How to Grow and Care for Beautyberry Shrub

Botanical Name Callicarpa americana
Common Name American beautyberry, beautyberry, French mulberry
Family Verbenaceae
Plant Type Shrub
Mature Size 3-6 ft. tall, 3-6 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Clay, moist
Soil pH Acidic, neutral
Bloom Time Spring, summer
Flower Color Pink, lavender
Hardiness Zones 6-10 (USDA)
Native Areas North America

bayberry shrub
The Spruce / Adrienne Legault
closeup of bayberries
The Spruce / Adrienne Legault
pulled out view of a bayberry shrub
The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

White beautyberries

MASAHIRO NAKANO / amanaimagesRF / Getty Images

beautyberry shrub by a wall

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Beautyberry Care

due to their remarkable berry display, beautyberry shrubs are striking enough to be used individually as specimen plants. You besides can grow several of them as a border. To implant a beautyberry shrub, sink the root ball fair slightly lower than ground level so that it can be covered with dirt. typically, equally long as you live within beautyberry ’ s growing zones, the native territory and conditions will be finely to successfully grow a goodly plant .

sustenance is minimal for this shrub once it ‘s established. plan to water during stretches without rain, and prune ampere needed to maintain the form of the shrub .


Beautyberry shrubs by and large do fine either in full sun or partial derivative shade. They naturally grow on the edges of wooded areas where the amount of sunlight they get can vary. More sunlight will result in higher berry production. however, more sunlight will besides increase the shrub ‘s indigence for urine .


Beautyberry shrubs prefer damp cadaver or crumbly land ( territory with a crumbly texture ) that ‘s rich in organic matter ( ph 5.0 to 7.0 ). This mimics the forest floor where they naturally grow. however, they can tolerate most land types except one that ‘s hard miss in nutrients .

water system

These plants like damp dirty, but they can tolerate slightly dry conditions. approximately 1 edge per week of water is ideal. But if your shrub is in a particularly cheery descry, you ‘ve had hot weather, or you ‘ve had minimal rain, the plant will likely benefit from more water system .

temperature and Humidity

Beautyberry shrubs boom throughout their boldness zones and do n’t have any finical temperature or humidity requirements. A layer of mulch around the base of the shrub can help to keep its roots at a consistent temperature, which will benefit the shrub ‘s overall health .


These shrubs broadly do not need fertilizer unless you have very nutrient-poor dirty. A shovel or two of compost in the spring can benefit beautyberry ‘s emergence. But besides much fertilizer can result in decreased berry production .

Types of Beautyberry

Besides the american beautyberry ( Callicarpa americana ), some early species of beautyberry include :

  • ‘Bodinier’s beautyberry’ (Callicarpa bodinieri): This shrub is native to China and grows to around 10 feet tall by 8 feet wide. Like the American beautyberry, it also produces purple berries. But it is more cold-tolerant than the American version. 
  • ‘Japanese beautyberry’ (Callicarpa japonica): This shrub is native to Japan and reaches around 4-6 feet tall and wide. It produces clusters of bright purple berries. 
  • ‘Chinese beautyberry’ (Callicarpa dichotoma): This shrub is native to China, Japan, and Korea, and it too produces purple fruits. It reaches between 2-4 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide.


Because beautyberry shrubs bloom on new wood, they are broadly pruned as desired for shaping in the late winter before fresh emergence begins. Beautyberry ‘s berries can last throughout the winter months, giving a brilliantly pop of color to your winter garden but you should cut it spinal column in late winter for better berry growth.

At the northerly end of their growing zones, these shrubs are often pruned down to within 1 foot of the ground each year in the winter because the cold can make the old growth unattractive .

Propagating Beautyberry

The beautyberry shrub will reseed itself and you can propagate it by digging out volunteer seedlings that pop up around the plant and replanting them in a modern localization. You besides can propagate the shrub from seeded player although the seeds are boring to germinate and germination is slightly erratic. To increase your chances of germination, startle with a generous come of seeds .

  1. In the fall, gather seeds from very ripe berries. Let them air-dry and store them in a cool, dark place.
  2. In late winter, soak the seeds in cool water for 24 hours to soften the seed coat. Fill 4-inch pots or seedling trays with a mixture of light potting mix. Water it slowly until the soil is evenly moist.
  3. Place about half a dozen seeds in each pot and cover the seeds only lightly with soil.
  4. Place the pots indoors near a bright window. Make sure the soil is constantly moist but not soggy. Germination can take up to three months. Keep the soil moist at all times.
  5. Keep all but the strongest seedling in each pot and cut off the rest with scissors. Don’t pull the extra seedlings out, which can damage the roots of the other seedlings.
  6. Once the root system of the new beautyberry has filled the pot (when roots start to grow out of the drain holes), it is ready to be transplanted outdoors.

How to Grow Beautyberry From Seed

Whether you sow seeds that you collected yourself from your own beautyberry shrub, or you start with buy seeds, the process is the same. Follow the steps for beautyberry propagation above .


  • How long does a beautyberry plant live?

    These plants can survive for several years in the right conditions. They much drop seeds that can stay dormant in the dirt, bursting to life long after the original establish is gone .

  • Can beautyberry grow indoors?

    Beautyberry can be started as a seedling indoors and nurtured to prepare for planting. But since the shrub loves to spread out and needs distance for its wide root arrangement, it is best grown in a garden sic outdoors .

  • What plants are similar to beautyberry?

    Beautyberry is not the lone plant that offers beautiful berries as the centerpiece. Cotoneaster offers bright red berries in twilight and winter. Buckland is an evergreen shrub known for imperial berries. And of course, American Holly is quite celebrated for the graphic berries and uniquely shape leaves .

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