It’s hard not to write about Purple Beautyberry this time of year. It’s done flowering and the berries are now set – lime green and turning a beautiful lilac purple all clustered up along the branches. Of all the Callicarpa species, this one has a more refined habit. The native Callicarpa (C. americana) is coarser and only hardy to zone 7. This shrub (C. dichotoma) is native to Japan and China and grows only about 4-5′ tall with arching branches. It blooms on new wood in later summer, which means it’s possible to prune quite far back late winter/early spring. Plant in full sun in moist, well-drained soil and once established it can tolerate some dry conditions. The fall color is yellow which looks great with the berries, and once the leaves fall, the dark stems really show off the berry clusters. Even with the birds and other wildlife taking nibbles you’ll still be able to enjoy them into the colder months!
Great as a stand alone shrub, massed or in the mixed border. One of our favorite companions is the Diablo Ninebark with its maroon leaves, but you can also skirt it with any of the darker leaf Heucheras.