Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Beautyberry Plant Profiles

During the winter months I thought it would be fun to showcase plant profiles of my favorite garden workhorse plants and new plants I'm interested in growing. This week's plant profile is beautyberry.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa bodinieri, American beautyberry) is a fast-growing deciduous shrub sporting pale green leaves with tiny lilac flowers during the year, then magenta colored berries develop in late summer. The shrub has attractive leaves which turns yellow in fall, with the shrub eventually dropping its leaves, leaving only the striking cluster of magenta berries on bare branches in late fall. Beautyberry can grow 4 to 8 feet tall and wide. The beautyberry shrub prefer light shade, planting in a protected area from the wind against a fence is a good idea. Staking the shrub as they grow is helpful for sturdy growth, the shrubs can grow up to five feet tall. Water the beautyberry shrub with one inch of water weekly. It will take a growing season or two before new Beautyberry shrubs produce flowers and berries. The Beautyberry shrub may die back in cold areas but will grow back in spring. The Beautyberry shrub needs new growth to grow berries, if you must prune do so only after the shrub has produced berries for the first time. The berries can be eaten by birds, but may be astringent and would be a last choice for a natural food source. American beautyberry is known as a natural insect repellent. 

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Callicarpa_bodinieri_003.JPG

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