Beautyberry produces white or light pink flowers in the summer that make quite a statement in the garden. This shrub gets its name from a gorgeous display of bright purple berries in the fall. The berries hold well into the winter, making a delicious treat for birds. Because beautyberry blooms on new growth, you don’t need to worry about accidentally pruning off flower buds in the fall. Bud hardiness is not an issue.
Beautyberry Shrub Colors
Lovely green leaves, which last throughout the growing season, act as a verdant backdrop for both flowers and berries. Beautyberry's small flowers are held in tight clusters near the stems, a display that adds subtle charm to the garden in early summer. They also set the stage for fall's grand finale. As summer winds down, the small green berries that follow blooms turn a majestic purple that looks especially appealing when dusted with frost. Long-lasting beautyberry branches make colorful additions to cut flower arrangements.
How to Care For Beautyberry
Several species of beautyberry are commonly grown. In the wild, this shrub grows along the edges of woodland areas. In a garden setting, beautyberry prefers moist, well-drained soils with a fair amount of organic matter present. Beautyberry also tolerates clay soils as long as they don't remain too wet for long periods of time. If planted in the proper soil, beautyberry typically does not require fertilization. Too much fertilizer promotes more foliage and less fruit.
Even though this plant typically grows in woodland areas, it produces the best fruit set with full sun. In part shade, beautyberry will display a looser habit and bear less fruit. Winter hardiness is a problem with beautyberry, so try planting it in a sheltered location and mulching it well in the fall. Trim this shrub in the spring to help maintain its shape.
New Types of Beautyberry
Beautyberry native to the U.S. is only hardy to Zone 7, while Asian varieties are hardy to Zone 5. Even the hardier varieties may experience substantial dieback during harsh winters. As long as beautyberry's roots remain unharmed, these shrubs will experience regrowth from the base, reform a shrubby habit, and grow fruit once again. Because of beautyberry's increasing popularity, breeders are working to develop hybrids with expanded hardiness. Breeders are also trying to develop earlier-fruiting varieties, and varieties that bear larger or different colored fruit. Some new cultivars boast burgundy foliage, a bold step forward for a plain shrub (aside from its fall beauty).
More Varieties of Beautyberry
Callicarpa americana is a handsome, North American native plant. It bears pretty lilac flowers in the spring followed by clusters of purple fruit later in autumn. It grows 3-5 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-10.
'Early Amethyst' beautyberry
This variety of Callicarpa dichotoma has impressive fruit sets in a lovely purple color. This early fruiting variety is beats out the straight species. Zones 5-8
Callicarpa dichotoma 'Issai' has large quantities of purple fruit that begin to develop their color earlier than many other varieties of beautyberry. Zones 5-8
Callicarpa acuminata bears clumps of wine-red berries in the late summer and fall. It grows 6- 8 feet tall and wide. Zones 8-10.
This Callicarpa bodinieri selection offers dark green leaves, pale pink summertime flowers, and rich purple fruits in autumn. It grows 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 6-8.
Callicarpa dichotoma offers bright green leaves, pink summertime flowers, and bold purple fruits in September and October. It grows 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-8.
'Welch's Pink' beautyberry
Callicarpa americana 'Welch's Pink' gets its name from its pink midsummer flowers and bright pink autumn berries. It grows 3-6 feet tall. Zones 6-10.