You can grow this shrub as a tree, if you wish it will form a large oval shape and lower branches can be trimmed up or left on. Landscape companies often go overboard in trimming these shrubs, and the results aren't particularly pretty.

You can keep this shrub clipped without taking it down to the bare minimum of foliage especially if you've planned ahead for the size of a mature plant. Because it takes shaping so well, this plant will fit in a narrow-depth area and can even be trained as a topiary specimen.

Plant Specs: This is a moderate grower you can keep 5 to 7 feet or let it get larger - quite a bit, in fact, since the plant can grow as much as 40 feet tall. It's evergreen, salt-tolerant, and cold tolerant, so it does well in any area of South Florida.

Sun or shade is just fine, though in shade these plants will grow more slowly. However, the color will look deeper and richer in a shadier spot than in a sunny one. Tiny spring flowers are followed by purple berries (on female plants) and are edible for people and attractive to birds.

Plant Care: Add top soil or organic peat moss and composted cow manure to the hole when you plant. Trimming can be done frequently or not depending on the look you want. The plant can look somewhat sparse and spindly when young, so cut it back in spring, if you do nothing else.

Hand pruners (rather than an electric trimmer) do a better job to shape and yet leave enough foliage after a trim to keep the shrub's good looks intact. Though this plant is drought-tolerant once established, it's best to water on a regular basis with time between watering for the plant to dry out a bit. Fertilize 3 times a year in spring, summer, and autumn with a top quality granular fertilizer.

Plant Spacing: Place these shrubs 3 feet apart. Come away from the house 2-1/2 or 3 feet. Along a walk or driveway, come in 4 to 5 feet to allow for mature size. This plant will work in a large container.