American Beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

 … for spectacular violet berries in late summer and fall

 

Common name: American Beautyberry

Latin Name: Callicarpa americana

Design Tip: Use among other shrubs in a hedgerow or in an understory shade garden. It can add an extraordinary color dimension to a predominately silver and purple border.

Form: The medium-sized deciduous shrub's branches arch gracefully downwards.

Size: An un-groomed specimen will attain a 4 to 6 foot height.

Flowers: Insignificant spring flowers produce the late summer and fall clusters of iridescent violet-purple berries. 

Foliage: Bright green 3" ovate leaves shed with first frost.

Soil: It prefers a moist well-drained fertile soil.

Light Exposure: Partial shade is preferable to full sun in drier gardens to avoid leaf wilt in mid-summer, although a well-irrigated site in full sun will be more productive.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 – 8

Grooming: Pruning is not necessary, but since berries are produced on new stem growths, the bush can be trimmed in spring to increase the number of branches for more autumn berries.

Propagation: Plants can be propagated by cuttings or root division.

Tidbits: The good news is that it attracts colorful berry-eating birds. The bad news is that they clean the plant of color. Cut stems can be used for indoor bouquets to rescue and relish the extraordinary berries. If garden birds fail to find the berries, they will stay on the stem longer than the leaves in winter. Being native to moist-soil regions of Texas makes the beautyberry bushes well suited to irrigated garden beds. There is also a white-berried alba form,Callicarpa americana Lactea.


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 Cultivated, photographed and written by
Maggie Ross McNeely in Ft. Worth, Texas
All rights reserved