Callicarpa

I was given my Callicarpa as a gift, and it is certainly a gift that keeps on giving.

beauty berry plant in autumn

Photo: Jacki Dougan

It is often referred to as "Beauty Berry" or "Jewel Berry" because it is the berries, rather than the flowers, that make it sensational.

Shrubs are invaluable in the garden, and one shrub, Callicarpa, lights up the fall landscape.

It is often referred to as “Beauty Berry” or “Jewel Berry” because it is the berries, rather than the flowers, that make it sensational.

I was given my Callicarpa as a gift, and it is certainly a gift that keeps on giving.

The native Callicarpa ‘americana’ from North Carolina does not grow in colder regions, but the hardier Chinese immigrant Callicarpa ‘japonica’ will grow to 5 feet in zone 5.

A cultivar of this shrub, ‘Luxurians’, has wonderful fall leaf color, which contrasts with the glistening purple berries.

Plant Your Own

These shrubs bloom late on new wood so can be cut to the ground in early spring.

They like sun to partial shade and the gardener should amend the soil before planting so it drains well.  This will help them to settle in and thrive.

Purple berries are unusual on a shrub and so people, as well as birds, are attracted to them and the berries persist to provide winter interest.

Careful selection of shrubs can result in a sequence of color across the season, so experienced gardeners are always on the lookout for shrubs that provide high impact.

Beauty Berry is one that provides a grand finale to the growing season.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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