Lynda Heavrin is the manager of landscape and horticulture at Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at

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by Lynda Heavrin       #Hot Plants

Purple Pearls™ beautyberry (Callicarpa ‘NCCX1’) is a new hybrid beautyberry that is a cross between Callicarpa dichotoma x kwantungensis.

No plant has given me so much pleasure spring through fall as beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.), with its tiny pink flowers in early summer, the arching branches that protect my pink sweet woodruff through the summer and the glowing purple berries in the fall that persist into early winter. 

The non-native purple beautyberry, (Callicarpa dichotoma) is reported to be very invasive and the birds will not eat the berries. I grow C. dichotoma and have never had a problem with it being invasive. However, I have not seen many birds eating the berries. So if you are interested in feeding the birds, plant the native beautyberry (Callicarpa americana).

Callicarpa americana is hardy to Zone 7, sometimes Zone 6, and the non-native species are hardy to at least Zone 6, sometimes Zone 5, where they may die to the ground but will rebound nicely. Even though the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map has my garden listed as Zone 6, we have still had cold enough winters to consider ourselves in Zone 5; about every other year my purple beautyberry dies to the ground. 

Many beautyberry cultivars are available that produce more berries or more brilliantly colored berries. 

Common Names: American beautyberry, purple beautyberry, Japanese beautyberry

Botanical Names: Callicarpa americana, C. dichotoma, C. japonica 

Cultivars: Many cultivars available 

Hardiness: Zones 5 to 7

Color: Pink to pink-lavender flowers followed by brilliant purple berries. Some species have white fruit. Fall color is a soft yellow.

Type: Shrub

Size: Callicarpa americana can reach to 8 feet tall; C. dichotoma and C. japonica are about 6 feet tall.

Light: Sun to part shade

Soil: Average garden soil; amend heavy clay with compost.

Watering: 1 inch per week upon planting. Once established, requires little additional watering.

Fertilizer: Granular fertilizer at planting in the spring. If planting in the fall, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer.

Uses: Massed in a mixed border, planted with perennials or as a specimen plant

From Indiana Gradening Volume III Issue V. Photo courtesy of proven winners.


Posted: 09/13/13   RSS | Print


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