is the perfect choice if you want your landscape to resemble a formal English garden. You can even train it to be a topiary grown in the ground or in large pots. That said, I’ve stopped using Eugenia due to insects and fungus that can cause portions of the plant to die out. Since they can be problematic and are no longer hardy in our area, I don’t recommend them.

–Thumbs down

Chris Culp, Landscape Designer

I only use Eugenia for a topiary purpose (Eugenia myrtifolia). I have seen the Eugenia die back for seemingly no reason. Instead, I use Simpson’s Stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans) which looks just like Eugenia and is a Florida native plant as well. It has a fragrant flower and edible fruit, plus it’s drought/salt tolerant, cold hardy and also attracts birds and butterflies.    

— One thumb up, one thumb down
Eugenia topiaries grace front entryways in University Park.

Elisabeth Owen, Landscape Designer

Eugenia is fast growing and good for dense screening. It’s important that you trim properly so as to keep undergrowth healthy and receiving sunlight (small-leaved foliage). Can be used for topiaries or planted in tight spots (substituted for Podocarpus). Not especially hardy, though, because insects love them. I’ve had to either replace sections of it (as a hedge) after dying out from age or have it treated with insecticide. Not my first choice, so I wouldn’t overly recommend this plant. 

— Thumbs mostly down
This lightly trimmed Eugenia serves a privacy hedge in Venice, FL.

Conan Michel, Operations Manager

Eugenia doesn’t do too well in our area. Potential problems can include whiteflies, Florida red scale, mealybugs, aphids, black spider mites, slugs and snails. Fungal diseases such as rust, fungal leaf spot and dieback also affect this plant. I would recommend another choice such as Simpson’s Stopper, or else you’ll likely have to keep treating it for fungus or insects.

— Thumbs down
ArtisTree Landscape
Left to right: Joe Mantkowski, Clinton Lak, Chris Culp, Elisabeth Owen, Conan Michel

ArtisTree “Plantopinions” is a roundtable debate between multiple ArtisTree experts on the virtues of various plant specimens. Sometimes there’s consensus and sometimes not. In the end, you are the judge!

ArtisTree Landscape Designers

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