Monday, June 9, 2008

Blooming American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

American Beautyberry is another one of Florida natives that's very easy to care for and does well no matter how extreme the weather gets. As all the native plants, it is naturally adapted to the weather conditions and doesn't get damaged easily and no pests will bother it. It grows 4-6 feet tall and wide.

Plant American Beautyberry in full sun to partial shade, in acidic to neutral soil. Its foliage is deciduous. Parts of plants are poisonous in case of ingestion.

Propagation is easy - from seeds or cuttings. It might self-seed.

Both photos: Blooming American Beautyberry after the rain

American Beautyberry looks best when planted amongst other plants/greenery to hide it when it goes dormant during winter time. In late winter (just before the leaves start to flush out) it should be pruned to about 6". This way the bush will grow much fuller and not so tall or leggy.

Unpruned, American Beautyberry bush can get very tall and leggy . Pruning also increases the flowering and fruiting since flowers occur only on the new growth.

In mid spring it starts blooming. Blooms can be in any color from white to pink, from lavender to violet. This bush is very attractive to bees, butterflies and birds, especially mockingbirds.

In fall, American Beautyberry is indescribably attractive with its clusters of purple berries. Mockingbirds sit on the plant and eat berries one at the time. Sometimes even squirrels eat them.

They are edible for human consumption "as is" although they aren't very flavorful, except the ones growing on the river banks with plenty of sunshine. However, they are delicious when made into jelly which especially early Floridians enjoyed a lot.


1 comment:

Pamela said...

I have several of these bushes growing in my yard. What is interesting, is that my lot, in the whole neighborhood, seems to be the only lot with these beautiful plants growing - everywhere. I'm not sure how they originally got here, they just seemed to appear one day. I dig up the volunteers & transplant them where needed, & discovered they make a wonderful hedge & look great mixed with my little "woodland clump" in the front yard. I've noticed the Mockingbirds love the winter fruit, & bees love the flowers. I prune mine each winter after the fruit is gone, & found the resulting bush is thicker & lusher, & the leaves a bit bigger. A wonderful pant for the landscape, and drought tolerant, I'm surprised I don't see them more often in Florida landscapes. I never realized the fruit is considered edible & makes a good jam, I may need to try that.

Daria's World - blog about people and things that matter the most

Daria's World - blog about people and things that matter the most