Dec 29

BeautyberryThis time of year I don’t think that there’s any question we get asked more frequently. That bush, of which there are three planted near the store entry, is called Beautyberry (Callicarpa bodinieri). We first noticed this plant many years ago growing in a botanical garden on Long Island (planted next to a grouping of plain grasses and ugly shrubs). We were all taken with the beauty of it’s berries and wondered why we hadn’t seen it before. Perhaps it was only available on the east coast at the time. A few years later, it began showing up in grower catalogs and since then has become one of the area’s favorite shrubs.

The Beautyberry grows 6 to 10 feet tall (we keep ours pruned to around 3 or 4 feet) with gracefully recurving branches. The 4inch long leaves turn pink to purple before dropping in the fall. It has 1 inch wide flower clusters which are followed by small violet fruit that last well into winter. All they need is sun and average water.

6 Responses to “What’s That Bush with the Purple Berries?”

  1. Janet Says:

    Don’t prune after June or you will sacrifice the winter berries.

  2. Francoise Says:

    I purchased a Beatyberry bush last fall and I do not see any littles shoots on the branches as of yet. Should the bush be showing signs ot life or will it start having leaves later in the spring? I hope that it did not die over the winter.

    Francoise

  3. Brian Says:

    Francoise,

    Our Beauty Berry plants in the front of the shop have only just begun to leaf out. As of today, April 3, 2010, the leaves are still less than and inch long. Since it’s been so cold lately, and depending on the climate in your neighborhood, you might not see any leaves yet. To check the life of your plant, you can use your thumbnail to scratch a bit of bark off a stem or two. If it’s green under the bark, it’s still alive.

    Hope this helps,
    Brian

  4. Isabel Says:

    Are the berries edible?

  5. Charley Says:

    I live in northern CT and have had two beauty berry bushes for three years. They are planted on a hillside facing full eastern sun and have tripled in size and girth and have the absolute most brilliant colored berries that seem even more vibrant against the white of the snow. I have never pruned them and usually have berries through the fall and winter. The berries are only now disappearing, in February because the eastern bluebirds and robins (unable to get to anything else in this snow and ice) are eating them like there’s no tomorrow. The leaves that fell in late autumn come back a little later than the other plants – in late April.

  6. Debbie Says:

    I have a bush that has purple/burgundy colored berries, but the stalk is red. They cluster up the stalk. Does anyone know what kind of plant it is. Thanks,

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