Hardiness: USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F) USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F) USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F) USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F) USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F) USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade
Danger: Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Bloom Color: Pale Pink Violet/Lavender White/Near White Inconspicuous/none
Bloom Time: Mid Spring Late Spring/Early Summer Mid Summer
Other details: This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Soil pH requirements: 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic) 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
Patent Information: Non-patented
Propagation Methods: From semi-hardwood cuttings From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
Seed Collecting: Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
On Jan 29, 2013, RobD_SC from Columbia, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:
Beautyberry is not fussy, requires virtually no care, and will provide shelter, nesting habitat, and important winter food for songbirds. Several years ago, I stumbled onto the idea of transplanting several volunteer seedlings to the beds under our living room windows, and as a result we now enjoy watching mockingbirds, Carolina wrens, and other friends visiting the berry-laden branches just outside our windows throughout fall and winter.
On Aug 11, 2012, stownsend from Mt Pleasant, SC wrote:
I love this plant! We moved to SC from CA and had never seen it before. There was one in the yard when we moved in, living under an oak tree. As it was winter, all I did was trim it back, not having any idea what it was. I still didn't pay any attention to it as summer came. One day I looked out the window and lost my breath. It was ablaze with glorious purple berries! It has been a favorite ever since and I can't get enough of taking pictures of the lovely berries. It was my sister in Georgia who finally told me what it was. Now I am moving to the country where I will have plenty of space for any plants I want. I need to try to get some seeds and grow some plants of my own that I can have there, but I have worked full time all my life - I am not a gardener! Help! I need details on how to do this. Can someone help me?
On May 23, 2012, joegrad from Cottonwood, AL wrote:
THE AMERICAN BEAUTY BERRY IS ABSOLUTELY THE HARDEST PLANT ON MY RANCH TO CONTROL. IT TAKES AWAY FOOD FOR MY CATTLE BY SMOTHERING OUT THE GRASS. WE MOW IT DOWN WITH MOWER WHICH GIVES A FEW WEEKS FOR THE GRASS TO REESTABLISH THEN THE GROWTH OF THE BEAUTY BERRY OVERTAKES THE GRASS. TO THIS DATE I HAVE NOT FOUND A HERBICIDE THAT WILL KILL IT. ALL THAT IS SAID ABOUT THE BEAUTY IS TRUE BUT IT IS NOT A CATTLEMAN'S FRIEND.
On May 25, 2011, mizar5 from Merritt Island, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
Easy to grow, easy to control. Provides food for lots of wildlife and birds. Grows in shade, sun, or any combo thereof. I move volunteers to group these together because they look great planted in masses.
On Nov 21, 2010, Sermoneta from Cuddebackville, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
We're in Western Orange County, NY State. Planted 2 of these a few years ago and forgot about them. Nothing happened for years, then this summer they flowered and now, in November, still have those electric-violet berries on them! My husband wants more of them, and so do I - don't need a lot of care, and the deer (usually) seem to leave them alone. I'm interested to read about propagating them and also wonder how much luck people have had growing them from seed. Does anyone know how vigorously to remove the fleshy coating? I've picked them but I don't want to totally "scarify" them if that will damage them.
On Sep 5, 2010, PammiePi from Green Cove Springs, FL wrote:
Originally I commented on this plant under "Callicarpa rubella", but the plants growing in my yard are actually American Beautyberries. They are natives here in NE Florida, and can be found growing everywhere on my property. The small flowers are attractive to bees and some betterflies, the berries are a natural food source for Mockingbirds & other wild life. They make attractive bushes either singular or grouped together, and one plant can give rise to several "volunteers" which are easy to transplant. They are fairly easily controlled so they don't take over your yard. I love them so much I just dig up the volunteers & transplant them where needed. Mine grow in full sun or shade, they are not picky. They are also drought-tolerant & add interest to the winter landscape with their beautiful fuschia berries. They look incredible when grouped together with my pyracanthas, the brilliant fuschia berries mixing with the red berries of the Firethorn, creating a natural winter "bouquet". I aggressively prune mine in early spring, resulting in tighter, thicker bushes with larger leaves, as compared to the leggier, "weepier" appearance of the unpruned bushes, so I prune where I want thicker, lusher bushes, and don't prune where I want leggier, more graceful looking bushes. A wonderful plant, one of my very favorites.
On Oct 14, 2009, Augustifolia from Frostburg, MD wrote:
I live in the very western part of Maryland, the mountain section with the Alleghenies a constant. The climate can be a challenge for gardening because it ranges from very cold, windy, and snowy, to hot and humid. The wind is always present.
Last year I planted a Callicarpa because of the beautiful berries and its native plant status. Looking at the USADA Plant Profile, it lists Callicarpa as Endangered, Extirpated in the state of Maryland. I also noticed there is no listing for the plant on Dave' Garden. I can't say I've ever been first at anything. Are there other Marylanders growing this plant?
Looking at the comments about the plant surviving under pine trees, it is a given that I will plant more. The berry color is spectacular and everything else is a bonus.
On Oct 12, 2009, canada_eh from Richmond, B.C. Canada wrote:
I am pleased and surprised to see a 6' Beautyberry bush/tree growing in my new backyard. This was planted by the previous owner, who left the identification tag on the base of the tree. After reading all the comments, I thought some people might find it interesting that this plant, a native to the south east is thriving up here in the Pacific North West (aka-wet) coast!
On Oct 1, 2009, suzeqz from Brooksville, FL wrote:
We have beautyberry all over our 10+ acres of pine / live oak forest, and it's wonderful. I appreciate all the "from seed" propagation advice, as we want to grow it as a border along our driveway. It seems to grow fullest near the road, where it gets the most sun, but it's prolific deep in the woods as well as close to the house on the edge of the woods, and the deer love it! We recently attended a wild edibles presentation at a local county park, and beautyberry jam was on the menu. I can't think of any other plant I'd rather have running roughshod around our place. It's welcome here!
I can't count the number of American Beautyberry "bushes" we have on our eight acres here in south Mississippi. I rate the bush "positive" because it's useful to wildlife, it's beautiful, AND it's not what I thought it was - Poison Sumac or some other dangerous plant.
Much of our place is overgrown (for a shield from the road and for wildlife habitat), and the Beautyberry grows wild amongst amongst all the other wild brush and briers, and grows well, it seems. Of course, we have few heavily shaded areas, so most of the place gets lots of sun.
Aromatic and attractive shrub. Seemingly fairly easy to transplant from wild. Can grow in shade or sun, moist or dry conditions. Have seen specimens in Bell Co. growing in holes in limestone rock in full sun- obviously very tough and drought tolerant.
Purple berries are eaten by birds, and plant is an excellent xeriscape consideration.
On Nov 12, 2008, Stephivicious from Altamonte Springs, FL wrote:
I have to laugh at people in Florida who give this plant a negative rating, then use "native" & "invasive" in the same sentence while talking about it.
A plant can not be invasive in its native territory.
I love this plant, its Berry's make a great jam & are delicious in pancakes. I found just 1 on my property, so I harvested the berries dried them & grew more plants from seed. I now have a hedge row of beautyberry bushes & I love it.
To keep it from getting to legging pinch off the tops of the taller stems.
I have found that the berries and the leaves, when crushed in your hands, you can rub it on yourself as a fairly good mosquito deterent!! It dates back at least some 200 years as a mosquito repellent and branches of the plant were once used by farmers to keep mosquitoes and horse flies off the horse and cattle. Since moving to East Texas from Houston in June, this was one of the first plants I discovered on the property with it's pretty pastel pink blooms. It seems like "just one day" the blooms turned into striking purple/magenta berries. I have recently made a jelly from the berries of one of the plants that tastes pretty good. Next year I think I'll try American Beautyberry wine-well I hope to since it will be an experiment because I have never made wine before!! Unless of course I discover that the birds or other wildlife want them; as of this date they have not been interested.
On May 18, 2008, grow4me2 from Liberty Hill, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
Zone 8 near Austin, TX: Not only do my resident wild birds eat these berries in winter (some years more so than others) but a small thicket of these shrubs is the perfect gathering place for them when they seek shelter. The leaves are soft enough to be gentle to birds on the move but large enough to provide excellent cover. Summer residents and Fall migrating warblers, vireos, tanagers, grosbeaks and buntings use ours for shelter every year and they sometimes pop out to show themselves at the end of branches to pose for pictures near the berries. Plant these near a water feature and you will have a dependable spot to view rare birds that are passing through your property. The berries are supposed to be good for creating fabric dye.
On Apr 27, 2008, roserairie from Chicago, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:
I purchased this shrub three years ago thru the mail. It was a stick when I planted it and growth was very slow. It didn't seem very attractive to me and I was wondering what had prompted me to purchase this plant. Last spring I moved it to a sunnier location and it produced the purple berries for the first time. I was working in the garden and noticed the birds flocking around this shrub and wondered what was up. When I took a closer look, I noticed the purple berries. I had almost tossed this plant. Very happy I didn't because watching the birds flock around this shrub was worth the wait. I was a little worried about it surviving our winter but it's flourishing.
On Apr 5, 2008, rachelgardener from Asheville, NC wrote:
Here's an odd one for you all.
In October of 2006, I cut some sprigs of beautyberry (Callicarpa) (with the beautiful berries, of course!) and inserted them into a little bottle with a tight neck, and put in water.
I noticed around Feb. of 2007 that one of the beautyberry sprigs had sprouted leaves....without putting out root, mind you!
Isn't that odd?? I thought maybe it was a fluke, or some kind of bionic plant, or something!
I couldn't think of another plant where I'd seen leaf come out before root.
So I tried it again this season. October 2007, I again cut twigs of beautyberry and again put the twigs into a narrow-necked bottle with water at the base. The same thing happened!!
I forgot to mention that last spring, I decided to really root that sprig, and now the sprig is a rather large bush! I guess I'll do the same this year (anyone want one of these plants? They have those gorgeous lavender/purple berries in the fall.)
I'd like to hear your thoughts about this, and whether anyone knows of other plants that put up leaf before roots when they're put as twigs into water.
On Dec 31, 2007, gooley from Hawthorne, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:
This grows where it pleases on my land. It survives being mowed to the ground, often. It's attractive and tough, and the purple of the berries is stunning and seems uncapturable on film (maybe one could Photoshop a digital image to capture the true color). People sell some non-native species as ornamentals: why bother? This one is pretty impressive. I haven't tried eating the berries. I wonder whether careful selection and breeding could improve size, flavor, and yield. I can see how it could become weedy, but compared with some of the weeds I have here it's a wimp.
On Oct 5, 2006, GSkinner from Lucedale, MS (Zone 8b) wrote:
If you live in my zone I would say stay away from this plant. It is a horrible weed here at my house. I have one that has taken over an 8 foot azalea. Once they get established they are really hard to kill. They also freely send seedlings all over the property. This is a very hard weed to control.
The internet provides differing opinions as to whether beautyberries are edible or not, and some people say that they taste bad. I've tried them and thought they were good. They are sweet and some have a mild spicey flavor. They are not juicy like a blackberry and have a pulp that reminds me of a soft, mealy apple. I don't believe that they are poisonous because they didn't seem to have any negative effect on me for having eaten them. They grow wild and plentifully here in Tampa and produce a huge number of berries. I think that they are pretty. I'll harvest a bunch this fall and try to make some beautyberry wine.
On Apr 29, 2006, crowellli from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:
I had this growing in a full sun flower bed, surrounded by periwinkles and it made a beautiful carefree color bed. By the end of April the beautyberry was about 4 feet tall and already had a load of berries and was still producing blooms. We had a good rain during the night and I found all the stalks on the plant had broken about 1 foot or so above ground. The main stem of the plant was about 1 inch diameter and semi woody, but I'm assuming the weight of the leaves and berries were too heavy for it to support once they were rained on. I'll try again by putting it in a more protected area.
The photographer of the plant said this about it, "American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is a good nectar and pollen plant. The fruits are not terribly popular with birds, but are occassionally eaten by mockingbirds".
On Sep 25, 2004, susied from Norwalk, CT (Zone 5b) wrote:
I have grown this species now in Pennsylvania and New England (Zone 5) and it performs beautifully. It needs a bit of extra mulch in the winter but will go over fine. It is absolutely lovely when the leaves come off and the berries are hanging on by themselves. It is an old fashioned or heirloom variety and I highly recommend it.
On Sep 18, 2004, redpondranch from Seguin, TX wrote:
We bought 15 acres in the Capote Sandhills south of Seguin, Texas. It is heavily forested with sandy loam soil, and is LOADED with beautyberries!! I was delighted this summer to find a white-berried one close to the house, but my heart still belongs to the more populous magenta-berried variety. They seem to grow readily in anything from part sun to full shade, and I'm told they can be propagated by either seeds or cuttings, but that I will have more success getting other white-berried shrubs with cuttings rather than seeds. I haven't ever cut one back, but will try it in late fall and see what happens.
On Jul 8, 2004, gaweedwoman from Moreland, GA wrote:
I am a new admirer of the American Beautyberry and so far I haven't found the place that it seems to thrive. I live in west central Ga, where we are famous for red clay. With our wet spring, my shrub has begun to drop it leaves as though it is dying. I removed it from the ground and put it back into the pot til I could determine the problem. I'm hoping that it will recover and I can relocate it later this year so I can begin to enjoy this beautiful plant. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.
Although I never tried growing them, as a canoe tour guide throughout the state of Florida I see them in a variety of habitats everywhere I paddle. In my experience the best tasting ones are on plants growing on or near a riverbank that provides more sun than shade with a lot of leaf litter over the soil their growing in. They're shorter but bushier and produce more berries. Since I only remove 10 to 20% of the berries on any plant I'm leaving plenty for wildlife and the plant's reproduction, thereby creating as little human impact as possible and still enjoy a breakfast of Beautyberry pancakes.
On Oct 23, 2003, jcschatte from Magnolia, TX wrote:
This plant grows native and flourishes on my heavily wooded property in Magnolia (near Houston), Texas. In searching the Web to try and find out what it was, I found this site, and I am so glad!
I have one plant in a shaded, secluded area that is around 8 feet tall, and many other smaller plants, most of them under Oak trees. The beautiful purple berries are adding much-needed color to the landscape. Most of the plants didn't bloom well this year, and right now the leaves are yellowing and dying off, but I plan to prune as the colder temps arrive and hope to have fuller plants next year.
On Sep 30, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:
Beautyberry is one of the plants I have grown over the years that always gets favorable attention. I am creating a new garden now, but the 3 gal potted beautyberry I planted here in early spring is doing fantastic and is over 3' tall with a large crop of berries. These shrubs are quite tolerant of drought once established, but they are much happier in moist woodland dappled shade and sun. Mine gets morning sun and afternoon shade next to a young cypress tree, and it is very well foliaged. In fact, I need to rescue some daylilies from its shade!
On Sep 3, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I just planted one about two months ago. It had flowers on it when I got it but now just the berries. It has not grown any but it doesn't seem to be bothered by any insects either. I am hoping that it can survive our winters. Of course in Texas you never know what kind of winters we will get mild or severe.
On Sep 2, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:
I live on six acres in an oak hammock in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, and beauty berry is growing everywhere on my property. It is native, and in the shade of my oak trees grows quite lanky, up to about six feet tall. Where it gets more sun, in some cleared areas, it's more attractive, and gets quite bushy, with the branches arching over. It is a quick grower and spreader, but is so attractive that I don't really mind. I prefer it to poison oak and Virginia creeper as a native plant to have everywhere. I'm constantly finding baby plants by the larger plants, but don't know yet if they are suckers or come from fallen seed.
In midsummer the small, shortlived, pale pink flowers are quite attractive, and the later purple berry clusters are outstanding--their color is quite intense. I've read that it can be severely pruned almost to the ground in late winter to encourage heavy flowers and fruiting later in the year. The plant is deciduous, and not very attractive in the winter--just a lot of bare brown branches sticking up out of the ground, so in the garden I would put it someplace where this won't seem out of place or unattractive, such as in a "naturalistic" part of the garden.
It grows naturally on the forest floor, so I would think that if you try to replicate those conditions of filtered sun, a rich, organic soil and lots of water--we average 60 inches or so of rain, but will probably get over 90 inches this year--you can grow this very attractive native plant in a garden.
On Dec 11, 2002, ButterflyGardnr from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
This is one of my favorite shrubs. It provides interest from spring through fall; first in the spring and summer with the flowers and the pollinators it attracts, then following with beautiful clusters of purple or white berries. The white-berried plants are albino (var. alba) and are also native.
Mockingbirds will sit on the plant and eat the berries one at a time. I have also seen squirrels eat the berries. They are edible for human consumption "as is" though they don't have much flavor to them. They are delicious when made into jelly. I have had only a few volunteer plants and have not noticed them to be susceptible to any plant pests.
This shrub should be planted in amongst other plants/greenery to hide it when it it goes dormant in the winter. It can be pruned in late winter to about 6" just before the leaves start to flush out. This will make it much fuller and reduce the shrub height. They can get tall and a little leggy if left unpruned. I recommend pruning if it will be in a more formal landscape situation. Pruning will increase the flowering and fruiting as flowers occur only on the new growth.
On Sep 21, 2002, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:
Early Floridians, and possibly latter day ones also, made jelly from the berries. I have not done so, but have a recipe that i expect to try one of these years. But note, mockingbirds love these berries and will sow them everywhere.
On Aug 29, 2002, FL_Gator from Dunnellon, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:
American Beautyberry has done extremely well for me on a dry hill in Zone 8b Florida. It is native here, and can become a quite large shrub. The purple berries in late summer and fall are spectacular. It can self seed some.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
, (4 reports) Athens, Alabama Clayhatchee, Alabama Colony, Alabama Cullman, Alabama Jones, Alabama Lake Purdy, Alabama Midland City, Alabama Mobile, Alabama Pine Level, Alabama Tuskegee, Alabama Vincent, Alabama Bigelow, Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas Heber Springs, Arkansas Morrilton, Arkansas North Little Rock, Arkansas El Sobrante, California Norwalk, Connecticut Old Lyme, Connecticut Altamonte Springs, Florida Apopka, Florida (2 reports) Asbury Lake, Florida Bartow, Florida Bayonet Point, Florida Big Pine Key, Florida Black Diamond, Florida Boca Raton, Florida Buckhead Ridge, Florida Campbell, Florida Clearwater, Florida Coral Springs, Florida Dade City, Florida De Land, Florida Deltona, Florida Dunnellon, Florida Fort White, Florida Fountain, Florida Fruitville, Florida Golden Lakes, Florida Hawthorne, Florida Homestead, Florida Homosassa, Florida Jacksonville, Florida Kendall, Florida Keystone Heights, Florida Lake City, Florida Live Oak, Florida Lutz, Florida Macgregor, Florida Madison, Florida Margate, Florida Melrose Park, Florida Merritt Island, Florida Middleburg, Florida Naples, Florida Navarre, Florida Neptune Beach, Florida New Port Richey East, Florida Ocala, Florida Old Town, Florida Oldsmar, Florida (2 reports) Palm Shores, Florida Pembroke Pines, Florida Placida, Florida Plant City, Florida Sanford, Florida Sarasota, Florida Sebring, Florida (2 reports) Shady Hills, Florida South Daytona, Florida Spring Hill, Florida (2 reports) Sunset, Florida Tampa, Florida (3 reports) Umatilla, Florida University Park, Florida Webster, Florida Yulee, Florida Aldora, Georgia Athens, Georgia Atlanta, Georgia Clarkesville, Georgia Cochran, Georgia Cordele, Georgia Covington, Georgia Dock Junction, Georgia Evans, Georgia Kingsland, Georgia Mcdonough, Georgia Midway-hardwick, Georgia Phillipsburg, Georgia Saint Simons, Georgia Toccoa, Georgia Tunnel Hill, Georgia Valdosta, Georgia Villa Rica, Georgia Winterville, Georgia Chicago, Illinois Hammond, Illinois Oak Park, Indiana Bloomfield, Iowa Des Moines, Iowa Barbourville, Kentucky Clermont, Kentucky Georgetown, Kentucky Louisville, Kentucky Taylorsville, Kentucky Baton Rouge, Louisiana Coushatta, Louisiana Gonzales, Louisiana Houma, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana New Orleans, Louisiana Pineville, Louisiana Pollock, Louisiana Shreveport, Louisiana Zachary, Louisiana Dracut, Massachusetts Newton Center, Massachusetts Florence, Mississippi Golden, Mississippi Marietta, Mississippi Mathiston, Mississippi Perkinston, Mississippi Saint Martin, Mississippi Saucier, Mississippi Waynesboro, Mississippi Clayton, Missouri Elsberry, Missouri Auburn, New Hampshire Bridgeton, New Jersey Frenchtown, New Jersey Jersey City, New Jersey Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey Princeton Junction, New Jersey Centre Island, New York Cuddebackville, New York Southold, New York Asheville, North Carolina Belville, North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina Clayton, North Carolina Elizabeth City, North Carolina Emerald Isle, North Carolina Greenville, North Carolina Kinston, North Carolina Kure Beach, North Carolina Newton, North Carolina Polkton, North Carolina Seven Lakes, North Carolina Star, North Carolina Winston-salem, North Carolina (2 reports) Akron, Ohio Glouster, Ohio Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Hulbert, Oklahoma Sawyer, Oklahoma Springfield, Oregon Laflin, Pennsylvania Mount Joy, Pennsylvania Port Matilda, Pennsylvania West Chester, Pennsylvania Centerville, South Carolina Columbia, South Carolina Conway, South Carolina Darlington, South Carolina Florence, South Carolina Mt Pleasant, South Carolina Okatie, South Carolina Simpsonville, South Carolina Summerville, South Carolina Summit, South Carolina Clarksville, Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee (2 reports) Alvin, Texas Belton, Texas (2 reports) Briarcliff, Texas (2 reports) Bryan, Texas Bulverde, Texas College Station, Texas Colmesneil, Texas Conroe, Texas Copperas Cove, Texas Crawford, Texas Dallas, Texas Dalworthington Gardens, Texas Dike, Texas Everman, Texas Fort Worth, Texas Hickory Creek, Texas Houston, Texas (3 reports) Hudson Bend, Texas Humble, Texas Iredell, Texas Liberty Hill, Texas (2 reports) Magnolia, Texas Missouri City, Texas Mount Vernon, Texas New Berlin, Texas (2 reports) Paige, Texas Pasadena, Texas Roman Forest, Texas Round Rock, Texas San Antonio, Texas (5 reports) Santa Fe, Texas Scenic Oaks, Texas Spring, Texas Tomball, Texas Waxahachie, Texas Wixon Valley, Texas Arlington, Virginia Fort Valley, Virginia Keller, Virginia Lexington, Virginia Newport News, Virginia Portsmouth, Virginia Virginia Beach, Virginia Warrenton, Virginia Bellevue, Washington Bellingham, Washington Falling Waters, West Virginia